Last Friday was Earth Day. Environmentalists have been telling us — for over 25 Earth Days — that carbon dioxide (CO2) is bad for the environment and that pollution from burning fossil fuels will destroy the planet and kill us all.
Well, it turns out they may be wrong. Carbon dioxide is a natural chemical compound that is good for mother earth. The increase in CO2 gas in the atmosphere is making the world greener.
It all makes sense. Think back to when you were in middle school. Do you remember what you learned in science class about the environment?
Your teacher would have taught you that plants take in CO2 and produce oxygen. On the opposite end, animals use the oxygen we breathe in. We exhale CO2.
According to a study done by an international team of 32 scientists from 24 institutions in eight countries, the earth is greening. This is primarily due to an increase in carbon dioxide. Published in the journal Nature Climate Change on April 25, 2016, the report says, “from a quarter to half of Earth’s vegetated lands has shown significant greening over the last 35 years largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.”
The researchers used satellite data from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer instruments to help determine the leaf area index, or amount of leaf cover, over the planet’s vegetated regions. The greening represents an increase in leaves on plants and trees equivalent to an area two times the continental United States.
This increase in plant growth is more pronounced in dry climates worldwide. The reason is that when plants have more CO2, they do not need as much water to survive and grow.
Results show that carbon dioxide fertilization explains 70 percent of the greening effect, said co-author Ranga Myneni, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University. “The second most important driver is nitrogen, at 9 percent. So we see what an outsized role CO2 plays in this process.”
Owners of greenhouses that grow plants are aware of this. That is why commercial growers worldwide buy CO2 and pump it into their greenhouses at 800 to 1500 ppm (parts per million) — two to four times higher than what’s in the atmosphere today. This gives their plants a 20 to 60 percent increase in growth.
According to Dr. Patrick Moore — co-founder of Greenpeace — the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has been declining for millions of years to the point that plants have been starving. The death of plants — and consequently the planet — is 150 ppm. CO2 was at 2500 ppm 150 million years ago.
At one point, CO2 levels were as low as 280 ppm, very close to the death of plants. Today we stand near 420 ppm because we burn fossil fuels.
Our CO2 emissions reversed this decline that may have saved — not doomed — life on earth.
Moore says, “we are not the destroyer of life; we are its salvation.”
Moore is not the only one preaching this good news. Professor William Happer, a renowned physicist at Princeton University, has also pointed out the benefits of increasing CO2. It’s essential plant food. If you measure CO2 in a cornfield during the summer, it’s close to half during the day as opposed to nighttime. So with more CO2 the corn can grow faster.
Happer reports that “we’re in a CO2 famine. If you look at the geological history of the world…CO2 levels have averaged thousands of parts per million, not a few hundred. Plants evolved when there was enough CO2 to eat; now they don’t have enough.”
According to Happer, the increase in CO2 is worth billions of dollars in increased productivity for the agriculture industry. He sees no downsides to the rise in CO2.
I have to disagree. I see a downside. Maybe you have noticed this too. The weeds in my yard and driveway are growing like crazy. It must be the higher level of CO2.
Who knew that carbon dioxide was good for the environment? It turns out we all knew this since middle school science — environmentalists have just scared us into forgetting it.
For more, see Moore’s speech on CO2 at www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgTdljY7p90
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