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More CO2 = Greener Earth

One of the most important part of our environment is plant life producing oxygen from the C02 in the atmosphere. So, I came across a Newsbusters blog entry by Noel Sheppard on Could Global Warming Obsessed Media Ever Consider CO2’s Benefits? Check out his post.

In the post, Mr Sheepard references an article entitled “In Praise of CO2” by Lawrence Solomon. It was posted at Canada’s Financial Post on Saturday. There were some interesting facts in the study about CO2 in this article:

The results surprised Steven Running of the University of Montana and Ramakrishna Nemani of NASA, scientists involved in analyzing the NASA data. They found that over a period of almost two decades, the Earth as a whole became more bountiful by a whopping 6.2%. About 25% of the Earth’s vegetated landmass — almost 110 million square kilometres — enjoyed significant increases and only 7% showed significant declines. When the satellite data zooms in, it finds that each square metre of land, on average, now produces almost 500 grams of greenery per year.

Why the increase? Their 2004 study, and other more recent ones, point to the warming of the planet and the presence of CO2, a gas indispensable to plant life. CO2 is nature’s fertilizer, bathing the biota with its life-giving nutrients. Plants take the carbon from CO2 to bulk themselves up — carbon is the building block of life — and release the oxygen, which along with the plants, then sustain animal life. As summarized in a report last month, released along with a petition signed by 32,000 U. S. scientists who vouched for the benefits of CO2: “Higher CO2 enables plants to grow faster and larger and to live in drier climates. Plants provide food for animals, which are thereby also enhanced. The extent and diversity of plant and animal life have both increased substantially during the past half-century.”

So more CO2 lead to a greener earth. The article mentions that earth has not been so lush since the age of the dinosaur. How very nice, right? Well, hold on, there are two things to note:

This blossoming Earth could now be in jeopardy, for reasons both natural and man-made. According to a growing number of scientists, the period of global warming that we have experienced over the past few centuries as Earth climbed out of the Little Ice Age is about to end. The oceans, which have been releasing their vast store of carbon dioxide as the planet has warmed — CO2 is released from oceans as they warm and dissolves in them when they cool — will start to take the carbon dioxide back. With less heat and less carbon dioxide, the planet could become less hospitable and less green, especially in areas such as Canada’s Boreal forests, which have been major beneficiaries of the increase in GPP and NPP.

Doubling the jeopardy for Earth is man. Unlike the many scientists who welcome CO2 for its benefits, many other scientists and most governments believe carbon dioxide to be a dangerous pollutant that must be removed from the atmosphere at all costs. Governments around the world are now enacting massive programs in an effort to remove as much as 80% of the carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere.

It is too bad that our politicians and media do not want to pay any attention to these benefits nor the fact that as humans we exhale C02.  The fact their actions should concern everyone. The governments of the world do what they promise, they could actually lead us to a worse environment than what they claim we have today. We might pay a heavy price if they succeed.  We’ll see.

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