Claim: As CO2 levels rise, some crop nutrients will fall

From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Free Air Concentration Enrichment (FACE) systems, like this one at the University of Illinois, allow researchers to simulate future atmospheric conditions to determine their effects on plants.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Researchers have some bad news for future farmers and eaters: As carbon dioxide levels rise this century, some grains and legumes will become significantly less nutritious than they are today.

The new findings are reported in the journal Nature. Eight institutions, from Australia, Israel, Japan and the United States, contributed to the analysis.

The researchers looked at multiple varieties of wheat, rice, field peas, soybeans, maize and sorghum grown in fields with atmospheric carbon dioxide levels like those expected in the middle of this century. (Atmospheric CO2 concentrations are currently approaching 400 parts per million, and are expected to rise to 550 ppm by 2050.)

The teams simulated high CO2 levels in open-air fields using a system called Free Air Concentration Enrichment (FACE), which pumps out, monitors and adjusts ground-level atmospheric CO2 to simulate future conditions. In this study, all other growing conditions (sunlight, soil, water, temperature) were the same for plants grown at high-CO2 and those used as controls.

The experiments revealed that the nutritional quality of a number of the world’s most important crop plants dropped in response to elevated CO2.

The study contributed “more than tenfold more data regarding both the zinc and iron content of the edible portions of crops grown under FACE conditions” than available from previous studies, the team wrote.

“When we take all of the FACE experiments we’ve got around the world, we see that an awful lot of our key crops have lower concentrations of zinc and iron in them (at high CO2),” said University of Illinois plant biology and Institute for Genomic Biology professor Andrew Leakey, an author on the study. “And zinc and iron deficiency is a big global health problem already for at least 2 billion people.”

Zinc and iron went down significantly in wheat, rice, field peas and soybeans. Wheat and rice also saw notable declines in protein content at higher CO2.

“Across a diverse set of environments in a number of countries, we see this decrease in quality,” Leakey said.

Nutrients in sorghum and maize remained relatively stable at higher CO2 levels because these crops use a type of photosynthesis, called C4, which already concentrates carbon dioxide in their leaves, Leakey said.

“C4 is sort of a fuel-injected photosynthesis that maize and sorghum and millet have,” he said. “Our previous work here at Illinois has shown that their photosynthesis rates are not stimulated by being at elevated CO2. They already have high CO2 inside their leaves.”

More research is needed to determine how crops grown in developing regions of the world will respond to higher atmospheric CO2, Leakey said.

“It’s important that we start to do these experiments in tropical climates with tropical soils, because that’s just a terrible gap in our knowledge, given that that’s where food security is already the biggest issue,” he said.

###

 

The collaboration included researchers from Harvard University (which led the effort); Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in Beer Sheva, Israel; the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; the University of California, Davis; the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service; the National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences in Ibaraki, Japan; the University of Melbourne, Australia; the University of Arizona; the University of Pennsylvania; and The Nature Conservancy, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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174 Responses to Claim: As CO2 levels rise, some crop nutrients will fall

  1. Robin says:

    Just for fun here is the membership of the Board of Directors of the Nature Conservancy http://www.nature.org/about-us/governance/board-of-directors/index.htm

    Many people who stand to benefit from a dirigiste/Low Carbon/public sector centric needs economy created in the name of managing and mitigating the effects of CAGW. Higher ed’s conflicts are already well known.

  2. Lou says:

    Hmm… It’s not like wheat is good for you anyway (See Heart Scan Blog or Wheat Belly Diet by Dr Mike Davis) for more information. Some are quite susceptible to wheat based food (diabetes and heart disease).

    Anyway, I’ll have to see more studies to make sure that study holds up or not because as everybody already knows, leftists are desperate to label CO2 as dangerous so they’re looking for ways to demonize it.

  3. schitzree says:

    So I guess we need to tell commercial greenhouse owners that they’ve been wrong all this time? I’m sure they will be happy to hear they won’t have to buy all that extra CO2 anymore.

  4. Walter Sobchak says:

    Back in grade school we took a bar magnet to a box of oatmeal. The magnet pulled out the iron filings they use enrich the cereal.

    Cereals have never been a major source od dietary iron. That’s why you’re supposed to eat your spinach.

  5. tteclod says:

    Also, he seems to differentiate between photosynthesis mechanisms. This looks like a study for a plant biologist and ag engineer to critique.

    Also, what carbon-dioxide concentration did he achieve? How was the concentration measured? How was the CO2 introduced? Was the elevated CO2 level maintained throughout the daily photosynthesis cycle, or did it change according to time of day? How did they handle weather and winds in an open field. Did they measure the natural CO2 level in the region before, during, and after the experiment and compare to controls? What species of crops did they use? Did they make any comparison of nutritional values to nearby crops harvested by others?

  6. Rubisco is the name of the main plant protein that turns CO2 + H2O into sugar and oxygen. With higher CO2, the plant will need less of this protein and minerals associated with it. That will give the plant freedom to produce other nutrients in increased concentration and variety. Logically, this should mean a much more health-promoting food, but it would take sophisticated research for find out for sure or to quantify it. That pretty much cannot be done in a highly biased atmosphere. And good luck finding anything else.

  7. Matt Maschinot says:

    I’m curious as to what the growth efficiency was, for those plants that lost nutritional value. Is it possible that the additional CO2 increased the efficiency of the growth of the plant, and that by growing quicker, the plants did not accumulate the same level of nutrients?

    If that’s the case, wouldn’t higher crop yields, result in lower cost, and higher consumption? And wouldn’t that offset the lower nutritional value of the individual plant?

  8. Latitude says:

    I wouldn’t call a 5% reduction in zinc/iron/protein “significant”……unless I had some agenda

    ..and it wasn’t across the board

    Some varieties showed no reduction at all…
    …so, change the variety you’re growing

  9. Mike Maguire says:

    In Aesops Fable “The boy who cried wolf” how many different times did the village people get fooled?
    In the IPCC Fable, “The planet that was being destroyed by CO2″ we have been subjected to hundreds(make that many thousands) of CO2 wolf stories but the CO2 wolf still has not come after 20 years.

    At this point, even if this study was valid, it is almost impossible for me to believe that finally after screaming wolf for 20 years, a real wolf(and this one, not necessarily a big bad wolf) could actually be there.

  10. RalphB says:

    Okay, lets say this is true and CO2 concentrations continue to rise. We have plenty of time to make the genetic modifications that will give us grains that can utilize the benefits of the additional CO2 and raise the levels of iron, zinc and protein. Yum, carbon dioxide — we’ll eat it.

    Get ready for a redoubled attack on genetically modified crops from all the usual suspects. Adaptation to higher CO2 levels must never be permitted, lest industrial civilization survive and all their efforts to shut it down count for naught.

  11. tteclod says:

    Walter Sobchak notes: “Cereals have never been a major source of dietary iron. That’s why you’re supposed to eat your spinach.”

    Best bet is oysters. Next best bet is a good mix of beans. Such address both iron and zinc.
    http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/
    http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/

    Spinach consumption can lead to anemia due to the oxalates that bind the iron. Like all things, variation in the diet is the best bet.

  12. Les Johnson says:

    I see some control issues here. Protein in wheat is determined by how much rain and sun, and when during the wheat development, the rain and sun are applied. How long was the study? If only a few years, or god forbid one year, then the results would be weather more than CO2.

    Anyone find the paper? I would like to read about the methods.

  13. cynical_scientist says:

    In a high $CO_2$ environment the productivity of these crops is much higher, and the seeds are fat and full of sugars and carbs (the raison d’etre of these crops). In a desperate attempt to find something not to like in this situation the researchers seize on the fact that this means a slightly lower concentration of other constituents by dilution. It is like winning the lottery and complaining about the terrible burden of having to drive to the bank to deposit the cheque.

    If you are worried about your beans not having enough protein let them germinate and spend a few days turning that sugar into protein, and eat bean sprouts. Alternatively plant a variety with a higher protein content. Some of the people who complain about low vitamin and mineral content in cereal crops are the same people who blocked the use of golden rice.

  14. Here is Craig Idso’s summary of the literature regarding CO2 and the nutrient content of crops:

    http://www.co2science.org/subject/n/nutrition.php

    -Chip

  15. R2D2 says:

    Or take some multi vitamin

  16. DirkH says:

    Latitude says:
    May 7, 2014 at 2:25 pm
    “I wouldn’t call a 5% reduction in zinc/iron/protein “significant”……unless I had some agenda”

    Probably 20% yield increase, 5% per weight zinc decrease… just guessing. Meaning total increase of 15%. Science is all about making things sound bad. Science is the new press, now that the press has lost all reputation.

  17. elmer says:

    Did the study mention the increased growth of the plants?

    I can see that the chemical makeup of a CO2 enriched plant could be different. A plant twice as big as the control plant might have the same amount of minerals as the control plant, therefore it’s nutrition would be different. You’d have to eat twice as much to get the same amount of these minerals.

    My guess this study only focused on the the minerals that were negative, it would be interesting to see what other nutrients were not impacted or even moved in a positive direction.

    Also it would be interesting to see what the ratios were, let’s say the CO2 enriched plants were 200% bigger then the control plants but the Zinc and Iron were at 90%. That’s still an overall increase in nutrients by volume even though the makeup is lightly different.

  18. kalsel3294 says:

    THE FACE studies conducted at Horsham, Victoria Australia a few years ago found enriched CO2 increased wheat yields in terms of kg per hectare, but with reduced protein levels in terms of protein per kg.
    What the anti CO2 mob couldn’t or wouldn’t accept was that this is entirely consistent with what happens now. In years of high yields protein levels tend to fall whilst in years of low yields protein levels tend to rise.
    What they also would not recognise is that due to the increased yield due to CO2 enrichment, even with the reduced protein level, the end result was that in terms of yield per hectare, the protein per hectare actually increased.
    As every farmer knows, and should be self evident to everyone, if a crop increases in yield it’s uptake of nutrients from the soil must have also increased. I suspect that given zinc and iron are not normally part of the most common fertilisers applied to crops, that if more of each was applied in a form that made them available to the growing plants then we might see a different result, unless of course the plants themselves limit the uptake.
    More work is needed, but even if it is the plants, with genetic engineering it would be only a matter of time before new varieties are developed to overcome this.

  19. Kon Dealer says:

    I guess these “scientists” have never heard of the word “fertliser”?

  20. Data Soong says:

    Here is a link to the article itself, where you can read about the slight decreases in a small handful of nutrients in these experiments.
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature13179.html
    Even if true, genetic engineering of crops will surely be capable of offsetting any slight nutrient decreases induced by higher atmospheric CO2. And, I would have to think that some other nutrient levels increased; maybe these nutrient level increases didn’t fit their agenda, and so were left out of the article? Just asking …

  21. PeteJ says:

    “In this study, all other growing conditions (sunlight, soil, water, temperature) were the same for plants grown at high-CO2 and those used as controls.”

    What about fertilizer or pesticide use?

  22. Even under the best conditions, you would have to eat 7 cups of brown rice per day to meet the daily requirement of zinc, or 20 cups of white rice. Wheat is similarly low in zinc. Grains are a very minor source of dietary zinc. To complain that rising carbon dioxide robs these grains of some of their zinc is like complaining that it robs tomatoes of their protein. Nobody relies on tomatoes for protein. Over 80% of our zinc comes from non-grain sources. The story for iron is similar, which is why many grain products are fortified with zinc and iron. Reference: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/5560.html

  23. Les Johnson says:

    latitude: Thanks. Yes, not much reductions.

    What is not stated though, is what was the yield change. I am going to assume it was positive. If so, then the slight reductions are due to dilution. If the increase in yield is higher than the reduction in nutrients it,s a wash, in terms of nutrients. In terms if calories, its a positive.

  24. Cam_S says:

    I’m thinking the future mission to Mars is doomed to fail. Because the future Martians won’t be able to grow healthy fruits and veggies, in the CO2 rich atmosphere.

    Turning the red planet GREEN: NASA plans to create a greenhouse garden on Mars by 2021
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2622272/Turning-red-planet-GREEN-Nasa-plans-create-greenhouse-garden-Mars-2021.html

  25. PeteJ says:

    Here’s what they say about growing conditions:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/fig_tab/nature13179_T1.html

    Maybe it also depends on what country the plants are grown in.

  26. tegirinenashi says:

    I think there is a way to combat this endless flow of superficial half-baked “research”. Conservative think tank institutions can establish annual “Bad Science” award with nominal prizes. I don’t think researchers would think twice before publishing anything that may be caught by negative publicity of getting BS award.

  27. Charles Nelson says:

    Pure garbage.
    Are they claiming that tomatoes grown in greenhouses with elevated CO2 are less ‘nutritious’?
    I’ll bet they can afford ‘organic’ fruit and veg.

  28. fretslider says:

    Curtains for cornflakes?

    I don’t think so

  29. Jungle says:

    Even if this was the case. Plant breeders should be able to adapt to that scenario. Another meaningless study.

  30. richard says:

    Les Johnson says:
    May 7, 2014 at 3:05 pm
    ————-

    I would say spot on.
    Funny how they miss the yield bit out and also is the plant more resilient to whatever nature throws – an extra bonus.

    Looking at Greenhouses it seems the sweet spot is around 1200ppm and after that no big difference is seen, or maybe bang for buck it’s not worth going above this.

  31. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    For iron supplementation, use cast iron cookware. And given how fast an old can will rust away outdoors, you could bury a few empties in your garden.

    For zinc, have galvanized steel plumbing. At worst that’ll release zinc and iron, instead of plastic plumbing which will release the next chemicals found to be carcinogenic by the People’s Republic of Kalifornia.

    Our ancient ancestors also used much galvanized cookware and equipment, as shown in historical documentaries like The Waltons, as with milk cans, pails, etc. This is acceptable with foods without high acidity which could dissolve the zinc and lead to metal poisoning.

    Iron and zinc deficiencies sounds like another self-created problem of our modern scrubbed sterile stainless and plastic environments, when we were clearly designed by God and evolution for outdoor living and absorbing nutrients from the dirt on our food. We are such intelligent glorious fools!

  32. Jimbo says:

    The researchers looked at multiple varieties of wheat, rice, field peas, soybeans, maize and sorghum grown in fields with atmospheric carbon dioxide levels like those expected in the middle of this century. (Atmospheric CO2 concentrations are currently approaching 400 parts per million, and are expected to rise to 550 ppm by 2050.)

    The teams simulated high CO2 levels in open-air fields using a system called Free Air Concentration Enrichment (FACE), which pumps out, monitors and adjusts ground-level atmospheric CO2 to simulate future conditions. In this study, all other growing conditions (sunlight, soil, water, temperature) were the same for plants grown at high-CO2 and those used as controls.

    What would the experiment’s results have looked like if the experiment was spread out from now until the middle of this century? What I’m hinting at here is what I call ‘rapid experimentation’ – giving organisms and ecosystems far less time to adapt and adjust compared to 36 years.

    550ppm less nutritious but more of the little buggers I suppose.

  33. Col Mosby says:

    If zinc and iron deficiencies are already a big problem, exactly how is avoiding losses of zinc and iron going to help that situation? I assume suplemental zinc and iron is the answer and that has nothing to do with this. Also, exactly HOW significantly lower iron/zinc levels are we talking about, and how dependent is the population on those sources for their iron and zinc? Until you can answer those questions, you don’t really have any idea whether these losses will have a significant effect. On the other hand, suppose CO2 levels fall below 300PPM. What happens in that case, both in terms of yield as well as iron/zinc levels. Are the projected lower iron/zinc levels due to the fact that the yield is greater and thus the chemicals are diluted? What were the yields under enhanced CO2 levels? Lots of questions.

  34. Scarface says:

    “And zinc and iron deficiency is a big global health problem already for at least 2 billion people.”

    That’s why we don’t want them to industrialize and develop their countries, get access to cheap and reliable energy, get wealthy and healthy and give them the opportunity to make choices beyond how to reach the next day.

    Instead we scare them to death with global warming and CO2=pollutant BS and buy off their governments with climate justice payments, so the elites overthere will let their citizens continue to suffer and the elites in the West can make their own citizens suffer too and even pay for it.

    ______________

    How long will it take to get rid of this nonsense? I hope I live to see the day, but I’m getting more and more pessimistic lately. The madness just gets worse and worse. It seems like it will take decades if not centuries to disappear.

    The next Dark Ages are staring us in the face. Dear Lord help us all.

  35. Michael Cohen says:

    I suppose we will need to eat meat in order to get our iron and zinc.

  36. Merovign says:

    So is there any indication the cause of this “problem” is anything *but* dilution due to increased growth? What is the null hypothesis to the contention that this is an actual problem and how is it addressed?

    Or… is this just a load of data tangentially related to a preordained conclusion?

  37. Jimbo says:

    “C4 is sort of a fuel-injected photosynthesis that maize and sorghum and millet have,” he said. “Our previous work here at Illinois has shown that their photosynthesis rates are not stimulated by being at elevated CO2. They already have high CO2 inside their leaves.”

    OK. What did maize do in the past?

    Abstract
    Will photosynthesis of maize (Zea mays) in the US Corn Belt increase in future [CO2] rich atmospheres? An analysis of diurnal courses of CO2 uptake under free-air concentration enrichment (FACE)
    …….FACE technology allows experimental treatments to be imposed upon a complete soil–plant–atmosphere continuum with none of the effects of experimental enclosures on plant microclimate. Crop performance was compared at ambient [CO2] (354 μ mol mol−1) and the elevated [CO2] (549 μmol mol−1) predicted for 2050. Previous laboratory studies suggest that under favorable growing conditions C4 photosynthesis is not typically enhanced by elevated [CO2]. However, stomatal conductance and transpiration are decreased, which can indirectly increase photosynthesis in dry climates. Given the deep soils and relatively high rainfall of the US Corn Belt, it was predicted that photosynthesis would not be enhanced by elevated [CO2]. The diurnal course of gas exchange of upper canopy leaves was measured in situ across the growing season of 2002. Contrary to the prediction, growth at elevated [CO2] significantly increased leaf photosynthetic CO2 uptake rate (A) by up to 41%, and 10% on average. Greater A was associated with greater intercellular [CO2], lower stomatal conductance and lower transpiration. Summer rainfall during 2002 was very close to the 50-year average for this site, indicating that the year was not atypical or a drought year. The results call for a reassessment of the established view that C4 photosynthesis is insensitive to elevated [CO2] under favorable growing conditions and that the production potential of corn in the US Corn Belt will not be affected by the global rise in [CO2].
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1529-8817.2003.00767.x/abstract

  38. Tom Harley says:

    Sounds great to me, just about to begin a tree planting proposal for high Vitamin C and mineral fruit trees and nut trees, just add CO2, love it, Nitrogen fixing plants to help the plant nutrients along, and a cash crop is the result. Collect carbon credits on the way too if anyone’s silly enough to offer us some?

  39. David A says:

    What happens is the plant grows say 20 percent larger, yes more bio-lifem but the nutrinal values in a few instances only increases, say 12 percent. This is a win/win. You [still] have more food and more nutrients, it is just less dense in SOME plants.

    Some more info below….

    Reference
    Duval, B.D., Blankinship, J.C., Dijkstra, P. and Hungate, B.A. 2012. CO2 effects on plant nutrient concentration depend on plant functional group and available nitrogen: a meta-analysis. Plant Ecology 213: 505-521.
    Background
    The authors note that atmospheric CO2 enrichment might logically be expected to lower plant nutrient concentrations (i.e., dilute them), due to the greater rate of carbohydrate production elevated CO2 concentrations induce in plants via their stimulation of the photosynthetic process, the end result of which in the case of agricultural crops has been hypothesized by Loladze (2002) to result in “hidden hunger,” i.e., more – but less nutritious – food. But is that expectation borne out by experimental studies?

    What was done
    In a herculean effort to find the answer to this question, Duval et al. conducted a meta-analysis of the subject that was designed to include the results of all CO2 enrichment studies of all plant nutrients that had been conducted and published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature up to the time of the commencement of their analysis. More specifically, they say that they [quantified 12 percent]. “elevated CO2 effects on leaf, stem, root, and seed concentrations of B, Ca, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, P,S, and Zn among four plant functional groups and two levels of N fertilization,” based on 90 individual experimental analyses involving a total of 478 independent replications.

    What was learned
    The four U.S. researchers did indeed find that in some cases “elevated CO2 tends to lower the concentration of nutrients in plants,” but they say that in other cases they observed increased nutrient concentrations. In addition, they discovered that “the effects of elevated CO2 on mineral nutrition depend on the specific element, plant functional group, plant organ, N availability, and, in some cases, the level of CO2 enrichment.” And these complexities, in their words, “preclude a universal hypothesis strictly related to carbohydrate dilution regarding plant nutrient response to elevated CO2.” Also of great importance was their finding that when elevated CO2 did lower the nutrient concentrations of plants, most nutrients exhibited dilution that was “less than expected.”

    What it means
    In discussing the results of their comprehensive analysis, Duval et al. conclude that their findings “challenge the assumption that plant nutrient concentrations are generally lowered by elevated CO2 strictly on the basis of carbohydrate dilution,” thereby largely contradicting the “hidden hunger hypothesis” put forward a decade earlier by Loladze (2002).

    Reference
    Loladze, I. 2002. Rising atmospheric CO2 and human nutrition: toward globally imbalanced plant stoichiometry? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 17: 457-461.

  40. Bobbie Irish says:

    Since Soy protein inhibits absorption of iron and zinc anyway, what’s the big deal? Also, as many mention, the other grains are not significant providers of zinc and iron. Experiments already underway to develop new genetic varieties (since the late nineties) of wheat and rice which are higher in those nutrients.

  41. Mike Maguire says:

    Chip Knappenberger,
    Thanks to the link to Craig Idso’s summary on the literature related to this. I trust him as an authentic source in this area. Though he is keeping an open mind, his views are not alarming, like the opening statement of this article:

    “Researchers have some bad news for future farmers and eaters: As carbon dioxide levels rise this century, some grains and legumes will become significantly less nutritious than they are today”

    If a farmer has a bigger yield, which clearly would be the case with elevated CO2, why would this be bad news for them?
    Because they won’t have enough storage for their record large crop?
    Because the price they get for their crop will go down from the increase in supply?

    Let’s look at a recent article about high yielding corn hybrids that have boosted the size of our nations corn crop that use more nitrogen fertilizer and use up more micronutrients in the soil. If these are not replaced or added to soil you end up with a deficiency in the soil.

    https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2013/Q4/high-nitrogen-rates-increase-micronutrient-uptake,-storage-in-corn.html

    1.The improved modern hybrids of corn plants are uptaking more of these micronutrients and nitrogen fertilizer rates control how much is stored in the plants at harvest…….unless there is a shortage in the soil because of the increased needs from higher yielding crops.
    2. With regards to the study that was done with higher CO2 rates. If, all other things being equal, when you do the same thing with modern higher yielding corn plants, using the increased nitrogen to maximize yields(instead of CO2) , the micronutrient requirements in the soil are higher, then why wouldn’t micronutrients requirements in the soil also be higher with elevated CO2 levels? Did this study account for this?
    3. Not only can/do scientists make changes to improve crop genetics to adjust for various situations, farmers manage soils and the environment to add or take away what is needed to maximize yields and nutritional content.

  42. JJ says:

    Latitude says:

    Some varieties showed no reduction at all…
    …so, change the variety you’re growing

    Exactly.

    The problem is, these studies are interpreted by dumbasses. Therefore, they assume that the net response will be the result that would occur if everyone was a dumbass. The notion that human beings will find a way to mitigate the small decrease in micronutrients while capitalizing on the huge increase in macronutrients and the net increase in yield/ac of all nutrients … well that is not something that could ever occur to these dumbasses. The big hurdle for them, apart from the inconsistency with their preconceived ‘global warming’ commitment, is that word – capitalizing. It offends their sensibilities, so they wish it away.

    Another consideration is that those 2 Billion people who they claim are currently suffering iron and zinc deficiency, are also suffering substantial caloric deficiency. Their primary need is more food. If you feed them 25% more food that is 25% lower in micronutrients like iron and zinc, they will get the same amount of iron and zinc as before, and 25% more calories. This is how you fix malnutrition.

    Another plan that would make the dumbasses’ heads explode – feed the increased crop yield to animals, then eat the animals. One of the primary functions of animal husbandry is the concentration of the sparse nutrients from low quality forage into high quality meat – replete with iron, zinc, and protein. Beef, lamb and goats grow quite well on maize and other C4 grasses, the existing varieties of which show no loss of nutrients but increased yield under CO2 enrichment…

  43. David A says:

    Consider a world nutrient like wheat… (This purported problem is a non -issue)

    Reference
    Pal, M., Rao, L.S., Srivastava, A.C., Jain, V. and Sengupta, U.K. 2003/4. Impact of CO2 enrichment and variable nitrogen supplies on composition and partitioning of essential nutrients of wheat. Biologia Plantarum 47: 227-231.
    Background
    Loladze (2002) speculates that atmospheric CO2 enrichment will alter the plant tissue concentrations of a number of micronutrients, many of which are important to human health, worrying that if decreases predominate over increases, humanity could suffer severe adverse consequences.

    What was done
    In a study that is relevant to this hypothesis, the authors grew well-watered wheat (Triticum aestivum L. cv. HD-2285) plants from seed for 90 days in pots supplied with either high or low concentrations of soil nitrogen (150 or 75 kg N ha-1, respectively) in sunlit open-top chambers maintained at atmospheric CO2 concentrations of either 350 or 600 ppm, after which their leaves, stems and roots were analyzed for concentrations of the micronutrients Mn, Zn, Cu and Fe.

    What was learned
    The extra 250 ppm of atmospheric CO2 decreased the leaf, stem and root concentrations of Fe at both soil nitrogen levels: -1.8% (leaves, high N), -17.8% (stems, high N), -15.7% (roots, high N), -15.9% (leaves, low N), -13.2% (stems, low N), -10.2% (roots, low N). However, it did just the opposite for the other three micronutrients. For Mn the observed increases were +22.4% (leaves, high N), +0.0% (stems, high N), +37.6% (roots, high N), +20.9% (leaves, low N), +3.3% (stems, low N), +41.2% (roots, low N), for Zn they were +12.9% (leaves, high N), +4.5% (stems, high N), +6.0% (roots, high N), +12.5% (leaves, low N), +9.3% (stems, low N), +9.1% (roots, low N), while for Cu they were +4.3% (leaves, high N), +42.4% (stems, high N), +13.9% (roots, high N), +7.9% (leaves, low N), +38.2% (stems, low N), +14.1% (roots, low N). Averaged across the three plant parts and both soil N levels, the CO2-induced changes in micronutrient concentrations within the wheat plants were: -12.4% (Fe), +20.9% (Mn), +9.0% (Zn) and +20.1% (Cu).

    What it means
    For three of the four micronutrients investigated in this study, atmospheric CO2 enrichment led to concentration increases, reminiscent of the findings of Lieffering et al. (2004), who observed CO2-induced increases in the concentrations of six out of six micronutrients (Zn, Mn, Cu, B, Mo, plus Fe) in a study of rice grains. Hence, there is reason to hope that the fears of Loladze will not be realized, and that perhaps just the opposite may prove to be true in the case of most food plants.

    References
    Lieffering, M., Kim, H.-Y., Kobayashi, K. and Okada, M. 2004. The impact of elevated CO2 on the elemental concentrations of field-grown rice grains. Field Crops Research 88: 279-286.

    Loladze, I. 2002. Rising atmospheric CO2 and human nutrition: towards globally imbalanced plant stoichiometry. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 17: 457-461.

  44. MojoMojo says:

    “In this study, all other growing conditions (sunlight, soil, water, temperature) were the same for plants grown at high-CO2 and those used as controls.”

    Crops yield more quantity with higher levels of CO2.Stands to reason a larger plant will dilute the available soil nutrients.
    Ever think of adding fertilizer while increasing CO2?
    Marijuana growers are using CO2 to produce both higher yields with higher potency.

  45. David A says:

    Everyone please follow the link below…
    Chip Knappenberger says:
    May 7, 2014 at 2:44 pm
    Here is Craig Idso’s summary of the literature regarding CO2 and the nutrient content of crops:
    http://www.co2science.org/subject/n/nutrition.php
    -Chip
    ==========================
    This has been well researched, and is not a problem

  46. joey says:

    My critique of this study would be that you are introducing an external pressure on the plants instantly. Plants that are currently producing at 400 ppm CO2 are now exposed to 550 ppm and then [being] asked, what happens? This is not necessarily a fair simulation and nutrient contents could be quite different for multiple generations of plants grown over the course of CO2 rising from 400 ppm to 550 ppm.

  47. Jimbo says:

    “C4 is sort of a fuel-injected photosynthesis that maize and sorghum and millet have,” he said. “Our previous work here at Illinois has shown that their photosynthesis rates are not stimulated by being at elevated CO2. They already have high CO2 inside their leaves.”

    Is there any hope for Sorghum bicolor?

    Reduced photorespiration and increased energy-use efficiency in young CO2-enriched sorghum leaves
    Conclusions
    Carbon assimilation, when measured at growth Ca, in young S. bicolor leaves was enhanced by FACE conditions. Partial stimulation of A* in young plants was due to an apparent enhanced oxygen sensitivity, as shown by the increase in A* at 2% O2. Additionally, elevated Ca enhanced energy use efficiency, possibly by decreasing overcycling of the C4 pump and reducing the amount of CO2 leaking from the bundle sheath cells. These results suggest a reduction in rc in the younger leaves leads to decreased energy use efficiency due to overcycling of the C4 pump. The decreased rc may be compensated for by increased Ca. Further investigations are needed to understand the basis for the increased leakiness and overcycling in leaves of young sorghum plants……
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1469-8137.2001.00112.x/full

  48. Mickey Reno says:

    Meanwhile, back at the secret volcano base of the Climate Rapid Response Team, Dr. Cookevil discusses the latest threat with his minions.

    Dr. C: Oh NO! These lousy deniers are actually showing CO2 to be GOOD! They show how fast it makes plants grow. The starving people will be able to eat more. We’ve got to put a stop to this right now.
    MinionNutti: I know, we can mobilize the Rapid Response Team to put out a general alarm. Some needy grad student can whip up a quick paper showing how the plants will produce empty calories.
    MinionMarriott: Great! I’ll light the Climate Disaster Beacon

  49. Jimbo says:

    Robin says:
    May 7, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Just for fun here is the membership of the Board of Directors of the Nature Conservancy http://www.nature.org/about-us/governance/board-of-directors/index.htm

    Thanks Robin! I see the tobacco, coal and oil investorJeremy Grantham of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co.

    Conserve nature and invest in oil, tobacco and coal. You know it’s the right thing to do. Let’s all join hands and invest in these reviled industries while conserving our beloved environment. This is how you know they are trying a fast one. Gore was out first on the block after saying himself that he sold tobacco and his family indeed got rich on oil. What’s not to like about these wonderful NON-HYPOCRITES?

  50. Streetcred says:

    May 7, 2014 at 2:50 pm | kalsel3294 says:

    THE FACE studies conducted at Horsham, Victoria Australia a few years ago found enriched CO2 increased wheat yields in terms of kg per hectare, but with reduced protein levels in terms of protein per kg.

    I can see the headlines … “Scientist grow new diet wheat”

  51. michael hart says:

    Let them eat meat.

  52. evanmjones says:

    OMG. We shall have to invent vitamin pills.

    If worse comes to worst.

  53. evanmjones says:

    Let them eat meat.

    Har! Har!

  54. Latitude says:

    Les Johnson says:
    May 7, 2014 at 3:05 pm
    What is not stated though, is what was the yield change. I am going to assume it was positive. If so, then the slight reductions are due to dilution.
    ===
    Exactly..when plants grow slower and harder they concentrate “nutrients”….
    …notice they didn’t weight it against water gain or mass

  55. Jimbo says:

    Zinc and iron went down significantly in wheat, rice…..

    I do not eat wheat and rice for their zinc or iron. Zinc and iron is widely available in many other foods. Calm down.

  56. JJ says:

    David A says:

    What was learned
    The extra 250 ppm of atmospheric CO2 decreased the leaf, stem and root concentrations of …

    Who eats the leaves, stems and roots of wheat? Apart from ‘global warming’ enthralled juice bar freaks that is?

    Any research on the effect of CO2 enrichment on the nutrient content of wheat berries?

  57. R. de Haan says:

    Eliminating pro CO2 arguments: Yet another GIGO report with no other destination but the shredder.

  58. Chuck says:

    RalphB says:
    May 7, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Okay, lets say this is true and CO2 concentrations continue to rise. We have plenty of time to make the genetic modifications that will give us grains that can utilize the benefits of the additional CO2 and raise the levels of iron, zinc and protein. Yum, carbon dioxide — we’ll eat it.

    Exactly. All these studies always assume that we’ll be doing everything exactly the same in 10, 20, 50 or 100 years. That’s rarely the case and the main reason these doomsday predictions don’t come true.

  59. Jimbo says:

    cynical_scientist says:
    May 7, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    In a high $CO_2$ environment the productivity of these crops is much higher, and the seeds are fat and full of sugars and carbs (the raison d’etre of these crops).

    Exactly! Otherwise I would just eat rice for its carbs, protein, zinc and iron. No thanks, it won’t work out folks, ask the many malnourished around the world who ONLY eat rice. This study is garbage.

  60. Jimbo says:

    A lot of the stuff we can’t or won’t eat goes to our livestock. When they are fat we kill and eat them. That’s the way it has worked for thousands of years. The study is an experiment in alarmism and bullshit. So what if nutrients go down, there will be more matter and the matter we don’t want can be fed to our animals. Win win situation.

    For thousands of years we have been engaged in agriculture. It has never been a static, non-interventionist occupation. Most of our famous crops do not resemble the crops of 2,000 years ago. Why???

  61. M Seward says:

    Re Mike Maguire and crying wolf, after 20 years of crying wolf I imagine the odd wolf has actually wandered past and even taken a dump outside the fence. But all the chicks, geese, goats, sheep and children are still here, so is the missus. Oh well, back to the daily grind.

  62. Jimbo says:

    Sorry chaps but here we go again. Why should the alleged fall in nutrients worry us? It’s not all bad and there is no need for emergency measures or to cut down our co2 output. There is every reason to increase it from our current 400ppm to 600ppm. Refer to greenhouse growers who pump in 1,000ppm and the video I posted above.

    Abstract – 28 June 2013
    Randall J. Donohue et al
    Impact of CO2 fertilization on maximum foliage cover across the globe’s warm, arid environments

    Satellite observations reveal a greening of the globe over recent decades. The role in this greening of the “CO2 fertilization” effect—the enhancement of photosynthesis due to rising CO2 levels—is yet to be established. The direct CO2 effect on vegetation should be most clearly expressed in warm, arid environments where water is the dominant limit to vegetation growth. Using gas exchange theory, we predict that the 14% increase in atmospheric CO2 (1982–2010) led to a 5 to 10% increase in green foliage cover in warm, arid environments. Satellite observations, analyzed to remove the effect of variations in precipitation, show that cover across these environments has increased by 11%. Our results confirm that the anticipated CO2 fertilization effect is occurring alongside ongoing anthropogenic perturbations to the carbon cycle and that the fertilization effect is now a significant land surface process.
    Geophysical Research Letters – Volume 40, Issue 12, pages 3031–3035
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50563/abstract
    _____________________________

    Abstract – May 2013
    A Global Assessment of Long-Term Greening and Browning Trends in Pasture Lands Using the GIMMS LAI3g Dataset

    Our results suggest that degradation of pasture lands is not a globally widespread phenomenon and, consistent with much of the terrestrial biosphere, there have been widespread increases in pasture productivity over the last 30 years.
    http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/5/5/2492
    _____________________________

    Abstract – 10 April 2013
    Analysis of trends in fused AVHRR and MODIS NDVI data for 1982–2006: Indication for a CO2 fertilization effect in global vegetation

    …..The effect of climate variations and CO2 fertilization on the land CO2 sink, as manifested in the RVI, is explored with the Carnegie Ames Stanford Assimilation (CASA) model. Climate (temperature and precipitation) and CO2 fertilization each explain approximately 40% of the observed global trend in NDVI for 1982–2006……
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/gbc.20027/abstract
    _____________________________

    Abstract – May 2013
    The causes, effects and challenges of Sahelian droughts: a critical review
    …….However, this study hypothesizes that the increase in CO2 might be responsible for the increase in greening and rainfall observed. This can be explained by an increased aerial fertilization effect of CO2 that triggers plant productivity and water management efficiency through reduced transpiration. Also, the increase greening can be attributed to rural–urban migration which reduces the pressure of the population on the land…….
    doi: 10.1007/s10113-013-0473-z
    _____________________________

    Abstract – 2013
    P. B. Holden et. al.
    A model-based constraint on CO2 fertilisation
    Using output from a 671-member ensemble of transient GENIE simulations, we build an emulator of the change in atmospheric CO2 concentration change since the preindustrial period. We use this emulator to sample the 28-dimensional input parameter space. A Bayesian calibration of the emulator output suggests that the increase in gross primary productivity (GPP) in response to a doubling of CO2 from preindustrial values is very likely (90% confidence) to exceed 20%, with a most likely value of 40–60%. It is important to note that we do not represent all of the possible contributing mechanisms to the terrestrial sink. The missing processes are subsumed into our calibration of CO2 fertilisation, which therefore represents the combined effect of CO2 fertilisation and additional missing processes.
    doi:10.5194/bg-10-339-2013
    _____________________________

    Abstract – 16 October 2012
    Changes in the variability of global land precipitation
    Fubao Sun et al
    [1] In our warming climate there is a general expectation that the variability of precipitation (P) will increase at daily, monthly and inter-annual timescales. Here we analyse observations of monthlyP (1940–2009) over the global land surface using a new theoretical framework that can distinguish changes in global Pvariance between space and time. We report a near-zero temporal trend in global meanP. Unexpectedly we found a reduction in global land P variance over space and time that was due to a redistribution, where, on average, the dry became wetter while wet became drier. Changes in the P variance were not related to variations in temperature. Instead, the largest changes in P variance were generally found in regions having the largest aerosol emissions. Our results combined with recent modelling studies lead us to speculate that aerosol loading has played a key role in changing the variability of P.
    Geophysical Research Letters – Volume 39, Issue 19
    DOI: 10.1029/2012GL053369
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2012GL053369/abstract

  63. M Seward says:

    and from Andrew Leakey’s web page:-

    Teaching
    IB107, Global Warming, Biofuels and Food
    IB 440, Plants and Global Change

    Research
    Integrative plant genomics, physiology and ecology
    My research program is focused on improving mechanistic understanding of:
    Plant responses in natural and agricultural ecosystems to global environmental change
    Adaptation of food and fuel crops to global environmental change
    Sustainability of biofuel feedstocks

    Sounds like an agenda more than an area of interest to me.

    Did that wolf just take a leakey on the gate post?

  64. Transport by Zeppelin says:

    quote
    “The teams simulated high CO2 levels in open-air fields using a system called Free Air Concentration Enrichment (FACE), which pumps out, monitors and adjusts ground-level atmospheric CO2″

    I demand to know how many tonnes of CO2 were emitted to the atmosphere to carry out this experiment, &, did they have a licence to do so?

    And will any harm likely come to any polar bears, penguins, or frogs due to this experiment?

  65. MattN says:

    I’ve had this argument before with a true believer. I am sure that the many millions of people who went to bed hungry tonight because they didn’t have food couldn’t give less of a crap if the food they might have had tonight was less nutritous than the food they didn’t actually have.

  66. Gamecock says:

    ‘“It’s important that we start to do these experiments in tropical climates with tropical soils, because that’s just a terrible gap in our knowledge, given that that’s where food security is already the biggest issue,” he said.’

    Terrible? How can a “gap in our knowledge” be terrible? Have they already determined their result, and it’s terrible? Like, OMG, a 5% drop in zinc? More tax dollars at play. They are trying to set up tropical vacations. BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

    “And that, sir, is why the university should send us to Rio. To conduct experiments.” Department heads hear this BS over and over.

  67. Once you have enough Zinc in your diet (& that is not very much) more doesn’t help you at all until it starts making you ill.

    Most of those things also contain very little Iron to begin with, & in the Western World there are more problems with excess Iron than with deficiency.

    Zinc & Iron are trivially easy to supplement, & in fact, all flour sold in the United States is required by law to have Iron added to it.

  68. Dave L says:

    Nothing new here. Increased carbohydrate production with some dilution of trace micro-nutrients. The purpose of the paper is to put political spin on something which was previously known and not determined to be a significant nutrition problem.

  69. dmacleo says:

    more co2, plant grows faster using more soil nutrients.
    more sunlight also leads to more soil nutrients being used.
    good lord….

  70. charliexyz says:

    The good news is that crops grown in high CO2 levels don’t deplete the mineral content of the soil as rapidly as crops grown in lower CO2 levels. :)

  71. RoHa says:

    @ttclod

    Best bet is oysters? Yech! Who wants to eat a blob of living snot?

    Best bet is chocolate. After that, bok choy.

  72. kadaka: don’t forget probiotics! We all should take probiotic supplements daily. They are beneficial for physical and mental health.

    MattN: Good point!

    BTW, we don’t need to waste yet more money genetically engineering ANYTHING. I think I can live with 5% fewer nutrients in some foods. We eat too much bread, anyway. And I buy organic where it’s available.

  73. phlogiston says:

    As the scientific community and thinking public begin to wake up from the abusive indoctrination of doom-mongering CAGW and realise that CO2 is good for the biosphere, the spiv-scammers of CACA are also waking up to this fact and are putting out some desperate counter-propaganda.

    “Plants grow faster? Thats not good, its bad, they drain out the nutrients.”

    “People live longer? That’s not good, its bad, they use up all the food and we all starve!”

  74. Resourceguy says:

    Not to worry, corporate farming will be banned long before we get to that point. EPA is already working on the endangered snails in rivers covering whole states so the groundwork is going into place to begin the assault. WUWT readers are falling behind on the river strategies at EPA.

  75. phlogiston says:

    This nutrient-deficiency hypothesis is fatally flawed by the “everything else being equal” fallacy that is the central pillar of the eco disaster prophecy scam industry.

  76. Michael Cohen said @ May 7, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    I suppose we will need to eat meat in order to get our iron and zinc.

    Only if I have to, even though it’s really, really yummy ;-) Marxist-Lentillists eat your heart out :-)))

    The iron and zinc in wheat and rice is mostly in the bran and germ, both of which are removed in the manufacture of food-like substances which is all that most people seem to want these days (poor fools). That is why the need for supplementing them with Fe and Zn.

    Where the soil is deficient in zinc, the plants will take up cadmium instead from the superphosphate used to fertilise the crop. About thirty years ago we saw a ban on the sale of sheep kidneys here in the Land of Under because they were concentrating the cadmium in those organs. Near broke my heart; I love sheep kidneys (with bacon and eggs of course).

    Iron is all but ubiquitous in soils; just need to tickle the soil biology along a little to release it in an available form that the crop can use. Mainly by applying agricultural lime to acid soils, or by not applying it to soils that are already between pH 5 – 6.5. But then farmers already know that.

  77. u.k.(us) says:

    A quick search reveals, some forward thinking ?
    https://www.croptrust.org/content/svalbard-global-seed-vault
    Excerpt:

    “Svalbard Global Seed Vault Deep inside a mountain on a remote island in the Svalbard archipelago, halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole, lies the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a fail-safe, state-of-the-art seed storage facility, built to stand the test of time – and of natural or manmade disasters.

    Permanent protection for the world’s food crops The purpose of the Vault is to store duplicates (‘back ups’) of all seed samples from the world’s crop collections. Permafrost and thick rock ensure that, even in the case of a power outage, the seed samples will remain frozen. The Vault can therefore be considered the ultimate insurance policy for the world’s food supply. It will secure, for centuries, millions of seeds representing every important crop variety available in the world today.

    Scientists have long been alarmed by the loss of crop diversity and the vulnerability of the world’s seed collections…………..”

  78. Jimbo says:

    Dinosaurs suffered through a lack of sufficient nutrition due to high co2 levels. Their governments were forced to act then to reduce co2 levels. Since then their numbers thrived up till the present day.

  79. Garfy says:

    Réchauffement climatique : l’innocence du … – YouTube
    ► 5:34► 5:34
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNAoG_E7eyk
    23 sept. 2013 – Ajouté par LibertarienTV
    Le CO2 a certes augmenté depuis le XIXe siècle, passant de 300 ppm à 400 ppm mais l’effet de serre dû au CO2 …

  80. Claude Harvey says:

    Re: Jimbo says

    “Since then their numbers thrived up till the present day.”

    Ate myself one of them giant chickens just the other day. Smokin’ good!

  81. Patrick says:

    “Walter Sobchak says:

    May 7, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Cereals have never been a major source od dietary iron. That’s why you’re supposed to eat your spinach.”

    Do say that to someone (Me) who suffers from haemochromatosis.

  82. F.A.H. says:

    When I accessed the article there was another related article in the sidebar:

    Elevated CO2 further lengthens growing season under warming conditions
    Melissa Reyes-Fox1*, Heidi Steltzer2*, M. J. Trlica3, Gregory S. McMaster4, Allan A. Andales5, Dan R. LeCain6 & Jack A. Morgan doi:10.1038/nature13207

    I just scanned both very fast right now and may or may not get to a slow reading, but it looks like there is a bit of thought needed to work out the net change in nutrient yield per cultivated area per unit water requirement per growing season etc. The decreases in per plant nutrient composition could be offset (or exacerbated) by changes in water requirements, heat resilience, growing season length, nutrient requirements etc. If somebody wanted to look over this issue it would be interesting.

  83. David A says:

    There is no need for vitamins, like many things the details within the literature from numerous other studies are the opposite of what the disaster, give me more research money folks say..

    Averaged across the three plant parts and both soil N levels, the CO2-induced changes in micronutrient concentrations within the wheat plants were: -12.4% (Fe), +20.9% (Mn), +9.0% (Zn) and +20.1% (Cu).

    What it means
    For three of the four micronutrients investigated in this study, atmospheric CO2 enrichment led to concentration increases, reminiscent of the findings of Lieffering et al. (2004), who observed CO2-induced increases in the concentrations of six out of six micronutrients (Zn, Mn, Cu, B, Mo, plus Fe) in a study of rice grains

  84. george e. smith says:

    What would be the nutritional deficiency for the increased world population in their 2050 unenhanced CO2 environment; of not having ANY food at all for a good fraction of those people ??

  85. Patrick says:

    “Walter Sobchak says:

    May 7, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Cereals have never been a major source od dietary iron. That’s why you’re supposed to eat your spinach.”

    I meant *don’t* say that to someone (Me) who suffers from haemochromatosis.

  86. hunter says:

    550 ppm y 2050?
    That is a 25% increase, 150 ppm in 36 years.
    Bunk on that. We are not increasing CO2 at an accelerating rate.
    As to the study, we have seen enough studies by AGW promoters that skirt the truth or flat-out deceive that I doubt its methods, accuracy and conclusions.

  87. Robert Jacobs says:

    I remember a critique of one of these experiments from Dr. Idso at co2science.org years ago. Does the paper make clear that 550 ppm CO2 was maintained for a full 24hr day?

    In a past experiment which CO2science criticized, the concentration of CO2 varied.

  88. Bryan says:

    I’m just concerned about all the carbon poison they pumped into the air to do this study.

  89. Mark Bofill says:

    Well, that sucks. Is it a net loss, looking at yield increases?

  90. Eric Worrall says:

    If they held all conditions the same, the faster growing, larger growing CO2 enriched plants were starved on nutrients – so they grew bigger, but sucked all the nutrients out of the soil before they achieved their full growth.

    You have to repeatedly fertilise food crops during growth to ensure they reach maximum potential. I bet they didn’t.

  91. Dr. Strangelove says:

    This study is silly. Out of 10 nutrients in rice, it cited 3 that decreased (zinc, iron & protein) and concluded it is less nutritious. Rice has negligible amount of zinc to begin with. The decreases in iron and protein are small at 5.2% and 7.8% respectively. The study failed to mention the other nutrients. Does rice have more carbohydrates, vitamin B-6 and magnesium? BTW plants grow faster in higher CO2. Farms will be more productive and feed more people.

  92. Eric Worrall says:

    Further to my comment, to explain – if the plants sucked all the nutrients out of the “test” soil, but the CO2 enhanced plants grew larger, the same quantity of nutrients were simply diluted in a bigger volume of plant material.

  93. Tom Trevor says:

    Ok so ONE A Day Multivitamin, problem, if a problem really develops, solved.

  94. Dr. Strangelove says:

    The study said:
    “Dietary deficiencies of zinc and iron are a substantial global public health problem. An estimated two billion people suffer these deficiencies, causing a loss of 63 million life-years annually. Most of these people depend on C3 grains and legumes as their primary dietary source of zinc and iron.”

    These people are deficient in zinc and iron precisely because they depend on rice which has negligible zinc and small amount of iron. They have to eat 5 kg of rice everyday to get the recommended value for iron. They will become obese before they become iron sufficient since that is almost 3 times the recommended calorie intake for normal weight humans.

  95. Eugene WR Gallun says:

    i realize I am stealing this but I can’t think of any other more appropriate comment

    Oh! Noes! It’s worse then we thought!!!

    Eugene WR Gallun

  96. TRM says:

    Maybe they should look at the decrease in nutrients since the 1960s. USDA data show a 20-50% drop in nutrient levels in virtually all foods. Why? You pay people by the pound they will optimize their output by the pound. “Pith” and water content are not very nutrient dense. You get the behaviour your reward. No need to blame CO2.

  97. Mark Bofill says:

    Eric Worrall says:
    May 7, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Further to my comment, to explain – if the plants sucked all the nutrients out of the “test” soil, but the CO2 enhanced plants grew larger, the same quantity of nutrients were simply diluted in a bigger volume of plant material.

    That’s sort of what I was thinking too. Not sure if it’s actually so, but it seems like an important point to look into.

    Thanks.

  98. gymnosperm says:

    Boy, since they held soil constant, and the non C4 plants grew a lot bigger, I bet they just depleted the soil in those nutrients. Not a problem for a modern farmer.

  99. bushbunny says:

    CO2 has nothing to do with it. The soil chemistry and micro and micro minerals can be altered, and unless they are replaced by organic fertilizers and regular soil tests, it will affect crops and production and nutrition content. Super phosphate should never have been used in Australia it is a quick fix fertilizer, and gradually kills off micro organism in the soil, they need to be kept active as they allow the plants to digest soil nutrients and minerals. Feed the soil not the plant is the message. Without really good soils and moisture holding organic material, yes you deplete the nutrition in plants and produce, including pasture.

  100. Frederick Colbourne says:

    The importance of the minerals is not in the crops, nor in the grain that is harvested, but in the portions of the minerals that enter the food chain.

    Most seeds and grains are subject to industrial processing that removes the mineral anyway, so the research may not at all indicate a reduction of minerals in the food chain.

    And as for iron a substantial percentage of the world’s population have too little iron in their diets but mainly because of food processing that removes the iron from the food.

    ,

  101. gymnosperm said @ May 7, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Boy, since they held soil constant, and the non C4 plants grew a lot bigger, I bet they just depleted the soil in those nutrients. Not a problem for a modern farmer.

    There’s not much in the way of constants in field experiments with crops. Everything varies, from day to day and season to season. Long-term field trials (think decades) often enough contradict the results of a single season. Something as simple as amount of water reaching the crop (and note that water is the single biggest crop-limiting factor) can make huge differences. Even if the amount of H2O is the same, rainwater (dilute carbonic acid that dissolves minerals from the soil particles) is different to irrigation water from a dam, or well.

    Sunlight isn’t constant. Diffuse sunlight increases yields compared to sunlight unfiltered by clouds. Soil isn’t constant which is why we sow out in blocks laid out using the method called Latin square.

    Most field experiments are designed to sell you something (usually fertiliser), but in this case I suspect they are selling bullsh!t. And that amounts to the same thing, I guess :-)

  102. bushbunny said @ May 7, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Super phosphate should never have been used in Australia it is a quick fix fertilizer, and gradually kills off micro organism in the soil, they need to be kept active as they allow the plants to digest soil nutrients and minerals.

    Bushbunny, you exaggerate. Superphosphate enables the kick-start to the soil biology you need to commence growing European-adapted crops with the aid of European earthworms following eucalypt bushland.

    Excessive superphosphate use doesn’t deplete nutrients. Very little of the P is used by the crop, the rest being inactivated by iron. Most organic farming in Australia consists in mining the P residues left from years of annual topdressing with super by stimulating the soil biology. They weren’t “killed off” by super so much as never fed their favourite foods (protein).

    In a large number of field trials (potatoes, onions, broccoli, peas) on working farms in Tasmania back in the late 80s/early 90s, the best yields were grown on a 50/50 mix of organic and artificial fertilisers.

  103. David A says:

    Mark Bofill says:
    May 7, 2014 at 7:26 pm
    Well, that sucks. Is it a net loss, looking at yield increases?
    ===============================================
    Mark perhaps you should read the comments more. In all circumstances the peer reviewed science shows a net gain. The reduced nutrient density, per gram of bio life, is still a net gain for the world. IE, plus 20% bio-life, reduction in SOME circumstances of 12% of some nutrients, you still have more nutrients, just a little less dense, plus food benefits consist of more then nutrients. It is a huge net gain, but take the quoted study, as an example of many which contradicts the article.
    There is no need for vitamins, like many things the details within the literature from numerous other studies are the opposite of what the disaster, give me more research money folks say…

    “Averaged across the three plant parts and both soil N levels, the CO2-induced changes in micronutrient concentrations within the wheat plants were: -12.4% (Fe), +20.9% (Mn), +9.0% (Zn) and +20.1% (Cu).

    What it means
    For three of the four micronutrients investigated in this study, atmospheric CO2 enrichment led to concentration increases, reminiscent of the findings of Lieffering et al. (2004), who observed CO2-induced increases in the concentrations of six out of six micronutrients (Zn, Mn, Cu, B, Mo, plus Fe) in a study of rice grains

    You see Mark, this is a small example contained within the NIPCC report, that Mosher said was conducted by a bunch of clowns, without his treasured statistics. His arrogance precludes him from reading about 3000 more paragraphs like this, showing real world studies that show the immense benefits of CO2. BTW, you should not skip Jimbo’s comments among others, which are also on the money.
    For the third time, here is a link..
    http://www.co2science.org/subject/n/nutrition.php

    Mark I think you said you were fairly new to this. Please read the posts. You will almost always learn as much or more from a study of them. (You just need to keep your filters on.)

  104. Henry Clark says:

    Wheat and rice also saw notable declines in protein content at higher CO2.

    If nitrogen fertilizer usage per unit area is kept constant and not adjusted (or if no fertilizer is used under luddite ideology), what decreases yield tends to result in an increased percentage protein in crops, like one experiment found when adding ozone (toxic to plants at ground level). Meanwhile, what increases yield (elevated CO2 for instance) tends to result in a decreased percentage protein in crops under those conditions.

    Should farmers therefore try to decrease yields? Hardly.

    Actual farmers, about results rather than trying to mislead the public, would be more likely to adjust fertilizer usage appropriately. (Of course, the average American is not remotely short on protein intake anyway, while subsidence farmers at the brink of starvation would be better off with more yield).

    Notice the entire semi-lengthy article was careful to never even once mention the enormous tens of percent increase in yield and in water usage efficiency which occurs with a large increase in CO2 (very illustrated at co2science.org ).

  105. bushbunny says:

    Pompous, I will not argue this point, but the mineral that was most deficient in Australian soils besides phosphate, is lime. That was learned back in the late 1800s. Unfortunately with modern soil testing adding the wrong mineral that is thought to be the answer can unbalance the soil chemistry. One can add rock phosphate provided you have a soil test to tell you what minerals are needed. And all soils are different, depending on where they are, ideally the balance should be 45% minerals, 25% water and air and 5% organic material. But if you don’t have enough organic material this will deprive the soil of water and air, and micro organisms.
    Because plants can not absorb minerals directly. Certainly moo pooh(including chook and horse) has been proven to contain many good organisms than any chemical shit. (Excuse the expression mod)

  106. bushbunny says:

    It is interesting that many processed foods, like cereals, state high in iron, fibre, etc. Now some months ago Coles was selling American grapes, with a warning, they contained high something, we bi passed them. But my experience in American food and meat in Bermuda, was it was excellent. Great beef, milk, and apples. Mind you that was in 1969. But they hung their meat like in Britain. Mostano has done a lot of damage to seeds especially sellling the ‘terminator’ seed to third world countries. Any seed is infertile.

  107. Perry says:

    A shift away from farming would improve the health of those few humans who would be left alive, after the hyped crop failures due to higher CO2 levels.

    http://www.second-opinions.co.uk/vegetarians-have-smaller-brains.html#.U2sR3PldWSo

    Cereals are not fit for human consumption.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2614780/How-FARMERS-fitter-athletes-Human-strength-speed-peaked-7-300-years-ago-declining-rapidly.html

    I’m R1b1b2a1a2d & my youngest son is R1b1b2a1a2d3* 2.4% of my DNA is Neanderthal.
    3.0% of the DNA of my son is Neanderthal.

    http://eurogenes.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/the-story-of-r1b-its-complicated.html

  108. bushbunny says:

    It may be of interest to you, that Neanderthals ate mainly flesh, they had larger brains than us, because of the meat they consumed. You should turn yourself in for further testing, so far they have found no DNA in present humans to connect to the Neanderthal genus. They have with chimpanzees though, and 30% of their diet is meat too, or protein, they kill other primates, mainly their babies, poor sods.

  109. Non Nomen says:

    Even if those findings were true they should notice that plants, as any other species, except certain researchers, has the capability of adaptation…
    It’s time to leave these rooms of scientific phantasies!

  110. Mark says:

    tteclod says:

    Also, he seems to differentiate between photosynthesis mechanisms. This looks like a study for a plant biologist and ag engineer to critique.

    Also, what carbon-dioxide concentration did he achieve? How was the concentration measured? How was the CO2 introduced? Was the elevated CO2 level maintained throughout the daily photosynthesis cycle, or did it change according to time of day? How did they handle weather and winds in an open field. Did they measure the natural CO2 level in the region before, during, and after the experiment and compare to controls? What species of crops did they use? Did they make any comparison of nutritional values to nearby crops harvested by others?

    Other obvious questions would be if they switched around which areas were “enriched” with CO2. Thus addressing any possible issue of soil, mycorrhiza, etc differences. Another issue would be how the carbon dioxide was produced. If through combustion there is virtually always some unburned fuel released. Plenty of plant species use airborne organic molecules to “communicate”. Which can have effects at very low concentrations.

  111. Mark says:

    ladylifegrows says:

    Rubisco is the name of the main plant protein that turns CO2 + H2O into sugar and oxygen. With higher CO2, the plant will need less of this protein and minerals associated with it. That will give the plant freedom to produce other nutrients in increased concentration and variety. Logically, this should mean a much more health-promoting food, but it would take sophisticated research for find out for sure or to quantify it.

    Maybe it will make the plant “healthier” from the plant’s POV. Which includes being less attractive to getting eaten by any animal :) Without humans around any crop species would quite rapidly either go extinct or evolve into something with less “nutrients” and more “toxins”.

  112. Charles says:

    We have heard about Peak Oil, now it appears we have reached Peak Stupidity. What these trials demonstrate is that CO2 increases yields, and like most public researchers who are clueless about crop nutrition they have failed to budget for this increased yield by adding the extra nutrients required for this growth.

    Someone mentioned the trials at Horsham a few years back where they found lower protein in wheat in an elevated CO2 environment. This is a straight lime relationship which relies on Nitrogen being available to keep protein levels up when grain yield increases, and in these trials they just left the same N levels for all plots irrespective of their yield. Consequently, protein levels varied dramatically (who would have thought?)..

    Any agronomist worth his or her salt will budget for a particular yield (in tonnes/ha or bushelsacre in the US) prior to the commencement of the season, and ensure available nutrients are matched to the growth of the crop as the season progresses. If extra moisture arrives and yields look to be somewhat better, they will add the required nutrients to compensate for this. This process however usually eludes public researchers as they are generally ignorant of crop nutrition as well as crop protection (weeds, insects disease, etc.) when compared to commercial crop producers.

    Consequently, this report is more about poor trial methodology and lack of agronomic skill than it is of any particular consequence relating to CO2

  113. Mark says:

    Latitude says:

    I wouldn’t call a 5% reduction in zinc/iron/protein “significant”……unless I had some agenda

    You’d also need to know the level of “normal” variation.
    There is also the problem that since the chemistry of testing is often very different from that of the human (plus bacteria symbiotes) digestive system it’s possible to detect “nutrients” in foods which have low “bioavailability”.
    So “less” can literally be “more” in a practical sense.
    When it comes to proteins what actually tends to matter nutritionally speaking are the amino acid ratios. Plant proteins tend to have a much “poorer” ratio than those from animals anyway. Simply because of the metabolic differences between plants and mammals.

  114. son of mulder says:

    If you have a zinc deficiency then animal food is a better source than vegetables.

    http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/zinc.php

    And as for Iron, seafood and liver top the list

    http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/food-sources-of-iron.php

  115. Peter Azlac says:

    More drivel from the kingdom of alarmist science. Fifty years ago I did research into the trace metal needs of crops, including cereals, and both zinc and iron deficiencies were common in Africa where I worked due to the particular types of soils. The solution was simple – either add the fertiliser or use a crop spray (add it to the fungicides). Unless one is on an all cereal diet low levels in cereals is not a problem as it is the iron and zinc levels in the total diet that counts and one can get all one needs from 12 grams of oysters or normal consumption of red meat. In any case the problem for human health is excess intake of iron and for zinc the problem is often interference from a high uptake of copper from plumbing systems, copper pans etc. They say research means to look at the past studies and if these ‘scientists’ had done so they would have seen they were ‘researching’ a non problem but of course that was not the object of the ‘study’ – it was to produce another bit of alarmist propaganda during the build up to the UN boondoggle in Paris next year when the UN hopes to fill their money trough with our money.

  116. Lewis P Buckingham says:

    Mark says:
    May 7, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Latitude says:
    This is a great opportunity, with the strong growing cereals, to engineer them to produce essential amino acids such as methionine and lysine, while having minerals such as zinc still available.
    The biggest cause of world hunger is protein malnutrition.
    There is no allowance made for adapting crops to better uptake of CO2, a key nutrient and their more efficient use of available water.
    In other words the dismal prognosis assumes we are powerless to improve those aspects of nutrition that may change by simply changing the makeup of our diets or engineering crops to grow what we need.

  117. Jaakko Kateenkorva says:

    What is this now? Last in the series of anomalies from the little ice age normals? They caused the last major famine in Europe. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnish_famine_of_1866%E2%80%9368. No way that should be the taxpayers mission.

  118. Henry Clark said @ May 7, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    If nitrogen fertilizer usage per unit area is kept constant and not adjusted (or if no fertilizer is used under luddite ideology)

    Large areas of Australian wheat are sown without fertiliser. When the lakebeds in the outback dry up sufficiently, they are sown down to wheat. Most excellent wheat crops they are too. Not a fertiliser bag in sight. And they receive organic certification for the crop, so bringing a higher than normal market price. Luddites, indeed! Farmers are not Luddites!

  119. bushbunny said @ May 7, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Pompous, I will not argue this point, but the mineral that was most deficient in Australian soils besides phosphate, is lime.

    But my dear bushbunny, you are arguing the point and not very well. Australian soils are not particularly deficient in phosphorus, no matter what you may believe. Undisturbed native soils are deficient in available phosphorus. Most of the P is locked-up in chemical bonding to iron, aluminium and calcium a process that can be reversed by stimulating the soil biota as I wrote before.

    A friend did some labelled P analyses of uptake by wheat in the Mallee some decades ago. The Mallee soils are arguably the most P-deficient in Australia. He discovered two things. Most important was that the wheat was obtaining P from up to 3 metres below the soil surface, not merely exoloiting the top 100 mm as is usually supposed. The second was that there was sufficient P for several millennia of cropping.

    Perhaps you should read this:

    http://thepompousgit.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/154/

  120. Lewis P Buckingham sais @ May 8, 2014 at 12:28 am

    The biggest cause of world hunger is protein malnutrition.

    All too true. And we are not going to fix that problem with cereals. Beans may have role in this, but what we really need is more animal/fish flesh where it’s needed. And that is more of a political problem than one of how to grow animals and fish.

  121. urederra says:

    It is not that they have less Zinc and Iron, It is that they produce more carbohydrates. This is nothing new. Nothing unexpected.

    Also, I would like to know if the soil had enough zinc and iron to support faster growth, and if the plants can absorb more of those minerals provided the soil is fertilized with those minerals.

    Anyway, classic example of torturing data to make things look bad. More CO2 means that cereals produce more sugars, because cereals store the excess of energy in form of sugars, reducing the percentage of everything else. Nothing we did not know. My bet is that the amount of fats are also reduced, but that has been conveniently kept in the dark.

  122. @ urederra

    You’d be hard-pressed to find a soil deficient in iron! Availability is a different matter and why in horticulture we apply chelated iron to plants showing deficiency. Zinc is another matter and levels vary considerably between the old, weathered soils like Australia’s and recent volcanic soils. About 50% of the world’s agricultural soils are considered deficient. Easily remedied with foliar applications of either zinc salts, or as chelates.

    Interesting question about fats. I wonder if Craig Idso knows the answer.

  123. Ed Zuiderwijk says:

    Those trees of the Carboniferous, they must have been starving.

  124. In 1974, the White House set up a special Sub-Committee on Climate Change, as they were so concerned about the effects of global cooling.

    Yet they now expect us to believe that a little bit of warming since has made things so much worse!

    I have copies of the original correspondence and the first report here.

    http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/feds-alarmed-by-global-cooling-in-1974/

  125. Lars P. says:

    DirkH says:
    May 7, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Latitude says:
    May 7, 2014 at 2:25 pm
    “I wouldn’t call a 5% reduction in zinc/iron/protein “significant”……unless I had some agenda”

    Probably 20% yield increase, 5% per weight zinc decrease… just guessing. Meaning total increase of 15%. Science is all about making things sound bad. Science is the new press, now that the press has lost all reputation.

    Correct. The alarmist seeem to be desperately looking to find arguments against the scientifically well established CO2 fertility boost.

    bushbunny says:
    May 7, 2014 at 10:50 pm
    It may be of interest to you, that Neanderthals ate mainly flesh, they had larger brains than us, because of the meat they consumed. You should turn yourself in for further testing, so far they have found no DNA in present humans to connect to the Neanderthal genus.

    not sure where do you have the info or what do you really mean there bushbunny, but to what I have read humans and neanderthals have 99.84% same DNA far away from monkeys which differ 3-5%
    http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-evolution-human-origins/neanderthals-and-humans-are-9984-percent-genetically-identical-088978
    The differences seem to be more of epigenetic nature – for which genes are turned on and which off.

  126. Rab McDowell says:

    All things being equal, as yields rise because of higher availability of CO2 to growing plants, other nutrients will reduce in concentration. Of course they will. Partly because as cereals fill out the grain they deposit protein in the grain earlier than carbohydrate. Higher yields mean more carbohydrate therefore lower protein percentage. Low yields in a drought year mean protein content is higher as less carbs are laid down in the grain. I have been growing cereals for 40 years and have long known that, as do my neighbours.
    However, things do not remain equal. As my yields have risen I adjust my fertilizer and trace element application to maintain the quality. It is what farmers do. It is what farmers will continue to do. With irrigation and other technologies my yields have doubled. Proteins and other quality factors have kept pace or improved, not declined. One reason for this is, as yields improve and become more reliable, the response and payback for adjusting imputs are more predictable.
    What kind of scientist doesn’t consider these kinds of things when making such predictions?

  127. richard says:

    Greenhouses.

    http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/00-077.htm

    Some ways in which productivity is increased by CO2 include earlier flowering, higher fruit yields, reduced bud abortion in roses, improved stem strength and flower size. Growers should regard CO2 as a nutrient.

    For the majority of greenhouse crops, net photosynthesis increases as CO2 levels increase from 340–1,000 ppm (parts per million). Most crops show that for any given level of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), increasing the CO2 level to 1,000 ppm will increase the photosynthesis by about 50% over ambient CO2 levels. For some crops the economics may not warrant supplementing to 1,000 ppm CO2 at low light levels. For others such as tulips, and Easter lilies, no response has been observed.

    Ambient CO2 level in outside air is about 340 ppm by volume. All plants grow well at this level but as CO2 levels are raised by 1,000 ppm photosynthesis increases proportionately resulting in more sugars and carbohydrates available for plant growth.

    Photosynthesis

    Plants during photosynthesis use carbon dioxide. Rate of consumption varies with crop, light intensity, temperature, stage of crop development and nutrient level. An average consumption level is estimated to be between 0.12–0.24 kg/hr/100 m2. The higher rate reflects the typical usage for sunny days and a fully-grown crop.

    When To Supplement With Carbon Dioxide
    “Since photosynthesis normally occurs only during daylight hours, CO2 addition is not required at night. However, supplementation is recommended during cloudy, dull days to compensate for the lower rate of photosynthesis. Because photosynthesis increases with high light levels, the optimal CO2 concentration becomes higher. Start supplementation approximately 1 hr before sunrise and shut the system off 1 hr before sunset. However, CO2 supplementation is highly recommended when supplemental high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting is used at night to insure adequate levels”

    Cultural Practices To Improve Productivity

    Depending on the crop, the increased growth rate related to CO2 application may require the nutrient solution to be applied at a higher electrical conductivity (EC). As well, the increased CO2 levels can result in partial closure of the stomata reducing transpiration and increasing leaf conductance in some crops. This decrease in transpiration reduces calcium (Ca) and boron (B) uptake, which may affect tomato fruit quality. Increased applications of these nutrients, within reason, will adequately compensate the decreased uptake.

  128. Jimbo says:

    (Atmospheric CO2 concentrations are currently approaching 400 parts per million, and are expected to rise to 550 ppm by 2050.)

    Does that mean we have to NOW be on 4.16ppm per year OR does it assume an acceleration in the future? Increased energy efficiency, invention and innovation could throw a spanner in their assumptions. Anything out of the blue could be a game changer. PS the biosphere has been greening, who know what the future holds for their assumptions.

    Here are the observations from the NOAA using the Mauna Loa data for co2 increases.

    year ppm/yr
    …..
    1998 2.93
    1999 0.93
    2000 1.62
    2001 1.58
    2002 2.53
    2003 2.29
    2004 1.56
    2005 2.52
    2006 1.76
    2007 2.22
    2008 1.60
    2009 1.89
    2010 2.44
    2011 1.84
    2012 2.66
    2013 2.05

  129. Jimbo says:

    About three billion people worldwide eat rice every day. I eat rice every day and the reason is for the carbohydrates. I also eat other things such as fruits, vegetables, beef, fish, oysters, shrimps etc. If Warmists are so worried about the lost nutrition then they should back Golden Rice. Yet we find many environmentalists oppose this too.

    Golden Rice and the 3 billion figure
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1757-837X.2012.00140.x/abstract
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1126%2Fscience.287.5451.303

  130. Dave says:

    So, some foods are more nutritious than others. And that changes with climate.

    Not exactly a breakthrough nor catastrophic in any way but good to know.

  131. lenbilen says:

    If you are concerned about the nutritional value of your crops, use less fertilizer. The yield will be lower, but the iron content higher. CO2 acts as a fertilizer, so use less petroleum-based fertilizer and all will be back to normal.

  132. Cheshirered says:

    Let’s not beat about the ‘dramatically reduced’ zinc and iron bush; It reeks of producing a pre-determined outcome to further their agenda. That such a minor report should be headline material in certain pro-agw organs tells us all we need to know.

  133. Crispin in Waterloo but really in Yogyakarta says:

    On what basis did they support the statement that the atmospheric concentration of CO2 would ready 550 ppm within 36 years? Where would the carbon come from to push it up to that level in such a short time?

    A comprehensive survey of all the carbon fuels available (known + 100%) was made by Willem Nel, Univ of Johannesburg (see his website for his travails in trying to get his brilliant thesis published). He shows there is zero chance of ever reaching that level with what we have and might find. People roll these numbers off their tongues as if there were an infinite supply of oil and coal out there.

    Next, “Nutrients in sorghum and maize remained relatively stable at higher CO2 levels because these crops use a type of photosynthesis, called C4, which already concentrates carbon dioxide in their leaves, Leakey said.”

    Does he mean they went up, a bit? It is interesting how the argument about C3 grasses (the ‘others’ are not really given the prominence they should. The C4 grasses were a Darwinistic response to record low CO2 levels that were weakening and nearly exterminating the C3 vegetation that had dominated most of the history of plant life on Planet Earth. When CO2 was 280 ppm, C3’s were really in trouble. They were born and flourished in a 5000 ppm CO2 world. The idea that C3’s are unable to live and prosper in a higher CO2 environment is poppycock! They developed in that higher level (much higher) and are struggling with our current measly 400 ppm.

    Finally…
    Note how carefully the ‘lower metals’ argument is made without telling us that the productivity of the plants went up much more than the metals went down. Did you all notice? Carefully worded alarmism. Each square metre of soil will produce much more total nutrition, but in some cases the concentration of some elements in those larger crops may drop (until they are bred up again). As pointed out above, metals come from other foods like nuts, not grains but we can breed what we want. Are they not plant breeders for heaven’s sake? Ever hear of high lysine maize? Completely ordinary breeding and a transformed crop with amazing nutrition. Bring on the CO2. Bring on a better fed world.

  134. catweazle666 says:

    Given that atmospheric CO2 has allegedly risen by ~40% since ~1850, and presuming that there is some preserved vegetable matter from this period available for analysis, has it occurred to these researchers to crosscheck for a decrease in such nutrients over that period, or is it only “new” CO2 that has this effect?

  135. Dire Wolf says:

    Why are y’all talking about getting iron from plants. Eat a cow. That’s what they are there for… nutrient rich food.

  136. Phil. says:

    JJ says:
    May 7, 2014 at 3:57 pm
    Another plan that would make the dumbasses’ heads explode – feed the increased crop yield to animals, then eat the animals. One of the primary functions of animal husbandry is the concentration of the sparse nutrients from low quality forage into high quality meat – replete with iron, zinc, and protein. Beef, lamb and goats grow quite well on maize and other C4 grasses, the existing varieties of which show no loss of nutrients but increased yield under CO2 enrichment…

    The only problem with that is that to get the same caloric value from the meat you’d have to grow about 10X more crops.

  137. Mark Bofill says:

    David A says:
    May 7, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    Mark perhaps you should read the comments more. In all circumstances the peer reviewed science shows a net gain. The reduced nutrient density, per gram of bio life, is still a net gain for the world. IE, plus 20% bio-life, reduction in SOME circumstances of 12% of some nutrients, you still have more nutrients, just a little less dense, plus food benefits consist of more then nutrients. It is a huge net gain, but take the quoted study, as an example of many which contradicts the article.
    There is no need for vitamins, like many things the details within the literature from numerous other studies are the opposite of what the disaster, give me more research money folks say…

    “Averaged across the three plant parts and both soil N levels, the CO2-induced changes in micronutrient concentrations within the wheat plants were: -12.4% (Fe), +20.9% (Mn), +9.0% (Zn) and +20.1% (Cu).

    What it means
    For three of the four micronutrients investigated in this study, atmospheric CO2 enrichment led to concentration increases, reminiscent of the findings of Lieffering et al. (2004), who observed CO2-induced increases in the concentrations of six out of six micronutrients (Zn, Mn, Cu, B, Mo, plus Fe) in a study of rice grains

    Thanks David.

    You see Mark, this is a small example contained within the NIPCC report, that Mosher said was conducted by a bunch of clowns, without his treasured statistics. His arrogance precludes him from reading about 3000 more paragraphs like this, showing real world studies that show the immense benefits of CO2. BTW, you should not skip Jimbo’s comments among others, which are also on the money.
    For the third time, here is a link..
    http://www.co2science.org/subject/n/nutrition.php

    Why are we still talking about Steven Mosher?

    Mark I think you said you were fairly new to this. Please read the posts. You will almost always learn as much or more from a study of them. (You just need to keep your filters on.)

    Fairly new to what? Anyway, I appreciate that David. In fact, inexplicably, I feel a song coming on:

    …I need someone older and wiser
    Telling me what to do
    You are seventeen going on eighteen
    I’ll depend on you…

    :)

  138. earwig42 says:

    And the answer is—– SOYLENT GREEN

  139. JeffC says:

    so they took plants adapted to todays CO2 levels, exposed them to a significant increase in CO2 and watched them for 1 season … gee, I wonder what would have happened if they had only increased CO2 slightly i.e. one years worth of increase as would happen in the real world and see if the plants adapted, used the seeds from those plants for next years crop and again increased the CO2 by one year …

    Oh wait, they could have just looked at regular crops over 5 years from the same field in the real world and done the same experiment …

    But that would have taken years and most likely wouldn’t have been scare worthy …

  140. beng says:

    Oh noes! I hope my veggies aren’t raised in a CO2 greenhouse ’cause that’s gonna give me iron and zinc deficiencies.

    The timing-release of this “study” is interesting — the same time as the National climate-crap release.

  141. Randy says:

    All I can say to this is WOW. This is so clearly agenda driven it is hard to respond with a straight face.

    First WHY do 2 billion people have zinc deficiency globally? Generally these are poor folks who have to much of their diet devoted to GRAINS. They are ALSO growing on soils (in general not universally) more likely to be deficient in zinc. Meaning they should be changing their diet ANYWAY, and if they did, lower amounts of zinc in their cereal crops is meaningless nutritionally speaking.

    Interesting they forgot to mention that yields will go UP with more co2, and water usage can go down. They also didnt account for BREEDING, whether tat be conventional or GM methods.

    So overall we’d have higher yields, with somewhat more stable crops that handle water stress bit better with lower amounts of something already deficient in the soils of most of those needing more of these things, and if they widened the scope of their diets, as they very clearly should anyway then this point is meaningless… so the fact this was somehow portrayed as this was above, is imo very clearly agenda driven. Increased co2 will be a great boon to agriculture and in fact already is. Being lower in a few things that you wouldnt normally rely on cereal grains for anyway hardly registers unless your bias is extreme.

  142. Hexe Froschbein says:

    Ttclod and other spinach fans,

    if you really want to up your iron intake, use an iron frying pan. As any hemachromatosis sufferer (iron accumulates everywhere in their organs) will tell you, this is a sure fire way of upping your intake.

    Even better if you fry some nice fresh liver in said pan!

    As for the other trace elements (note the ‘trace’) if it really ever gets to be a crisis, a bog standard multivitamin pill will take care of the problem, and those are no problem at all to produce cheaply and in large quantities. (see: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-vitamin-supplements [for example]).

    Next, there are some GM manipulations that can be done to up the vitamin content of foods, for example ‘Golden Rice’.

    So, even if some of the nutrients contents falls in some foods, it’s not going to be a problem.

  143. Solomon Green says:

    So the alarmists have turned against their patron saint and claim that Arrhenius got in wrong when he made the suggestion that an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide due to the burning of fossil fuels could be beneficial, making the Earth’s climates “more equable,” stimulating plant growth, and providing more food for a larger population.

  144. Mark says:

    Jimbo says:

    A lot of the stuff we can’t or won’t eat goes to our livestock. When they are fat we kill and eat them. That’s the way it has worked for thousands of years.

    Quite a few plant crops also get fed to fungi too. In the case of Fusarium venenatum the result is a “meat subsitute”. With Saccharomyces cerevisiae having been widely used since prehistoric times.

  145. Mark says:

    Dr. Strangelove says:

    This study is silly. Out of 10 nutrients in rice, it cited 3 that decreased (zinc, iron & protein) and concluded it is less nutritious. Rice has negligible amount of zinc to begin with. The decreases in iron and protein are small at 5.2% and 7.8% respectively. The study failed to mention the other nutrients. Does rice have more carbohydrates, vitamin B-6 and magnesium?

    The majority of both rice and wheat is the stuff plants make through photosythesis from carbon dioxide and water anyway. Potentially quite a bit of the water will be “recycled” through the formation of glycosidic bonds.

  146. Mark says:

    Dr. Strangelove says:

    These people are deficient in zinc and iron precisely because they depend on rice which has negligible zinc and small amount of iron. They have to eat 5 kg of rice everyday to get the recommended value for iron. They will become obese before they become iron sufficient since that is almost 3 times the recommended calorie intake for normal weight humans.

    With a rather high risk of T2 diabetes or NAFLD. Many people’s bodies struggle with a few hundred grammes of glucose a day. (The level which has been promoted as “healthy” for the last 30 odd years.) The actual issue here being more down to chemistry than “calories”. Even the most glucose tolerant person on the planet probably has a safe limit well below 1kg/day.

  147. Mark says:

    Dire Wolf says:

    Why are y’all talking about getting iron from plants. Eat a cow. That’s what they are there for… nutrient rich food.
    Probably just about any mammal or bird will be a better source of iron than a grass.
    Animals make rather more use of iron than do plants.

  148. Latitude says:

    I think I read all the posts….
    …did we miss the fact that all of the plants we grow as “crops” were specifically bred to preform at lower CO2 levels?

  149. Proud Skeptic says:

    Eat cows, pigs and chickens and this stuff won’t be a problem. Besides…the strains of wheat and other things we are eating right now probably didn’t exist 50 years ago. In 50 years there will be new strains that work well in the current climate.

    Having a static view of things handicaps your thinking.

  150. bushbunny says:

    Perry, I hold a degree in palaeoanthropology, and it is very interesting. Neanderthals never existed in Africa, they evolved to live in a cold climate (like Inuits) Other than the Inuits, whose body mass is thicker and fat to sustain cold temperatures, they did eat mainly meat and blubber, like the Neanderthals, very few carbohydrates. The metabolism was (maybe not now being introduced to western diets) had evolved to what food they could hunt and other than a soup made from seal’s stomachs and a handful of berries occasionally, their metabolism was different from the majority of humans that depend on carbohydrates for energy and Blood glucose levels.
    Most of the Neanderthal genus died out eventually, around 39,000 years ago, maybe some interbred with modern humans that came from Africa, but the genetic link would now be very thin on the ground 30,000 years ago. They were distinctive with heavy brow bridges, and dentitian.
    But our present genus, Homo sapien sapien, has molars that were used to ground cereals or other hard stuff. But Neanderthals did have bigger brains, (on average) and this is thought to relate to their diet of mainly meat. There was one skeleton found of a girl in Spain, that showed she maintained some Neanderthal genes as well as modern humans. 29,000 years ago.
    Neanderthals were not stupid, lumbering, hairy creatures that are often stereotype, they were very physically strong, intelligent and great hunters. But maybe they just died out. Or as some have suggested they moved from Southern Europe up North. This has been questioned as further North would have been very glacial. They may have died out because the new modern genus of Homo just competed with better tools the prey they were before hunting. If one lived today, shaved him, and put him in a suit or modern clothes, he might pass as boxer or wrestler.
    Our physical appearance is modified to suit the environment we live in. It only takes 5,000 years to adapt physically too.

  151. bushbunny says:

    Oh Perry, the way they found this out was they examined ancient pooh. At least they didn’t need a freezer to keep their food fresh. LOL.

  152. Eric Gisin says:

    The crop yields increased with CO2, as starch is produced from H20 and CO2. The other nutrients stayed the same, so their proportion decreased. The solution is simple, reduce yield by breeding backwards, or increase fertilizers.

  153. RACookPE1978 says:

    bushbunny says:
    May 8, 2014 at 8:10 pm (replying to)

    Perry, I hold a degree in palaeoanthropology, and it is very interesting. Neanderthals never existed in Africa, they evolved to live in a cold climate (like Inuits) …
    Most of the Neanderthal genus died out eventually, around 39,000 years ago, maybe some interbred with modern humans that came from Africa, but the genetic link would now be very thin on the ground 30,000 years ago. They were distinctive with heavy brow bridges, and dentitian.

    OK, so the Neanderthals passed on about 39,000 years ago.

    Could they ‘survive” in our cultural memories as the trolls, giants, ogres, and cyclops of many thousands of legends?

    After all, it is clear that “dragons” look remarkably like the dinosaur fossils people have found worldwide …

  154. Dudley Horscroft says:

    Jimbo says: May 7, 2014 at 3:46 pm
    @Abstract
    Will photosynthesis of maize (Zea mays) in the US Corn Belt increase in future [CO2] rich atmospheres? An analysis of diurnal courses of CO2 uptake under free-air concentration enrichment (FACE)
    …….FACE technology allows experimental treatments to be imposed upon a complete soil–plant–atmosphere continuum with none of the effects of experimental enclosures on plant microclimate. Crop performance was compared at ambient [CO2] (354 μ mol mol−1) and the elevated [CO2] (549 μmol mol−1) predicted for 2050.@

    I spotted this odd figure – the ambient CO2 level is 354 μ mol mol−1. Unless I am very much mistaken (always possible) that means 354 ppm. Yet this is in the US Corn Belt, where the fields are surrounded by highways with thousands of cars belching out CO2. And in Hawaii, where the accepted measuring centre is, and is surrounded by thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean, with only one large town nearby (Honolulu) the level is supposedly about 398 ppm.

    Something is fishy here.

    BTW, I looked at the Ohio State Food Guidelines for Zinc. Says you get the best input for zonc from eating meats, dairy, eggs etc. Reminds me of that good TV advert @Feed the man meat@.

  155. bushbunny says:

    Perry interesting comments, but the ogres, giants, trolls etc., were created in human minds, in relatively modern times, i.e., legends. No doubt deformed people were isolated. But it is there behavior that gave them a bad name. They were certainly members from the Homo sapien genus. Whether they could interbreed with modern humans is very doubtful I think, unless found as children? Not because they were different physically, but – most probably did not belong to a clan. And behavior, there is no evidence that modern sapiens fought with them. Physically I would think modern humans might be at a disadvantage. Life was hard, and no doubt infant mortality high. I think they bred out. It happens.

  156. bushbunny says:

    They didn’t live long, Perry. And they had to group to trap and kill megafauna. They were also prey to some predatory animals. Cave bears particularly, and sabre toothed tigers in some places. But they survived for thousands of years, longer than modern humans have been around, that is an achievement in itself.

  157. Dudley Horscroft says:

    David A says: @What was learned The extra 250 ppm of atmospheric CO2 decreased the leaf, stem and root concentrations of …@

    @Who eats the leaves, stems and roots of wheat? Apart from ‘global warming’ enthralled juice bar freaks that is?@

    Cows do. And then we eat the cows. So we do.

    Remember Ambrose Bierce’s definition of edible (The Devil’s Dictionary):

    Edible, adj. Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm.

  158. bushbunny says:

    No dragons appear in stone age art in Europe. But the dragon was a marshal symbol in British history. Around 5th – 6th century AD. And in legends.

  159. Skeptick says:

    did u guys see this, an unfunded study using way more data says the quality does drop:
    http://is.gd/HOkP5a

  160. Gentle Tramp says:

    Given this new “study” in NATURE and that the atmospheric CO2 concentration in the Cretaceous Age was 4 times higher than today, finally we can understand at last, why the Dinosaurs were such weeny wimps and became extinct at the end of this era: The poor beasts suffered under severe zinc and iron shortage and CO2 induced malnutrition… ;-)

    I suggest this “ingenious” new and ground-breaking Dinosaur-Extinction theory by our Climate Alarmist Friends could be a nice subject for a funny cartoon by Josh… :-)

  161. JJ says:

    Phil. says:

    The only problem with that is that to get the same caloric value from the meat you’d have to grow about 10X more crops.

    I didn’t say convert the entire diet of the 2 Billion people to meat. I said feed the increased yield – the extra crops that magical CO2 provides – to animals for meat. Corn, for example, makes great food for meat animals, either as a substantial component of their diet or as a supplement to the grass and other inedible (to us) things they eat.

    Do that, and the underfed 2 Billion people – those poor souls that the warmists do not care about apart from their utility in adding emotional impact to false arguments – get the same calories from plants as before, plus some additional calories, protein, zinc, iron, and wholesome good taste from meat.

    JJ

  162. Latitude says:

    Skeptick says:
    May 8, 2014 at 11:43 pm
    did u guys see this, an unfunded study using way more data says the quality does drop:
    ===
    by 8%….but they didn’t qualify that against how many fewer people will starve to death

    We have been breeding these crop plants for hundreds of years to perform better at lower levels of CO2….it’s just common sense that they would grow faster when CO2 levels rise

    But faster growth and more hydration also means a lower concentration of minerals, etc
    …and that’s what they are talking about

    “”This study shows that eCO2 reduces the overall mineral concentrations””

  163. mebbe says:

    bushbunny, do all paleo-anthropologists refer to homo sapiens sapiens as homo sapien sapien?

    If you took the ‘s’ off ‘Inuits’ and stuck it on sapien you’d have a wise man and an Arctic people!

  164. RobRoy says:

    Recipe for our dismal future:
    Cook one cup Fe, Zn deficient rice in a cast iron pot. Serve in a galvanized bowl.
    (Future not really so dismal as some would have us believe.)

  165. bushbunny says:

    There is medical evidence that certain regions have low iodine, and suffer from swollen thyroids.
    Goitres. Mercury is a worry too, if you eat a lot of certain fish species. But it was amazing one day when brown rice was the in thing, a friend served it to some Japanese friends, and they replied only peasants eat brown rice, we don’t. So it is the soils that are deficient in certain minerals, but CO2 is not the problem. If they repeat sowings of the same crop every year, without providing suitable organic minerals or fertilizers, the soil depletes. And disease can be transfered to the new crop. Unfortunate subsistence farmers have not the choice. And modern cropping avoids mono cropping. Certain plants leach certain minerals more than others. And they should rotate crops. Wheat and tobacco, leach soils badly. And if one persists in growing them year and year out, obviously their nutritional value, will deplete too.

  166. Dudley Horscroft says:

    JJ says: May 9, 2014 at 5:54 am
    “Phil. says:
    The only problem with that is that to get the same caloric value from the meat you’d have to grow about 10X more crops.”

    “Caloric value” is piffle. You don’t need to eat carbohydrates – you need proteins and fats. Carbohydrates are only useful for the vitamins they contain not readily available in sufficient quantities in meat.

    I like this quotation:

    “What the diet of the Far North illustrates, says Harold Draper, a biochemist and expert in Eskimo nutrition, is that there are no essential foods—only essential nutrients. And humans can get those nutrients from diverse and eye-opening sources.”

    It comes from:

    http://discovermagazine.com/2004/oct/inuit-paradox – a well recommended (by me) article. Though I note, buried on page four, this:

    “The very well-being of the northern food chain is coming under threat from global warming, land development, and industrial pollutants in the marine environment. “I’m a pragmatist,” says Cochran, whose organization is involved in pollution monitoring and disseminating food-safety information to native villages. “Global warming we don’t have control over. But we can, for example, do cleanups of military sites in Alaska or of communication cables leaching lead into fish-spawning areas.”

    Can’t get away from that accursed “Global Warming”, can we.

  167. Dudley Horscroft said @ May 10, 2014 at 1:32 am

    “Caloric value” is piffle.

    Not in the eighteenth century it wasn’t ;-)

  168. ristoi says:

    A nice blog but in this time not much critique.
    I write my own blog before notice this. About same study and with some critique.
    http://roskasaitti.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/koyhdyttaako-hiilidioksidi-ravintomme/
    There is short abstract in english in comment section and most of links are to english pages. I suppose all are not familiar with Finnish. Nor translator programs.

  169. richard says:

    For over a hundred million years , the biggest creatures and plants on earth thrived when the co2 levels were 10-20 x that of today.

    When you are big as a house you need a lot of nutrition.

  170. bushbunny says:

    Meat protein does provide energy and muscle growth. But with most people it is slower to provide energy. Carbohydrates are important to us too being quicker to be converted into blood glucose. Feed the man meat, yes my experience in hospitality was that men liked larger meat quantities more than women, they have more muscle (well generally) Inuits and Neanderthals had metabolisms designed to eat mainly protein and fat.

  171. Brian H says:

    Dilution.

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