Now it's more CO2 that will threaten crops

Sometimes I wonder if science hasn’t been infected with some sort of mass delusion about CO2. Watch this amazing video on CO2 and plant growth from CO2Science.org, then read below the claims made in this UC Davis press release.

Rising CO2 levels threaten crops and food quality

Rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide interfere with plants’ ability to convert nitrate into protein and could threaten food quality, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Davis.

The scientists suggest that, as global climate change intensifies, it will be critical for farmers to carefully manage nitrogen fertilization in order to prevent losses in crop productivity and quality.

The study, which examined the impact of increased carbon dioxide levels on wheat and the mustard plant Arabidopsis, will be published in the May 14 issue of the journal Science.

“Our findings suggest that scientists cannot examine the response of crops to global climate change simply in terms of rising carbon dioxide levels or higher temperatures,” said lead author Arnold Bloom, a professor in UC Davis’ Department of Plant Sciences.

“Instead, we must consider shifts in plant nitrogen use that will alter food quality and even pest control, as lower protein levels in plants will force both people and pests to consume more plant material to meet their nutritional requirements,” Bloom said.

Climate change, CO2 and agriculture

Historical records have documented that the concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere has increased by 39 percent since 1800. If current projections hold true, the concentration will increase by an additional 40 to 140 percent by the end of the century.

This trend is of concern to agriculture because elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have been shown to decrease the rates of photorespiration, the naturally occurring chemical process that combines oxygen with carbohydrates in plants.

At first, this reduction in photorespiration boosts photosynthesis, the complementary process by which plants grow by using sunlight to turn water and carbohydrates into chemical energy in the form of plant sugars. In time, however, the increase in the rate of photosynthesis tapers off as the plants adjust to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, and plant growth slows.

The nitrogen connection

Nitrogen is the mineral element that plants and other living organisms require in the greatest quantity to survive and grow. Plants obtain most of their nitrogen from the soil and, in the moderate climates of the United States, absorb most of it through their roots in the form of nitrate. In plant tissues, those compounds are assimilated into organic nitrogen compounds, which have a major influence on the plant’s growth and productivity.

Earlier research has shown that when atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increase by 50 percent, the nitrogen status of plants declines significantly.

More specifically, findings from previous research by Bloom and colleagues suggested that elevated levels of carbon dioxide decreased photorespiration and inhibited nitrate assimilation in plant shoots.

New UC Davis study

In their most recent study, Bloom’s team examined the influence of elevated carbon dioxide levels and, in some cases, low atmospheric oxygen concentrations, on nitrate assimilation in wheat and Arabidopsis plants using five different methods.

Data from all five methods confirm that elevated levels of carbon dioxide inhibit nitrate assimilation in wheat and Arabidopsis plants. The researchers note that this effect could explain why earlier studies by other researchers have documented a 7.4-percent to 11-percent decrease in wheat grain protein and a 20-percent decrease in total Arabidopsis protein under elevated carbon dioxide levels.

“This indicates that as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations rise and nitrate assimilation in plant tissues diminishes, crops will become depleted in organic nitrogen compounds, including protein, and food quality will suffer,” Bloom said. “Increasing nitrogen fertilization might compensate for slower nitrate assimilation rates, but this might not be economically or environmentally feasible.”

He noted that farmers might be able to increase their use of nitrogen-rich ammonium fertilizers to ease the bottleneck of nitrate assimilation in crops but would have to carefully manage fertilizer applications to avoid toxic accumulations of ammonium in the plants.

To develop solutions for dealing with the impact of major increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels on crops, further research is needed on how plants assimilate nitrate and ammonium, Bloom said.

Working with Bloom on this study were Martin Burger of UC Davis’ Department of Land, Air and Water Resource; Jose Salvador Rubio Asensio of UC Davis’ Department of Plant Sciences; and Asaph B. Cousins, currently of the School of Biological Sciences at Washington State University.

Funding for this study was provided by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Spain’s Agencia Regional de Ciencia y Tecnologia.

About UC Davis

For more than 100 years, UC Davis has engaged in teaching, research and public service that matter to California and transform the world. Located close to the state capital, UC Davis has 32,000 students, an annual research budget that exceeds $600 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and more than 100 undergraduate majors in four colleges — Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science. It also houses six professional schools — Education, Law, Management, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.

Media contact(s):

  • Arnold Bloom, Plant Sciences, (530) 752-1743, ajbloom@ucdavis.edu (He is away from campus until Wednesday but can be reached by e-mail.)
  • Pat Bailey, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-9843, pjbailey@ucdavis.edu
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205 thoughts on “Now it's more CO2 that will threaten crops

  1. How does this fit with the tomato growers in the Netherlands who put added CO2, up to 1500ppm I have read, into the greenhouses and get better yields?

  2. plants grow by using sunlight to turn water and carbohydrates into chemical energy in the form of plant sugars
    Really? Where do they get the carbohydrates from?

  3. It’s not that carbon dioxide is harmful to the plants but more that carbon dialectics are harmful.

  4. It is unfortunate that there are so few numbers in this press release and those that do exist, provide no real data. The authors would like us to believe that protein content can be reduced in certain plants by “doubling CO2”. From what baseline concentration isn’t stated. This report is an example of headline-seeking behavior, not provision of information or better yet, data. Such a press release should be ignored.

  5. “Historical records have documented that the concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere has increased by 39 percent since 1800.”
    “If current projections hold true, the concentration will increase by an additional 40 to 140 percent by the end of the century”
    So let’s get this straight, if CO2 levels were the norm in 1800, the rising of CO2 levels to todays +40% CO2 should already be interfering with plants’ ability to convert nitrate into protein and food quality should already be threatened. Is that the case?
    This is just more delusional science.

  6. Obviously they don’t read the multitude of controlled CO2 trials results from papers reviewed in CO2Science on a regular basis. They would have saved a lot of money, but oh wait! the conclusions are different!

  7. In 1978, a CO2 blowout happened during oil exploration in Naihai County, Guangdong, China. Around the well, CO2 concentration was 3 times higher than in normal air. Both rice and wheat production increased for 3 years around the well. It was reported in newspaper of that time and you can even find here if you can read chinese:
    http://rywen.net/view/186846

  8. “Historical records have documented that the concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere has increased by 39 percent since 1800”
    So where’s the nitrogen deficiency right now?
    “Earlier research has shown that when atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increase by 50 percent, the nitrogen status of plants declines significantly.”
    50 percent more than what?
    “Data from all five methods confirm that elevated levels of carbon dioxide inhibit nitrate assimilation in wheat and Arabidopsis plants”
    How much is an “elevated level”?
    I hope the article isn’t as vague as the press release.

  9. oldseadog says: (May 14, 2010 at 12:20 am) How does this fit with the tomato growers in the Netherlands who put added CO2, up to 1500ppm I have read, into the greenhouses and get better yields?
    It probably fits well, because the research here does not seem to dispute “bigger” but does question “better”. We need to know the comparative nutritional values between the with and the without tomatoes before making a judgement on this basis. oldseadog.

  10. oldseadog
    May 14, 2010 at 12:20 am
    Presumably they didn’t check tomatoes, and apparently anything other than wheat and mustard? I guess the first is a logical choice, but which breed(s)?

  11. OK,
    I would very much like to see responses to this post.
    UCD is next door and I have a number of direct contacts. However, I would rather engage on the science about this CO2 / Nitrogen connection.
    Thoughts?

  12. I have visited greenhouses on Jersey growing enormous heavely laden tomato plants. And strawberry plants banked up, and filling the greenhouses with large fruit. Achieved by adding CO2. This was many years ago, when the concerns were all about feeding the world, and prospects of mass starvation. It left me with much hope for the future. The people of the world could be saved, I thought by greenhouses and CO2.
    ….But then, what would I know?

  13. If increased CO2 increases plant growth and increases yield (but soil nitrogen is not changed) then one would expect a higher yield with lower protein.
    Of course they will have this covered. Wont they?

  14. I found it!
    “Further research is needed..”
    When nothing else makes sense, look for the pitch for more funding.

  15. No details of how the experiments were performed in this press release. If they used single plants growing in a closed chamber then the results are meaningless. I recall seeing a reference in the past to dramatic lowering of CO2 concentrations in the center of a cornfield and googling this topic resulted in the following interesting reference:
    http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1187&context=agronomyfacpub
    which, on page 18 of the PDF (page 132 of the original document) has a graph of measured CO2 2 m above a cornfield and one sees drops of 30 ppm in CO2 concentration in the 3 minute record that is shown. It would be very interesting to see what happened when one gets a day with very little wind. This CO2 lowering effect of plant communities is probably why we see such dramatic increases in plant growth and crop yields with atmospheric CO2 increases. In plant communities, especially ones made up of rapid growing plants, CO2 concentration is a rate limiting step for growth. Incidentally, the reference above is from 1969 and one would think that plant physiologists would be aware of this literature.

  16. This, in posh parlance, is what we in the UK call purloining the micturation. Worse, they are doing it at our expense.
    Sorry to repeat myself but these people call themselves SCIENTISTS?

  17. “To develop solutions for dealing with the impact of major increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels on crops, further research is needed on how plants assimilate nitrate and ammonium, Bloom said.”
    …Got that?
    “Further research is needed”.
    Translation:
    Oh! My God, the “Global Warming” money is running out!!! Quick! Put out another hysterical press release about increasing threats of mass destruction caused by the increase in man-made CO2 emissions!
    Never mind the facts, just get it out there now!!!

  18. I was going to respond in the vulgar form. However, being an Englishman & Brit, & a reasonable gentleman, I merely suggest that this paper sounds to me like a complete load of small round things usually found in mens trousers! (Fellow Brits know the term well!) Was there any scientific study actually done at all other than blowing bubbles in their beer to remove the CO2? Straws & clutching spring to mind.
    A bit like the old joke about the three uni profs & the monkey! I won’t go any further – perhaps one day!

  19. And another thing, the wheat we grow today bears little resemblance to the wheat we grew a century ago.
    Today’s plants are much shorter with a bigger ear of seed, resulting in much higher yields. In other words, evolution and genetics will solve the problem – if indeed there is a problem.

  20. oldseadog says:
    May 14, 2010 at 12:20 am
    ‘How does this fit with the tomato growers in the Netherlands who put added CO2, up to 1500ppm I have read, into the greenhouses and get better yields?’
    But, it’s a lower quality yield. LOL

  21. I’d sure like to see someone reproduce this work. They’ve released their complete methods and data?

  22. Love the music.
    This is absurd, the kind of specious argument you get when someone is grasping at straws, like when the Luddites argue against golden rice because “Well, it won’t save All the children of Asia from blindness,” or “it doesn’t provide All the betacarotene growing children need in their diets.”
    With any crop, whichever input (sunlight, water, soil elements, CO2) is in shortest supply limits the growth of the plants. By curing the shortage of trace gas CO2, that moves the next least abundant input, apparently nitrogen compounds, up to number one. That’s a problem akin to having more money than you need, one you can live with.
    Here’s my oft posted take on CO2’s effect on Illinois corn production.
    http://i29.tinypic.com/120ilbc.jpg

  23. I dont quite understand the panic here.
    OK, if plants grow faster, they will reduce the food content per kilo of plant. That sounds reasonable, if they are limited by the amount of nitrogen (which only applies in the wild – farmers can simply add more fertiliser, surely? As in a greenhouse…)
    However it seems to me that the amount of food produced doesnt go down, indeed it may rise, as less food per kilo of plant is offset by more kilos of plant grown.
    So the only real effect is that you may have to eat more bulk for the same calories, which if anything will help the western obesity problem….
    Or am I being too logical for the religious theorists??

  24. The money shot- ‘further research is needed’. If further research is needed, then shut your piehole until your research is finished.

  25. You know climate crazines isn’t a modern thing. I was looking through google books at some older texts and came across a Popular Mechanics from 1950. It’s reporting warmer winters. It quotes Dr Clarence A Mills who speculates that if the warming trend continues “may result in smaller adults in the US …….. There may also be a retardation of mental keenness and the rate of development”
    As a non-US person I wouldn’t dare comment!
    http://books.google.com.au/books?id=6NkDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA126&dq=spitzbergen&lr=&as_drrb_is=b&as_minm_is=0&as_miny_is=1850&as_maxm_is=0&as_maxy_is=1950&num=100&as_brr=1&cd=4#v=onepage&q=spitzbergen&f=false

  26. You can’t really draw a conclusion from a press release. I’ve been studying studies lately (in another field) and I’ve been stunned at how universally study data does not support summaries and press releases. “Popular Science” (as in what’s reported to the world) is more mythology than I’d wanted to believe.
    I’d want to know if they starved the plants for nitrogen (relatively speaking), and what the change in the rate of plant growth was – i.e. did CO2 inhibit absorption of nitrogen or did growth outstrip the availability of nitrogen?
    Also, if increased CO2 causes some secondary slowing of growth in plants, why have other long-term studies caused growers to create special high-CO2 environments for more expensive and/or smaller volume crops? Are they just not very bright, or is the science just not as “settled” as the press release makes it sound?
    Hopefully someone with better access to the data will get some answers from the authors, and/or they will have the time to answer here. If I can gather enough actual referenced data I’ll try to get through myself, but here I am at 2am checking the news before I sleep…

  27. It’s the result of post-modern science. Black is the new white.
    Prof Bloom – nominative determinism in action!

  28. I am a layman, an old retired grain farmer but I have a standing invitation to short monthly internal seminars held in our large, for Australia,[ 200 Ag researchers and field support staff ] locally based Crop Research Institute.
    This very subject came up yesterday in a discussion around another seminar subject.
    The researchers here are conducting an international collaborative research project which includes China and other countries, all of which they exchange researchers with on a regular basis.
    The research project which involves a number of international Agriculture Research organisations on a number of international sites and a number of different broad acre field crops and crop types, drifts controlled and high level concentrations of CO2 , I think of around 1000 ppm CO2 is the aimed for concentration , over small sections of open field crops to ascertain just what effect increased CO2 levels have on growth, quality and other plant characteristics under actual field simulated conditions and over the life of the crop.
    One of the conclusions from the experiment so far and as expected, is that photo synthesis and plant bio-mass and yield do indeed increase substantially with the extra CO2 for exactly the same water availability and plant nutrient availability as the non CO2 enhanced adjoining crop.
    However yesterday I heard from one of the researchers in the discussion after the seminar and for the first time that the grain and plant protein quality may be reduced with increasing CO2 levels due to changes in the plant biological processes under higher CO2 levels.
    There were some possible biologically based reasons given for this effect but I didn’t note them so!
    I don’t know any further details and my impression was that it was too early days yet to be drawing any firm and definite conclusions about this effect.
    And these guys and gals don’t have any contacts that I know of with UC Davis.
    I won’t vouch for the total accuracy of my recollections but the quality question under increased levels of CO2 just came out of the blue and was completely unknown to myself prior to the discussion after the seminar presentation and with the contacts I have in there, I probably would have heard of this previously if the information was around.
    [ I am a trustee on behalf of the State’s grain farmers for the land, bought by the farmers some 45 years ago for this now major Ag research institute to be established on ]

  29. Plants get such bad quality, that dinosaurs only could grow to 30 meters. Bad indeed…

  30. Its not just the Netherlands. Its standard practice for greenhouses to pump in CO2 to increase yield. I’ve also seen mention of open field use of CO2 on crops which was also successful.
    I heard an item on the radio this morning about the lizzards and laughed out loud. Talk about desperation. Lizzards are cold blooded and need heat. They’re much more likely to die in cold weather.
    Honestly, they must think everyone is stupid. Even the most disinterested, unengaged person’s antennae must be rising at the ridiculous nonsense they’re coming up with and expecting us to swallow.

  31. Ah an update of the old (and discredited) “progressive nitrogen limitation” hypothesis. This suggested that “limitations in the supply of nitrogen needed to support increased plant growth should over time reduce or eliminate any effect of atmospheric CO2 concentration on net primary productivity.”
    Now that hypothesis has been debunked they seamlessly move on to “food quality” fears. Small reductions in %nitrogen under elevated CO2 have been noted for years. The key problem with this paper is that it reports results on the non-crop plant (Arabidopsis) and wheat- the latter is known to exhibit this %nitrogen reduction effect.
    Thus, major crop species studied by Jablonski, L.M., Wang, X. and Curtis, P.S. 2002. Plant reproduction under elevated CO2 conditions: a meta-analysis of reports on 79 crop and wild species. New Phytologist 156: 9-26. showed that rice, soybean, barley, wheat and maize) were considerably more productive when exposed to elevated concentrations of atmospheric CO2, while only two of them (barley and wheat) exhibited (small) decreases in seed nitrogen content under such conditions.
    To put these % seed Nitrogen reductions in perspective- according to the most recent publication of The National Academies Press – Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrates, Fiber, Fat, Protein and Amino Acids (2002) – the Recommended Dietary Allowance for both men and women is 0.80 g of protein per kg of body weight, which for the average (75 kg) man amounts to 60 g protein per day. Hence, for the average Westerner, comsuming a typical Western diet, instead of having 2.72 times as much protein as they require each day, they would have only 2.67 times as much protein.
    Another Alarmist red herring.

  32. > researchers have documented a 7.4-percent to 11-percent decrease in wheat grain protein.
    Surely the increase in mass at harvest due to CO2 fertilisation would more than compensate for any slight reduction in protein per Kg?
    > the increase in the rate of photosynthesis tapers off as the
    > plants adjust to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide,
    > and plant growth slows.
    What timescales are required for this ‘tapering off’? Years or months? It’s the effect on fast growing annual crops that matter – and according to all the research I’ve read, they all benefit from increased CO2.

  33. In their most recent study, Bloom’s team examined the influence of elevated carbon dioxide levels and, in some cases, low atmospheric oxygen concentrations, on nitrate assimilation in wheat and Arabidopsis plants using five different methods.
    Emphasis mine.
    Just how *low* were those atmospheric oxygen concentrations — equivalent to, say, 18,000 feet?
    And what were those five different methods? Withholding water, application of herbicide, exposing plant roots to actinic light, girdling the stalks, and over-watering?
    A lot of alarmism with not a lot of information to back it up. Kinda typical of a press release…

  34. “Sometimes I wonder if science hasn’t been infected with some sort of mass delusion about CO2…”
    Do not confuse “Science” with “scientists”:
    Science is not what scientists do; scientists are those who do Science.
    NOT the other way round.

  35. So now I know why gardeners are asked to pump co2 into their greenhouses at 1,000pmm :o)
    This is what happens when so much money goes into one scientific field, you get bare faced lies. Now look at some other examples of Co2 and increased plant growth.
    C02 And Increased Plant Growth
    http://aspenface.mtu.edu/
    http://www.news.wisc.edu/17436
    http://news.duke.edu/2009/08/carbonseed.html
    http://www.ias.sdsmt.edu/STAFF/INDOFLUX/Presentations/14.07.06/session1/myneni-talk.pdf

  36. I have heard about the whole ‘CO2 makes plants grow faster but causes them to contain less protein’ before. A newspaper in New Zealand reported a new Australian study that found climate change could threaten the koala (which exclusively eats eucalyptus leaves) because there wouldn’t be enough time in the day for them to eat all the leaves they needed for protein. Koalas are quite slow animals and sleep a lot, kinda like sloths. I have no idea if there is any truth to this reduced protein theory – any botanist readers?

  37. @oldseadog says:
    May 14, 2010 at 12:20 am
    How does this fit with the tomato growers in the Netherlands
    ———————————————————————–
    It’s a perfect match – inhailing the plant makes the grower higher – exhailing the Co2 makes the plant grow higher

  38. Tomatogrowers in England pipe Co2 into huge glasshouses and achieve up to 40%
    increases in yields, lets hear it forCo2 providing more food for expanding world populations!!

  39. “Earlier research has shown that when atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increase by 50 percent, the nitrogen status of plants declines significantly.”
    Yeah? So? Last time I looked, the anthropogenic proportion of Co2 was around 3%. Hardly threatening to increase the entire mass of Co2 by 50%.
    Besides which – I’m tired of all these scare stories. When you’ve seen too many horror films, you kind of become immune to them, and even start to see the fake blood and Gore as just that: fake.

  40. “The researchers note that this effect could explain why earlier studies by other researchers have documented a 7.4-percent to 11-percent decrease in wheat grain protein and a 20-percent decrease in total Arabidopsis protein under elevated carbon dioxide levels.”
    Why don’t they test all cereal crops? Maybe they did but looked for an example of diminished protien and published accordingly! You really do have to wonder about these people, it’s all bad i.e. a large increase in wheat production is nothing compared to a relatively small decrease in protein in wheat. Hey, eat nuts, beef, fish, eggs etc.
    What alarmist claptrap!!

  41. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2008/jan/28/supermarketgoesgreenwithto
    Tomato plants kept in greenhouses at farms in Chichester and Stansted are fed carbon dioxide, which, combined with photosynthesis, produces better tasting tomatoes. In the process of creating carbon dioxide, heat is generated, heating the greenhouses and turning a turbine that then produces electricity which feeds into the national grid.
    Green energy says that this combined heat and power (CHP) process benefits everyone involved and generates no waste.
    Green energy UK founder and chief executive, Doug Stewart, said:
    Electricity from growing tomatoes is extremely positive because it has multiple benefits and no waste – all the heat is used for warming the greenhouses, the CO2 is ‘fed’ to the plants and the electricity goes to consumers and businesses who want green power.

  42. this sort of thing fits in well with the hartwell paper that anthony linked to yesterday (thanks anthony, fascinating paper). its recommended reading.

  43. Practically every commercial greenhouse jacks their CO2 levels to between 1,000 and 2,000 ppm–that’s a far better level than ambient and it is cost effective to do so. This article isn’t a Friday spoof, is it? OK, just kidding.
    But the real gist of the article is seen in the statement “… further research is needed on how plants assimilate nitrate and ammonium, Bloom said.”
    They should have said: “We’ve invented a problem; now, where’s the grant money to chase it?” I believe they’ve done the same thing with Global Wa… I mean, Climate Change. Sheesh.

  44. Well, i would speculate that their results were due to the Focus on only two plants. Also, the article doesn’t mention what “Long” means…

  45. Note that the human contribution to CO2 is agreed to be 3% of the total, cows producing more & termites much more. So the negative feedback of plants absorbing more is bound to prevent more than about a 10% increase in CO2 (unless the rise is natural rather than manmade).

  46. “If current projections hold true” is I think the key phrase here. It would be interesting to see the base projections and their rationale for using them.
    A limited range of plants seem to have been examined.

  47. In other words, putting plants in a jar and experimenting until the appropriate results were achieved.
    I have trees that will not be exchanging gases this year as they were tricked into a very early season of opening their leaves. 2 nights of frost have made them look like fall.
    Is CO2 more deadly to plant and animal life or cold? Hmmmm.

  48. It strikes me that even if the proportion of protein is reduced, the growth increase means there is more actual protein.
    Of course not all plants need more protein. Too much in wheat flour leads to a tough, chewy bread. High protein flours require a deft touch to knead the dough just enough, without causing the proteins to combine to form excess gluten.
    Too much in barley adds off flavors. The brewer boils the wort to cause the proteins to clump together so they will settle out. The ensuing rapid chilling ensures they do not return to solution.
    Do we really worry about how much protein is in our tomatoes?

  49. There were times with much higher CO2 concentration in the Earth history. I guess these were the moments when plant life went completely extinct.
    Or do we miss something?

  50. Nov. 2005

    “A regional climate change model (PRECIS) for China, developed by the UK’s Hadley Centre, was used to simulate China’s climate and to develop climate change scenarios for the country. Results from this project suggest that, depending on the level of future emissions, the average annual temperature increase in China by the end of the twenty-first century may be between 3 and 4 degrees C. Regional crop models were driven by PRECIS output to predict changes in yields of key Chinese food crops: rice, maize and wheat. Modelling suggests that climate change without carbon dioxide (CO2) fertilization could reduce the rice, maize and wheat yields by up to 37% in the next 20-80 years. ” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16433100

    Climate change without carbon dioxide!!!!

  51. “To develop solutions for dealing with the impact of major increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels on crops, further research is needed on how plants assimilate nitrate and ammonium, Bloom said.”
    In other words:
    “What we confidently stated in all previous paragraphs was essentially a lie and that we know absolutely nothing about plants and nitrates, but we have cushy and highly funded jobs under the Global Warming scare campaign, and we’d like to keep it that way.”

  52. It has been said: One difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has it’s limitations.

  53. So – this is science? “Let’s poison plants with CO2” and then discover that there is an optimal level of nitrogen that goes with? And – the corker – need to lecture FARMERS (these are professionals, you eggheads) that they need to pay attention to their plants’ nitrogen needs?
    Lord.

  54. This just goes to show that you can get any answer you want if someone is paying you to produce propaganda.
    Yes, it’s true that SOME cultivars lay down lower levels of protein under higher levels of CO2. Well, obviously, farmers wouldn’t grow those cultivars, then, would they? We’re not that stupid. We’ll be growing ones that thrive under the higher levels of CO2 and lay down more protein.
    Check out some posts I’ve done on this issue
    http://buythetruth.wordpress.com/2009/06/02/world-food-supplies-and-carbon-emissions/
    http://buythetruth.wordpress.com/2009/06/11/crops-and-130-years-of-climate-records/
    http://buythetruth.wordpress.com/2009/06/13/photosynthesis-and-co2-enrichment/
    http://buythetruth.wordpress.com/2009/07/11/growth-of-crops-weeds-co2-and-lies/
    http://buythetruth.wordpress.com/2009/08/15/co2-enrichment-and-plant-nutrition/

  55. “[…] as lower protein levels in plants will force both people and pests to consume more plant material to meet their nutritional requirements,” Bloom said. […]”
    E-Z peazy! Eat more lizards to make up for the lost protien.

  56. We shouldn’t wonder why scientists are lsoing their credibility. We’ve seen too many huffed up claims in recent times. Some of these people will look like complete idiots soon (many actually are).

  57. This makes sense to me, a faster growing plant may have issues in the quality of nutrients it generates. Of course faster growing plants would also deplete soil nitrogen faster. The issue really is if the extra CO2 increases the growth rate of the plant faster then it decreases the protein levels. If you get 40% more grain and a 20% decrease in protein per grain you still come out ahead.

  58. “The researchers note that this effect could explain why earlier studies by other researchers have documented a 7.4-percent to 11-percent decrease in wheat grain protein and a 20-percent decrease in total Arabidopsis protein under elevated carbon dioxide levels.”
    Wikipedia gives 12.6% protein in wheat.
    When there is a 20% higher yield of wheat and a 9% decrease in wheat protein, in total the farmer harvests 9.5% more wheat protein.
    In short: as you elevate levels of CO2, total yield rises sharply, while protein yield rises slower. The percentage of protein has decreased a bit, the total yield of protein has risen.
    It does mean that if you depend on wheat for your protein, you will have to eat a few spoonfuls more.
    Details, details.

  59. Not having read the study, but only the post here I’d have to say it was probably flawed in several ways. Not all vegetation responds equally to CO2 concentrations or to the same levels of nutrients, water, soil ph, microbial activity, climate, timing, etc. Any farmer can tell you that. Obtaining maximum yield from a particular crop in a specific location is part art, part science and requires the right balance of numerous factors. Here’s some info from MSU ( a well respected “cow college” ) here in Mississippi.
    http://msucares.com/crops/fertilizer/index.html .
    http://msucares.com/crops/soils/nitrogen.html

  60. Old Seadog is correct – it is a standard practice to flood commercial greenhouses with CO2 to improve yields and plant quality. There are many references just two are:
    “CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2)
    IMPROVES PLANT GROWTH AND QUALITY
    Research has shown that in most cases rate of plant growth under otherwise identical growing conditions is directly related to carbon dioxide concentration.
    The amount of carbon dioxide a plant requires to grow may vary from plant to plant, but tests show that most plants will stop growing when the CO2 level decreases below 150 ppm. Even at 220 ppm, a slow-down in plant growth is significantly noticeable.
    Colorado State University conducted tests with carnations and other flowers in controlled CO2 atmospheres ranging from 200 to 550 ppm. The higher CO2 concentrations significantly increased the rate of formation of dry plant matter, total flower yield and market value.”

    http://www.homeharvest.com/carbondioxideenrichment.htm
    2.4 CO2
    CO2 is the substrate of photosynthesis and enrichment of it in the greenhouse increases plant growth, fruit set, number of fruit and average fruit weight (Dorais et al., 2001). Even in poor light conditions, enrichment of CO2 during the reproductive phase induces earlier flowering and fruit set (Grouda, 2005). An increase in tomato yield of 21 % could be seen after 4 weeks with a CO2 concentration of 900 μmol mol-1, and 16 % after 20 weeks with a CO2 concentration of 450 μmol mol-1 compared to ambient levels. The improved growth rate is due to an increase of the net assimilation rate since plants can photosynthesise more at higher CO2 concentrations (Heuvelink & Dorais, 2005).

    http://ex-epsilon.slu.se:8080/archive/00002334/01/Examensarbete_final.pdf

  61. I guess the farmers are just sittin’ aroun’ on their butts waiting for them thar scientific types to tell ’em how to farm…

  62. oldseadog, the commercial tomato growers are interested in tonnage. Extra CO2 gives you that, but less nutritional value. The Davis study is only one of many reaching this conclusion, e.g. http://faculty.ucr.edu/~john/24%20Cons.Biol.pdf.
    Another concern is increased toxicity in important crops and animal feed, like cassava and clover (http://www.monash.edu.au/news/newsline/story/1497).
    There is some justification in adding a bit of CO2 in greenhouses because otherwise the level might be too low, but I’ll bet they overdo it (http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/00-077.htm).

  63. Isn’t the average greenhouse at about 1000 ppm CO2?
    There’s a LOT of articles oriented for those using greenhouses on CO2 use, and a typical recommendation is two or three times the ambient amount (i.e. 600-900 ppm) for optimal plant growth. Example: http://www.advancegreenhouses.com/use_of_co2_in_a_greenhouse.htm
    So, a 50% increase doesn’t seem worrisome, especially given how horticulturists have established norms way beyond that.
    What the article is doing is presenting as sensationalistic that under different diets, etc. living things behave differently. One could write an equally alarmist-sounding piece about the dangers of suntanning (how tans leads to changed production of vitamin D for a given amount of sunlinght), etc.
    Different is not necessarily bad — the article skirted this with implications (e.g less nitrogen to less protien) without quantifying how great the differences are (or if they’re even measurable).
    Its a typical leftist/liberal/enviro-wacko tactic — make insinuations that play on emotions, which once activated don’t look for objective facts…human nature being what it is, once people get emotionally excited about something the subsequent introduction of objective facts, including facts that defuse the causes for emotional alarm, are at best only marginally examined. Here’s a political example of that pervasive shortfall that seems to be hard-wired into basic human nature:
    http://www.salon.com/news/environment/mind_reader/2008/09/22/voter_choice/print.html
    Of course, just a little cognitive exertion will overcome that…but most people are simply too lazy to exert the mental effort.

  64. As CO2 levels rise, farmers may have to replenish more nutrients in the soil because of increased crop growth… sounds reasonable to me. This is really fertilizer management research that has been phrased to take advantage of popular research funding themes… in doing so, they have greatly confused their message.

  65. ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,nitrogen status of plants declines ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    We have good news and we have bad news. The crop yield is up 100% per acre. The protein yeild of the wheat per acre is up only 85%.
    Send us money.
    Also they did not confess that higher CO2 levels cause the plant to actually require less water for growth.

  66. Hey, I don’t know about you, but I’m an omnivore. Most of my protein comes meat and fish. Does this only affect vegans?

  67. Seconding Derek B. and others above–I have also seen reports of excessive CO2 leading to less nutritional value in crops, but I cannot remember exactly at what levels of CO2 this becomes a problem. I think it’s higher than we’ll get to in this century, though. And as others have pointed out, even if nutritional value goes up less than plant growth, you still come out ahead in the long run.

  68. The Koala thing…
    I remember that one now that you mention it.
    Re: the article – The lack of any quantifiable levels of CO2 raised my suspicion as well.
    Plus the mention of lowered oxygen lvevels without any statement as to their purpose, effect or quantity.
    I did find a similiar, earlier study by the same scientist online
    http://californiaagriculture.ucanr.org/landingpage.cfm?article=ca.v063n02p67&fulltext=yes
    In this article it appears most of the studies were conducted at 700ppm. Although the graph for measuring plant mass was done at 567ppm.
    It does mention at one point that the Plant Mass vs. Protein could cancel each other out.
    It makes me wonder if the huge increase in stem length and mass in the CO2 science video is the plants way of compensating by trying to get more Nitrogen from the soil.
    From what I can see in the old article, the experiments were done in a lab environment, so probably had limited soil depth. Or perhaps they were done in a hydrponic setting

  69. Anyone who uses wheat or mustard as a significant source of PROTEIN in their diets has major problems anyway….

  70. Greenhouses add CO2 to increase plant vitality & growth (to about 1000+ppm).
    While UC Davis presents some seemingly/potentially alarming effects (which may not be for a variety of reasons) also bear in mind how CO2 and fertilizers & cross-pollination breeding has been conducted to impressive success in some areas.
    Such as marihuana production — something achieved by a number of Canadian pot growers is a “highly enriched” potent form(s) of pot with THC (the active ingredient for getting “high”) at something like double or more the levels that occured in the late 1970s.
    In other words, where there’s a market enterprising people will find a way to generate solutions to a problem or other shortfall.
    Which is another identifying trait associated with the Leftist/liberal/enviro-whacko mentality — namely that the status quo is optimal and if it changes for any reason we are helpless to respond. Which history shows is completely untrue as so many of us are inspired to find solutions, etc. to any challenge (though, to concede a point, to a point, THEY may be helpless).
    Given that the demand (and need) for food is unlikely to abate in the foreseeable future, I’m confident that IF the UC Davis findings are correct (that higher CO2 leads to less nutritious plants that lead to less nutritious food products, and that effect is not offset by higher volumes of plants, etc.) people will find some way of breeding plants that trive as desired in the conditions that exist.
    After all, if a bunch of enterprising pot-heads can do it why can’t we?

  71. Notice that the release does not actually describe what was done or how.
    No mention of CO2 levels used in the experiment, no discussion of other growing variables applied.

  72. Of course, they are ignoring the fact that the supposedly low CO2 before the latter half of the 20th century is a lie and that CO2 has peaked higher than now three times in the previous 150 years, as recently as the 1940s at 440-550 ppm, and temperatures dropped while CO2 was high. SOo, that’s wrong.
    Then, we have the fact that CO2 partitions into sea water 50 to 1 versus air and we would have to put 50 times more CO2 in the air to double CO2 and there is simply not enough available carbon to do this. We might be able to produce a 20%, if we tried.
    If CO2 was to rise as far as protected, it would not be us causing it – it would have to be natural as we are impotent to make such changes happen.
    As CO2 concentrations are largely dependent on ocean temperature and the huge CO2 sink of the oceans is the major source of additional CO2 with warming, it is hubris to then assume that we have any control over CO2 concentrations.
    Of course, these statements sound wrong, if you accept another lie from the IPCC that CO2 has a 200 year half-life in the atmosphere. The real number is closer to 5.4 years, indicating a relatively high rate of turnover and a very dynamic system.
    From a biochemist point of view, the protein content of some plant tissues might indeed decrease as the added CO2 may make the plants’ use of resources better and they can grow faster with less investment in protein. This does not mean unhealthy plants, just plants doing their thing more efficiently. So, eat an extra bite of veggies and we’re done.
    Remember, the alarmist/bedwetters are grabbing at any and everything to fear-monger the public.

  73. Oh, that nasty, nasty see-oh-too. Up to its old tricks of making plants grow faster and bigger, lowering its demand for water, and oh, yeah, maybe, just maybe, winding up with a somewhat lower percentage of protein, if you don’t increase the nitrogen.
    Poor C02. This campaign against a life-giving gas amounts to a modern-day version of the Salem witch trials, spurred by ignorance and hysteria, and will be recognized as such in the future as our offspring and theirs struggle against the cold.

  74. Real worry is that with increase of CO2 TRex will return and eat us all. I went to the Dino exhibits and I saw with my own eyes the plants at the time of TRex and we don’t want that to happen ever again.

  75. This is elementary. Teenager sprouts like a weed. Can’t get enough to eat. Growing too fast. Must. Have. More. Food.
    Greenhouse plants don’t just get added CO2. If that is all they got, they would grow, but would soon show the need for nitrogen. So, such plants also get more nitrogen, etc to keep pace with their fast and luscious growth under increased CO2 conditions. Every greenhouse grower I know must be still on the floor laughing at this wondiferous piece of research when they could have saved coinage by asking these growers the same question posed in the study.
    The fixing of nitrogen in the soil is every farmer’s constant front burner issue. Always has been. Always will be.
    File research under “duh”.

  76. As a long-time (30 years +) advanced hobbyist in applying indoor hydroponic techniques to raise all manner of plants, I, like most greenhouse growers, pay good money to raise CO2 levels in my growing spaces. I run mine at ~500 ppm most of the time, but with some of my floral crops, I have been known to push that to ~1000 ppm for the duration of the flowering cycle.
    It’s laughable that now some boffins have declared that a technique many of us have known and used for decades is evidence of the impending collapse of agriculture as we know it. Their study might have gone down a bit more easily had it had the phrase “Your mileage may vary” tagged on at the end (and in all honesty, not having access to the source study, I can’t swear that it doesn’t have the boffin-equivalent of YMMV).
    Given UCD’s proximity to the Green Triangle in Northern California, these boffins best watch out – the commercial pot growers there are likely to become, er, restive should they believe the increased crop yields which allow them to supply 65%- 80% of the pot in America are being threatened by some lab-coated twerps seeking greater largess at the teat of NIS/NSF funding.
    It’s a strange old life, it is.

  77. CO2 follows temperature, not the other way. Open a coke and you´ll see it: The more you have it in your warm hand the more gas will go out when you open it.
    CO2 is the transparent gas we all exhale (SOOT is black=Carbon dust) and plants breath with delight, to give us back what they exhale instead= Oxygen we breath in.
    CO2 is a TRACE GAS in the atmosphere, it is the 0.038% of it.
    There is no such a thing as “greenhouse effect”, “greenhouse gases are gases IN a greenhouse”, where heated gases are trapped and relatively isolated not to lose its heat so rapidly. If greenhouse effect were to be true, as Svante Arrhenius figured it out: CO2 “like the window panes in a greenhouse”, but…the trouble is that those panes would be only 3.8 panes out of 10000, there would be 9996.2 HOLES.
    See:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/28018819/Greenhouse-Niels-Bohr
    CO2 is a gas essential to life. All carbohydrates are made of it. The sugar you eat, the bread you have eaten in your breakfast this morning, even the jeans you wear (these are made from 100% cotton, a polymer of glucose, made of CO2…you didn´t know it, did you?)
    You and I, we are made of CARBON and WATER.
    CO2 is heavier than Air, so it can not go up, up and away to cover the earth.
    The atmosphere, the air can not hold heat, its volumetric heat capacity, per cubic cemtimeter is 0.00192 joules, while water is 4.186, i.e., 3227 times.
    This is the reason why people used hot water bottles to warm their feet and not hot air bottles.
    Global Warmers models (a la Hansen) expected a kind of heated CO2 piggy bank to form in the tropical atmosphere, it never happened simply because it can not.
    If global warmers were to succeed in achieving their SUPPOSED goal of lowering CO2 level to nothing, life would disappear from the face of the earth.
    So, if no CO2 NO YOU!

  78. Hemp (seed) is the answer.
    If the questions are-
    Do we need more food?
    Do we need more food at higher latitudes?
    Do we need more food at higher elevations?
    Do we need more food using less pesticides?
    Do we need more food using less herbicides?
    Do we need more food using less fungicides?
    Do we need more food using less fertilizers?
    Do we need more food using less water?
    Do we need up to 3 crops per year?
    Without the usual need to rotate?
    Blessing any other crop that is rotated with it?
    Do we need safer, stronger, more recyclable, less polluting fibres?
    Do we need 3 times the yield per acre?
    For clothing?

    For manufacturing?
    Do we need fuel?
    Hemp is the answer. CO2, at much greater concentrations than we currently suffer under, only helps this wonderful plant do all the marvellous things it does. Its closest relative is even better at all those things but we had best not go there 😉

    http://www.agwbs.com/agw-is-fake/too-many-people-not.html

  79. PeterB in Indianapolis says:
    May 14, 2010 at 5:27 am
    Anyone who uses wheat or mustard as a significant source of PROTEIN in their diets has major problems anyway….
    One should also beware of the mustard gas still around, apparently left over from WWI. It is apparently at least as toxic as C02 is ….

  80. (Almost) everyone seems to be missing the point here: The study implies more CO2 decreases the plants NUTRITIONAL CONTENT. CO2 does have a large effect on plant growth (there is no question), but apparently that comes at the cost of proteins that make the plants nutritious to us (and livestock).
    It’s like feeding a human lots of potato chips: there is a huge increase in size, but obvious negative side effects.

  81. This study has just been released so it is interesting a farmer in Australia has already hear about it. One of the biggest weapons in the skeptics arsenal for winning over the uneducated masses was the increase in crop yield due to CO2. This paper sure looks like it is designed to shoot holes in that argument and it has already been spread worldwide.
    “…findings from previous research by Bloom and colleagues suggested that elevated levels of carbon dioxide decreased photorespiration and inhibited nitrate assimilation in plant shoots.
    The word suggested is NOT the word proved
    ROM says:
    May 14, 2010 at 2:17 am
    “I am a layman, an old retired grain farmer but I have a standing invitation to short monthly internal seminars
    The research project which involves a number of international Agriculture Research organisations on a number of international sites and a number of different broad acre field crops and crop types, drifts controlled and high level concentrations of CO2 , I think of around 1000 ppm CO2 is the aimed for concentration , over small sections of open field crops to ascertain just what effect increased CO2 levels have on growth, quality and other plant characteristics under actual field simulated conditions and over the life of the crop.
    One of the conclusions from the experiment so far and as expected, is that “photo synthesis and plant bio-mass and yield do indeed increase substantially with the extra CO2 for exactly the same water availability and plant nutrient availability as the non CO2 enhanced adjoining crop….”

    _____________________________________________________________________
    I think ROM provided the key as did the actual press release.
    “….Rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide interfere with plants’ ability to convert nitrate into protein and could threaten food quality, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Davis.
    The scientists suggest that, as global climate change intensifies, it will be critical for farmers to carefully manage nitrogen fertilization in order to prevent losses in crop productivity and quality….”

    Here is another study on a grass used for hay “… The average content of crude protein, ADF and NDF in leaf depending on the vegetation space and the application of mineral fertilizers…” http://www.istocar.bg.ac.rs/radovi8/2/79.%20engl.%20R.%20Stanisavljevic%20SR.pdf
    Note the “depending on the vegetation space” vegetation space translates into the amount of CO2, sunlight and everything else the plant has access to. If the plant is growing a lot faster due to CO2 what does that do to its access to the required sunlight and nutrients? Have they actually identified the mechanism that limits the nitrogen up take? Remember those roots have increased in length and mass so are we looking at competition at the root level? Have the roots grown down beyond where the nutrients are? Is that what interfering “with plants’ ability to convert nitrate into protein” actually means?
    Also note the protein content in the grass is dependent on “the application of mineral fertilizers” so fertilizer application has ALWAYS been a limiting factor in commercially grown crops, nothing new there.
    The word “suggests” keeps me thinking of the Fleischmann & Pons claims of “Cold Fusion” but with a lot more political ramifications. Once this study makes it main stream whether or not the claims in the study are true becomes immaterial. I have even read a blog that proves “the Global Cooling/Ice Age scare” of the 70’s is a fabrication of climate deniers.
    One other thing, Raymond Clemencon is another faculty member at UC. He was one of the negotiators on the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21. I would not trust any science that comes out of UC given its UN connections and its aggressive advocacy of Agenda 21.

  82. To develop solutions for dealing with the impact of major increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels on crops, further research is needed on how plants assimilate nitrate and ammonium, Bloom said.
    Sir, you are a pseudo scientific prostitute and an idiot.

  83. The decline in nutritional value per unit of plant mass is one of my few concerns with CO2. I’m not worried about agriculture as much as wildlife needing to consume more food to get enough nutrition.
    Of course, maybe it doesn’t matter…that’s what natural selection is for…
    Nick

  84. In ‘Physiological plant ecology: ecophysiology and stress physiology of funcional groups’ (Springer, 2003), Walter Larcher writes:
    “According to over 3000 scientific publications on the biology of CO2 effects, a broad spectrum of growth responses to CO2 enrichment exists. Since elevated CO2 often reduces the plants’ demands for other resources, CO2 effects on growth do not simply follow Liebig’s law of the minimum. Plants exposed to elevated CO2 need less enzymes (and thus lower quantities of leaf proteins and nitrogen), lose less water (can cope with less soil moisture and often operate at smaller stomata openings) and need less light (because of a shift in the light compensation point for photosynthesis) to reach the equivalent, or even higher photosynthetic rates than plants growing under control conditions with “normal” CO2 concentrations.”
    Under ideal conditions, where there is no shortage of water, light, nutrients, trace elements etc, the benefit of doubling atmospheric CO2 may be 40%. However, where plants are resource limited, a doubling of CO2 can enhance growth of crops by over 100% in some cases. This is particularly important in regions of the world where the soil is poor for many reasons, since increasing atmospheric CO2 will enable crops to be grown efficiently where they currently cannot be grown without first improving the soil and irrigation.
    In ‘Effect of Carbon Dioxide Concentration on Growth and Dry Matter Production of Crop Plants’ (Japan. Jour. Crop Sci, 1978) Imai and Murata showed that after 10 days of treatment with nitrogen at 350ppm and 1000ppm CO2 the dry weight (DW) of rice plants was as follows:
    350ppm CO2, 30 mg nitrogen per plant DW = 835 mg per plant
    350ppm CO2, 120 mg nitrogen per plant DW = 1,081 mg per plant
    1000ppm CO2, 30 mg nitrogen per plant DW = 1,199 mg per plant
    1000ppm CO2, 120 mg nitrogen per plant DW = 1,862 mg per plant
    This demonstrates that at higher levels of atmospheric CO2, food crops have considerably lower requirements for fixed nitrogen for the same growth; alternatively, for the same nitrogen treatment they achieve considerably enhanced growth.
    Higher levels of atmospheric CO2 lead to greater biological nitrogen fixation from the atmosphere, so less is required to be added as fertilizer. This is especially important in legumes, which are also able to improve their uptake and usage of phosphorus with increased CO2. Legume /bacterial symbiosis leading to nitrogen fixation is significantly increased at elevated CO2 levels (Reddy et al, 1989; Reardon et al, 1990). Philips et al (1976) demonstrated increased nitrogen fixation in peas, and Sherwood (1978) found the same in clover. A classic study by Hardy and Havelka (1975) showed that a tripling of atmospheric CO2 results in a six-fold increase in biological nitrogen fixation (from 75 to 425 kg per hectare) by rhizobial bacteria in nodules attached to the roots of soybeans.

  85. “Nitrogen is the mineral element that plants and other living organisms require in the greatest quantity to survive and grow.”
    As a living organism why do humans need nitrogen and what do I do with it in my body?
    “Earlier research has shown that when atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increase by 50 percent, the nitrogen status of plants declines significantly.”
    As to the above, when CO2 levels went from 180 ppm to 300 when coming out of an ice age are they saying that it was bad for plants? That the amount of CO2 during the Carboniforous Age was bad?
    Something smells about this.

  86. @Steveta_uk
    Yeah, I can’t believe this article has even been given so much focus (judging by the number of comments) when it can’t even clearly elaborate the difference between photorespiration and photosythesis… great science…

  87. You’re right. I should ignore one of the two most prestigious scientific journals in the world because of what some bloggers put up on YouTube. Good call.
    In regards to the wanting $$ comments — scientists propose work in response to a specific solicitation. The few project proposals that are peer-reviewed to have the most scientific merit get funded. THEN they do the work. Scientists do NOT get money as some kind of a reward for getting answers that someone wants to hear.

  88. Sylvan Wittwer (Professor emeritus at Michigan State University, who directed the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station for 20 years and chaired the Board on Agriculture of the National Research Council) has remarked:
    “There has been and still remains, a great reluctance on the part of many climatologists and ecologists, and especially environmentalists, to accept the concept that the rising level of atmospheric CO2 could be more beneficial than harmful for plant growth, food production, and the overall biosphere…Yet the scientific evidence is overwhelming.”
    The likes of Al Gore have been promoting the hogwash in his books. Wittwer points out that of the HUNDREDS of scientific reports documenting the benefits, Al Gore carefully selected FIVE reports and a personal communication to emphasize possible negative aspects to enhanced CO2 on plants. Gore knew what he was doing, of course – he either deliberately rejected the facts, or gave instructions to researchers for his book only to cherry pick papers that support his alarmist agenda.

  89. LearDog says:
    May 14, 2010 at 4:03 am
    So – this is science? “Let’s poison plants with CO2″ and then discover that there is an optimal level of nitrogen that goes with? And – the corker – need to lecture FARMERS (these are professionals, you eggheads) that they need to pay attention to their plants’ nitrogen needs?
    Lord.
    _________________________________________________________________
    LearDog, Didn’t you now a USDA manual tells USDA agents to address farmers at the 6th grade level????
    http://salon.glenrose.net/?view=plink&id=3248

  90. Talk about skewed data presentation. I find incredibly deficient agronomic and physiologic thought in every sentence of this press release. For example, wheat varies from ~8 – 12% protein (50%), associated with cultivar and species (hard red winter wheat vs soft white spring wheat for example). If protein content is reduced 10%, but total yield is improved 11% by elevated CO2, more protein per unit planted area is produced. Since higher CO2 increases yield greater than 10%, a 10% reduction in per plant nitrogen is not significant. We can also eliminate the “alledged” protein reduction in a selection process called genetics (D0h!). Farmers already are very careful with their “ammonium” input. It’s called profit motive. I haven’t read the actual paper yet, so it’s going to be worse than I thought. I’m just sick of this BS and don’t have the stomach to read it this morning, but this is probably going to be absolutely the worst paper I have seen in my 30 years of plant science. I want to puke my degrees up. There’s a reason it was published in Science. It couldn’t make it to the big leagues (Crop Science, Plant Physiology, Agronomy Journal, etc., etc., etc. etc.).

  91. H.R. says:
    May 14, 2010 at 4:11 am
    “[…] as lower protein levels in plants will force both people and pests to consume more plant material to meet their nutritional requirements,” Bloom said. […]“
    E-Z peazy! Eat more lizards to make up for the lost protien.
    ____________________________________________________________________
    Ok, that explains how the lizards are going to go extinct with all of this Gore bull warming.
    Now could someone please explain (please bear with me as I never made it out of Mrs. Smith’s third grade class) how you can have a process like growing plants in a greenhouse that doesn’t produce waste?
    If nothing else you have all of that heat produced to get rid of and wasn’t that money grubbing, overfeed, CO2 spewing, political hack worried about excess heat?

  92. The crime is that your tax dollars are being squandered by government organizations that have become obsessed with CO2 and carbon based fuels. They have lost all comon sense and interest in honest science. The NSF and the National Academies have been taken over by radical environmentalists.
    “Funding for this study was provided by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Spain’s Agencia Regional de Ciencia y Tecnologia.”

  93. OceanTwo says:
    May 14, 2010 at 4:30 am
    “I guess the farmers are just sittin’ aroun’ on their butts waiting for them thar scientific types to tell ‘em how to farm…”
    __________________________________________________________
    Actually “the farmers are just sittin’ aroun’ on their butts waiting for them thar scientific types” to show up so they can fleece them in a poker game or by selling them over priced “organically grown” fruit and veggies. It is a favorite sport here in North Carolina, act dumb while fleecing the northern college professors, then laugh all the way to the bank. (I set up at a farmers market near Chapel Hill NC)

  94. Jarmo says: (May 14, 2010 at 3:24 am):”Are they saying that protein content of plants absolutely decreases with higher CO2? Or, are they saying that the protein content of plants does not increase at the same rate as organic mass? Could not find a specific statement.”
    In governmentspeak a decrease in rate of increase is labeled a decrease. So if plant X has a protein content of Y and you increase the plant growth to 2X but the protein content is less than 2Y, it will be called a decrease in protein content.
    Now, if there is an actual protein decrease rather than just a decrease in rate of increase, simply eat more meat!

  95. OT or not OT depending on how you look at it: the cover story on this week’s New Scientist is a hit-piece on “denialists” which treats climate-change “deniers” as being the same as Holocaust deniers and 9-11 “truthers”.

  96. I much more worried about dihydrogen monoxide. They are spraying it all over crops these days and measurable amounts are showing up in baby food!

  97. When you add CO2 to the greenhouses I suppose you get rotten tomatoes or flippy floppy tomatoes. That must explain it. Yeah sure, when you remove one of the constraints to growth you will be exposed to another. Duh.

  98. I knew that all those people who claimed that greenhouse growers were using 1,000 ppm were lying through their teeth.

  99. Sounds like the rotten ice argument. With more CO2 you may get more of something but its all rotten.

  100. Bill S says on May 14, 2010 at 5:23 am

    Seconding Derek B. and others above–I have also seen reports of excessive CO2 leading to less nutritional value in crops, but I cannot remember exactly at what levels of CO2 this becomes a problem. I think it’s higher than we’ll get to in this century, though. And as others have pointed out, even if nutritional value goes up less than plant growth, you still come out ahead in the long run.

    Aren’t we always being told we should get more fibre in our diets?

  101. Rising CO2 levels threaten crops and food quality
    May 13, 2010
    Rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide interfere with plants’ ability to convert nitrate into protein and could threaten food quality, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Davis. The scientists suggest that, as global climate change intensifies, it will be critical for farmers to carefully manage nitrogen fertilization in order to prevent losses in crop productivity and quality.

    1. The crop is NOT threatened
    2 The yield is actually greatly increased
    3 The robust increase in yield DOES NOT require a proportionate increase in watering.
    4 The quality does not drop. They did claim to find a small increase in protein percentage. A large crop increase, protein increase but for example wheat would be 11% protein instead of 12% protein. They imply we will spend more time eating more food because of lower quality. That ONLY applies to a small extent to vegetarians with certain other restrictions in their diets.
    5 These “ag scientists” are acting stupidly. Our herd of catle are fed plants. They do not eat meat. They turn carbohydrates into meat protein. Ruminants process rumen degradible protein. If it is too high, it is passed in the urine.
    http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/PDF/ruminant.pdf
    When scientists in the name of politics hijack science and add spin to the “story” or “reframe” the story as Joe Romm claims, it must be dealt with.
    Action step:
    Order the burger as a chees burger with bacon to offsett the dangerous drop in protein in the pickles and onions. (ooops, the research was about mustard. The mustard on the burger is lower quality because it is slightly lower protein)

  102. the complementary process by which plants grow by using sunlight to turn water and carbohydrates into chemical energy in the form of plant sugars
    That should be “water and CO2”.

  103. @Don Keiller
    The article you cited is from a journal committed to “the quickest possible peer review.”
    “We are committed to rapid processing – from online submission using Manuscript Central, enabling the quickest possible peer review, through to the use of e-proofs
    and then publication ‘as-ready’ via Early View.”
    http://www.newphytologist.com/view/0/authors.html
    Here is a conclusion from a different paper:
    “In unfertilized ecosystems, microbial N immobilization enhances
    acclimation of plant growth to elevated CO2 in the long-term. Therefore, increased soil C input and soil C sequestration under elevated CO2 can only be sustained in the long-term when additional nutrients are supplied.”
    http://faculty.jsd.claremont.edu/emorhardt/159/pdfs/2007/2_8_07.pdf
    There are many papers out there pointing in various directions. It is foolish to assume only the ones with results you like are the only relevant ones. We are changing the composition of our atmosphere. We are changing the chemistry in our oceans. We are changing our climate. Some of these changes may be positive, but one would have to be hopelessly naïve to assume all is benign.

  104. So
    If it’s a 7-20% decrease in protein, but a 40-50% increase in mass, that’s a net gain.

  105. As I recall from my farming days, which was a long time ago, in a distant……ooops. Wrong story.
    Protein in wheat is usually about 15%. High values are about 20%. A 20% reduction would reduce protein to about 12% to 16%. Carbohydrate and fiber content would see a corresponding increase.
    Also, as I recall, high protein content is a function of a dry period during seed development. Did these researchers control for moisture variations in protein development?
    now, I need to go finish cleaning the ‘droids.

  106. So CO2 causes more rapid plant growth and you therefore need more NPK… what’s the big deal?

  107. Enneagram says:
    May 14, 2010 at 5:59 am
    “CO2 follows temperature, not the other way. Open a coke and you´ll see it: The more you have it in your warm hand the more gas will go out when you open it.”
    Coke is super-saturated. Shake it and you’ll see.
    Higher temps can drive CO2 out of the oceans. Higher CO2 levels can cause higher temps. It is a feedback cycle that can be started from either side. This time we are the cause of higher CO2 levels. While the higher temps that are coming are not new, the rate of change is faster than what occurs in natural cycles.

  108. Glad some commenters mentioned that higher CO2 level results in plants using water much more efficiently. Adequate supplies of fresh water for irrigation and sanitation is a large and growing problem. Increased atmospheric CO2 concentration will go a long way towards ameliorating that particular problem. Supply of nitrogen fertilizers are not a problem. Phosphorous fertilizer is a major problem about to happen. There are only two major sources of phosphorous fertilizer in the world and their capacity to produce is reaching its limit. Excess phosphorous in runoff and wastewater is already a problem. Waste water treatment plants are scrambling for efficient ways to capture the excess phosphorous both to keep it away from where it doesn’t belong (lakes, rivers, and oceans which is the usual end-point for treated water) and to reduce the demand on the primary phosphorous mines.
    Wheat is actually not a great source of nutrition for human beings. All kinds of health problems occur from gluten intake. It’s long been known that some people are so gluten intolerant it will kill them but it’s just been discovered recently that people who aren’t so gluten-sensitive also have problems from it. Rice, corn, and soybeans are gluten-free and generally much better for you. Soybeans are very high in protein content and they also take nitrogen from the air and fix it into the soil with the aid of symbiotic bacteria on their roots. More and better crop rotation with soybeans on wheat fields should be high on the list of things to do for a lot of good reasons.

  109. This possibly isn’t as controversial (or important) as is being claimed. Photosynthesis happens because of an enzyme called rubisco – enzymes are proteins and hence need nitrogen to be synthesised. An increased CO2 level would allow more photosynthesis for the same amount of rubisco, so more plant ‘bulk’ for the same amount of ‘nitrogen’. Or am I missing something? Plants aren’t built of muscle like us, it’s stuff like cellulose and lignin which contains no protein (nitrogen)
    Not all crops fix their own nitrogen either (or rather, have symbiotic bacteria to do it for them) so be careful on that point too.

  110. The problem is not CO2 but who owns LAND in practice, if the farmers then it is OK, if the BANKS then we are back to Monarchy times, call it PLUTOCRATIC times if you wish, the ARISTOCRACY of a very small world banking elite.
    Back in the 18th century land was owned by the land-lords, these were independent from the banks. Peasant were supposed to be slaves, though they could know, even be friends of their landlords. Revolutions changed this, democratizing property, but, as the wheel turned around through banks and through the Genetically Modified Seeds, which are STERILE (farmers can not obtain their own seeds), land is really owned by the very few worlwide land lords. You were free, now you became employees, clerks, servants, not even free peasants.

  111. wheat and Arabidopsis plants. (mustard)
    That is code for trouble.
    In-N-Out has a reputation to live up too and do they ever. Now when you order a burger, their reputation will be damaged because the mustard and the bun have .013 grams less protein.
    I was under the mistaken impression the protein was in the meat.

  112. Henry chance says:
    We have good news and we have bad news. The crop yield is up 100% per acre. The protein yeild of the wheat per acre is up only 85%.
    Send us money.
    ==================
    “You give us the money,
    We’ll give you the honey.
    And conversely:
    No money: no honey.
    Cause we’re professionals, honey.”

  113. From my admittedly passing experience with making bread in a bread machine, wheat flour with a protein level of at least 13%, preferably nearer 14% is needed, especially if you are going to make wholemeal bread where the bran flakes tend to have a negative effect on how well the dough rises. I also understand that much of the wheat we grow in the UK is not suitable for bread making, having a low protein content and being more suitable for cakes. Some food scientists here might correct me on this though.
    It does seem possible that in wheat, faster and more growth might have trade offs…there usually are trade offs with food. The Iceberg lettuce is a classic of this effect, crisp, very good keeping qualities, tasteless and awful to eat.

  114. Chris says:
    May 14, 2010 at 2:34 am
    and next they will show, that water and fresh air are pollutants…
    ————-
    humm…they already have. The reduction in tailpipe and stack pollutants has reduced their cooling effect, increasing the rate of warming.
    So…air pollution control devices are enhancing AGW.
    Clean air is a “bad” thing.

  115. Mike says:May 14, 2010 at 7:26 am
    There are many papers out there pointing in various directions. It is foolish to assume only the ones with results you like are the only relevant ones. We are changing the composition of our atmosphere. We are changing the chemistry in our oceans. We are changing our climate. Some of these changes may be positive, but one would have to be hopelessly naïve to assume all is benign.

    As a physiologist, I have not read one paper where the net effect of increased [CO2] is negative to crop yield.
    Period.
    Show me otherwise or quit trolling.

  116. Oh, and to be fair I should mention that the video is not very compelling. Those plants were obviously grown under reduced light and are etiolated. Not representative of actual growing conditions.

  117. The video, interesting as it is, didn’t make it clear what the yield was. How, for example, might that translate to wheat, rice, and corn? What too of the efficiency of the pollinators, pests, weeds, water consumption?
    Am I really ready for a 3′ stalk of asparagus?
    I would think too that farmers might need to consider equipment changes. The machinery of farming are designed for current crop characteristics. That may all change.
    Those curiosities aside, I find it absurd that anyone would consider CO2 a poisonous gas to be regulated like cyanide. I can see the warning labels now: Warning! This softdrink contains gasses known to destroy planets.

  118. oldseadog says:
    May 14, 2010 at 12:20 am
    ‘How does this fit with the tomato growers in the Netherlands who put added CO2, up to 1500ppm I have read, into the greenhouses and get better yields?’
    Ah yes, but those are rotten tomatoes.

  119. Once again UC Davis shows us why they are a second or third tier University.
    Any child from 2 generations back knows that CO2 in vastly increased concentrations results in vast increase in crop yields.
    UCD simplistic review of 2 crops for nitrogen is sophomoric at best and belongs in a middle-school science fair.
    Any decent crop scientists knows that Food crops nutrition value is determined by ALL of the minerals in the growing medium. This is why “bottom land’ is preferred for crops and why decent farmers enrich the soil with more than NPK.
    We all know CO2 is not the primary mover of ‘climate change’, its much more complex than this – but there are many sophomoric climate scientists trying to prove they know more than anyone else.
    ‘Science’ deserves to be peer reviewed by actual peers, and the results published by independent sources.

  120. Thanke Mike McMillan for your graph of Illinois corn yields, but most importantly, the information that there have been quite large swings in atmospheric CO2 concentration in the last 200 years. I was aware that there was a seasonal variation in CO2 levels, but it had never occurred to me that CO2 concentration in 1940 was 391.5 ppm. The graph you posted isn’t clear so I did a fast search for CO2 concentrations predating Mana Loa (anything before 1958) and was surprised by the result.
    http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/literature/evidence-var-corrRSCb.pdf
    is a paper that analyzes variability of CO2 concentration during the 20th century. The chemical means of analysis used prior to spectroscopic methods are very accurate with precision better than 1% (or even better in the hands of some people). What the data show is that in the 1940’s CO2 concentrations went up and the most interesting value is the 454.7 ppm CO2 measured in Antarctica in 1941. Averaging multiple sources gives about 410 ppm in the mid 1940’s
    I just found this out today and these measurements would seem to invalidate AGW as we seemed to get through the 1940’s just fine with those “dangerous” atmospheric CO2 concentrations. I wasn’t born then, but I don’t recall my parents telling me about the rise in sealevels that flooded coastal areas, the spread of malaria in northern Europe, the disappearance of the polar bears and extinction of sea life because of falling ocean pH.
    The data on CO2 concentration over the last 180 years tell me that we really haven’t a clue about what controls atmospheric CO2. Having worked in organic chemistry/biochemistry at one stage in my career I’m well acquainted with chemical methods of measuring trace gasses and believe the values that these scientists got. The only concern I would have is if some of the readings are skewed by the presence of a “CO2 island” effect as one would expect CO2 levels in an urban environment to be greater than in a rural environment. When multiple studies show a correlated rise in CO2 concentrations in the 1940’s then there was something very interesting happening at that time and I’m curious if the IPCC was aware of this research.

  121. Mike says:
    May 14, 2010 at 7:26 am
    “There are many papers out there pointing in various directions. It is foolish to assume only the ones with results you like are the only relevant ones. “

    This is the heart of the matter, isn’t it? When a true scientist sees contradicting studies he looks for a way to disprove both. When a political scientist sees them he picks the one that supports his own “settled” view.

  122. Sid F says:May 14, 2010 at 8:04 am
    I also understand that much of the wheat we grow in the UK is not suitable for bread making, having a low protein content and being more suitable for cakes.

    Then let them eat cake.

  123. As a note, you have to get up above 5% CO2 in the atmosphere for humans to be affected. Above that, you can get some minor symptoms like headaches up to 10%. am not sure what happens after 10%, but I would suppose your CO2-O2 exchange in your lungs might get a bit screwed. Sorry short stuff, I won’tmake you grow.

  124. Here is a link to the study http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/328/5980/899
    It is a seedling study, the plants are not grown to maturity. In fact, they are grown for only a few days. It is a jump to assume that grain quality or quantity will suffer based on this study. Also, low light intensity maybe a reason for lower NO3 assimilation under higher CO2. You need the photons for the process to work properly.

  125. Climate science has been infected with government money. All government money is poisoned by the political agenda of the power-hungry aristocrats who run the government. Since the great global warming fraud is a wonderful excuse for governments to seize power, they fund the frauds like crazy and don’t fund honest science. If you want honest science, you have to get rid of the government money.

  126. Merovign says:
    May 14, 2010 at 2:12 am
    //i.e. did CO2 inhibit absorption of nitrogen or did growth outstrip the availability of nitrogen?//
    Of course it outstripped. Every gardener knows that when plants are dormant, you don’t fertilize them – they can’t use it. If plants in the summer are growing rapidly, of course you need to fertilize them more, not just with N but with P and K. Duh! (to UC Davis “scientists”)
    Rutgers AG School, one of the best, established this with many plants half a century ago, especially their famous Rutgers tomatoes and other wonderful pant hybrids. They established growing optima that INCLUDED raising CO2 three fold while providing optimal nutrients. Its almost like ground hog day with these UC simpleton scientists. What poor non-scientists these are. A farmer has way more knowledge & know-how.
    This is like saying that raising water intake for a human being, but not feeding him anything will cause death. That means it was the extra water that killed him! OR, a better conclusion for the eco-simpletons, is that parts per quadrillion of dioxin, present in the water, did it! Adjust the experiment and control the conclusion!
    If they grew these things hydroponically, and did not add anything to the water, like lime, to buffer the slightly decreased pH, this could have reduced protein levels in the seeds, also. Point: these experiments could easily be “adjusted” for any outcome one chooses.
    The dinosaurs seemed to have had adequate protein intake from the fact that they grew to astonishing sizes because the plants grew so unbelievably fast! Because CO2 was in 10 parts PER THOUSAND (10,000 ppm).

  127. If the requirements for plant growth are: Nutrients, Water, Light, CO2, it appears they amazingly “discovered” that when abundant CO2 drives growth to 200-300% of current yield, it needs enough nutrients to continue that growth. It could be that CO2 benefits the Aerial portion of the plant disproportionately to the root. The “epiphany” of this study is that fertilization may be necessary to continue maximum rate of growth. I could demonstrate that any day in my front yard with a bag of Scotts…. and I would only need a small grant of 3 or 4 hundred grand to complete this study. 🙂

  128. “plants grow by using sunlight to turn water and carbohydrates into chemical energy in the form of plant sugars”
    That statement would have gotten me an “F” in high school biology.
    Plants in fact grow by first turning carbon from CO2 and hydrogen from H2O into simple sugars, releasing the oxygen from both into the atmosphere, and then the plant converts those simple sugars (carbohydrates), along with other trace elements, into the more complex carbohydrates the plant constructs itself of.
    I know that when I was a farm lad back in the 1940s, a corn (maize) crop of 90 bushels per acre was considered to be a “bumper” crop. Today, 150 bushels per acre is considered to be an average harvest.
    There is a reason why the numbers of humans on the planet could expand from well less than a billion circa 1900 to some 6 billion at the end of the 20th Century . . . there became enough food grown and harvested to feed such an expansion, and a goodly part of the increase in food supply was due to increased CO2 available to support adequate plant growth, and benign (that is warm) temperatures.

  129. *ahem* This is all bunk….carbon dioxide supplementation of greenhouses has been practiced for many years, with very positive results. ADM uses waste heat and carbon dioxide from ethanol fermenters to boost growth of hothouse tomatoes in Illinois.
    http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/00-077.htm
    “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.”
    According to my cool WUWT desktop widget, the Earth’s CO2 level is 389.64 ppm.
    Crops should grow just fine. I’d expect extra nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers to be required anyway, as those would become growth-limiting.
    Get ready for another green revolution.

  130. Boris Gimbarzevsky says:
    May 14, 2010 at 8:48 am
    Not to mention that Mauna Loa is near an active volcano on a lava field.
    I think the problem with modern spectroscopic methods of CO2 analysis is not the accuracy or precision of the method, which is good for wet or dry methods. It is the sampling methodology. Following is how they do it (Ref: Mauna Loa CO2 web page):
    At Mauna Loa we use the following data selection criteria:
    1. The standard deviation of minute averages should be less than 0.30 ppm within a given hour. A standard deviation larger than 0.30 ppm is indicated by a “V” flag in the hourly data file, and by the red color in Figure 2.
    2. The hourly average should differ from the preceding hour by less than 0.25 ppm. A larger hour-to-hour change is indicated by a “D” flag in the hourly data file, and by the green color in Figure 2.
    3. There is often a diurnal wind flow pattern on Mauna Loa driven by warming of the surface during the day and cooling during the night. During the day warm air flows up the slope, typically reaching the observatory at 9 am local time (19 UTC) or later. The upslope air may have CO2 that has been lowered by plants removing CO2 through photosynthesis at lower elevations on the island, although the CO2 decrease arrives later than the change in wind direction, because the observatory is surrounded by miles of bare lava. In Figure 2 the downslope wind changed to upslope during hour 18. Upslope winds can persist through ~7 pm local time (5 UTC, next day, or hour 29 in Figure 2). Hours that are likely affected by local photosynthesis are indicated by a “U” flag in the hourly data file, and by the blue color in Figure 2. The selection to minimize this potential non-background bias takes place as part of step 4. At night the flow is often downslope, bringing background air. However, that air is sometimes contaminated by CO2 emissions from the crater of Mauna Loa. As the air meanders down the slope that situation is characterized by high variability of the CO2 mole fraction. In Figure 2, downslope winds resumed in hour 28. Hour 33 in Figure 2 is the first of an episode of high variability lasting 7 hours.
    4. In keeping with the requirement that CO2 in background air should be steady, we apply a general “outlier rejection” step, in which we fit a curve to the preliminary daily means for each day calculated from the hours surviving step 1 and 2, and not including times with upslope winds. All hourly averages that are further than two standard deviations, calculated for every day, away from the fitted curve (“outliers”) are rejected. This step is iterated until no more rejections occur. These hours are indicated by an “A” flag in the hourly data file, and by the purple color in Figure 2, also indicated as “spline” in the legend. Spline is a curve fitting technique. Rejected hours occurring during times with upslope winds are given a “U” character in the data file.
    Please note section 3 and 4. What could possibly go wrong here? Why are “outliers” rejected, notwithstanding the explanations given?
    Moreover, why is CO2 standard measurement for the whole wide world performed on a volcano? Seems like a perfect place to apply some creative “adjusting” of data.
    [Note: bold and italics are mine]

  131. bubbagyro says:
    May 14, 2010 at 9:33 am
    //Of course it outstripped. Every gardener knows that when plants are dormant, you don’t fertilize them – they can’t use it. If plants in the summer are growing rapidly, of course you need to fertilize them more, not just with N but with P and K. Duh! (to UC Davis “scientists”)//
    When I posted, the direct links had not been put up. Now that they have, a quick look suggests the study is far, far worse than I had assumed.
    I’ve moved from the “I have questions” camp to the “what an obvious fraud” camp. There are so many confounding factors that attributing them all to simple errors just isn’t believable.
    I may be nearing the end of my “always assume error rather than malfeasance” days.

  132. According to GSWTMTOTH* , a major crisis facing the western world is childhood OBESITY. Thus, a reduction in the “nutrient content” of plant food caused by increased atmospheric CO2 levels will cure yet another societal malady. Sounds like we need more CO2, not less.
    * Government Scientiests With Too Much Time On Their Hands

  133. My New Climate Instruments.
    Well I have just aquired some new instrumentation for studying climate; and it turns out that one of them is for measuring CO2 the most important factor by far in determining Earth climate, and also how well plants grow. I call it my Smart_CO2 Meter.
    The other instrument is just a Thermometer; well it’s my Smart_Thermometer.
    Both are computerized and extremely powerful.
    My Smart_CO2 Meter is capable of measuing any amount of CO2 anywhere in the entire universe; and at any time; well to be pedantic, in order to conserve memory space, I can only measure CO2 from 600 million years ago; which was PreCambrian on earth and only up to 100 million years in the future. measuring the future takes a lot of memory. Now I can measure CO2 according to any algorithm you want to specify; I love that word AlGoreRythm. Only restriction is that the function must be continuous and single valued.
    For example you might want to know the CO2 in a stere of atmosphere at the foot of the Washington Monument at noon on July-4 / 2000. Just enter that algorythm, and the Smartmeter reads the answer. Or you could take a stack of steres at that spot, and all the way to 100 km height. and you could specify the CO2 in each of those cells but starting at the time specified above, and then advancing by one hour for the second cell above, and another hour for the next and so on. And the Smartmeter can give you the average for that whole stack; or it could weight each cell according to some formula and give you a weighted average. As you can see it is very adaptable and however you want to specify any sample of CO2 anywhere in the universe or any continuous funtion of locations times etc, this meter will do it.
    Well my Smart_Thermometer is equally clever. It can measure the Temperature of a single molecule caught in one of Steven Chu’s Optical traps; or any set of molecules you can specify with a continuous single valued function. The only limitation of each instrument is that you can’t read random things with them; only causal non chaotic things.
    So if I want to know the correct mean surface temperature of the earth (say the single molecular layer that is just adjacent to the atmosphere) and at any time in that 700 million year limited time frame; I simply tell the thermometer which temperature of what I want to know when; same thing with my smart CO2 meter.
    So now a question for you AGU members and all the expert Climatologers out there.
    What Temperature of what Portion of the earth, measured at what Time would I choose to plot against what Measure of CO2 measured Where on the earth, at what Time in order for me to obtain a straight line plot of Temperature versus Log CO2 bearing in mind that “Temperature” and “CO2” can be any single valued continuous function, covering any Time function (for each of the variables).
    So I could have a simple AlGoreRythm that says plot the instantaneous average temperature of the single molecular surface layer of the entire earth starting at midnight tonight GMT versus log of the total CO2 in the bottom 1000 km of the earth atmosphere (as a mole fraction of that total atmosphere in the same space) and measured with my Smart_CO2 meter at the exact same time as the Temperature reading. In other words no time delay from CO2 to T. Or I could have a time delay if I wanted to; maybe 800 years; either T leading or CO2 leading. But it’s your choice:- “what
    Temperature Function plotted agains log of what CO2 Function yields a straight line ?” Bear in mind, that you can change things like the CO2, in order to run the graph over say 5 octaves of CO2 change; or any range of change you want; you just have to specify what CO2 value (according to your recipe for what sample that is) and when the CO2 function has that value.
    I’m guessing (WAG) that even Steven Schneider himself cannot give me astraight answer to that question; which after all is simply his famous “Climate Sensitivity.”
    I’ll accept either an answer that is based on actual real world observed measurments with my Smart_CO2 and Smart_Thermometer instruments; or a Computer model answer that those instruments calculate by applying the laws of Physics, up to and including Quantum Chromodynamics. I don’t want any string theory or parallel Universe wild speculations; just well accepted Physics Theory.
    Absent an answer to this simple question, I suggest that we simly s***can the whole concept of “Climate Sensitivity”, and start dealing with climate in a real world, instead of a fantasy world. Hopefully such a study would also include the greenhouse species H2O (in all three phases of course).
    But as an aside on the current subject news item. Who is it that is approving grant funding money to perform stupid studies of this kind.
    Now the U-tube video is the sort of experiment that makes sense; but all the subsequent speculation does not seem to be aimed at advancing the course of science.
    If Monsanto or some other company wanted to fund such studies to find out if they can make a buck out of CO2 enhancement or depletion; I’m all for that; let their shareholders decide if that is a good risk to take with their money.
    There’s one thing that doesn’t seem to sink in amongst this “climate” community. It takes real people working at real jobs for real profit making companies (including their own family business) to provide real products and real services that are wanted by real customers, in order to spin off the taxation revenues required to support the whole structure of public institutions; which consists of Tax Consumers; not tax payers.
    Don’t tell me the guy at the DMV is a taxpayer; if the tax rate were set to exactly zero, tax payers would still have a job; tax consumers including the guy at the DMV would not. This is not a judgement call as to whether there should even be a DMV and somebody there collecting a paycheck; or whether schoolteachers should exist; or trash collectors collecting the garbage can.
    The people deicde through their collective interractions which of those public services they want; and I make no selection as to what is ok and what isn’t; the point is that the ENTIRE SYSTEM of private and public; ultimately is paid for by profit making enterprise, and nothing else.
    But I do wonder what we are getting for our money. For the record, I am related to a schoolteacher whose job should not exist as it has been outlawed in the State of California; since good science has proved that it does not work.

  134. An alternate title for this piece….
    “UC Davis Rediscovers Liebeg’s Law of the Minimum”

  135. The dinosaurs seemed to have had adequate protein intake from the fact that they grew to astonishing sizes because the plants grew so unbelievably fast! Because CO2 was in 10 parts PER THOUSAND (10,000 ppm).
    They needed to be huge so they could munch through and digest enough plant protein in a day to live. Efficiencies at a larger scale.
    It seems to me the plus of extra CO2 – larger plants, greater yield – outweighs the minus of a slight decrease in protein. In any case more CO2 is literally the “more green” option.

  136. Donald Duck says:
    May 14, 2010 at 11:11 am
    It’s funny to see how people here feel like being scientists.
    ______________________________________________________
    Some of the people here are in fact scientist.
    Scientists have been known to be wrong.
    Those who are scientists should be the very first to recognize that fact. Unfortunately some do not.
    As for consensus views they are have been drastically incorrect at times as well.

  137. I hope someone has shared this information with all those commercial produce growers pumping CO2 into their greenhouses.
    Here I thought fast food was contributing to malnutrition. Who knew it was actually CO2 enriched fruit and vegetables…?

  138. CRS, Dr.P.H. says on May 14, 2010 at 10:35 am

    *ahem* This is all bunk….carbon dioxide supplementation of greenhouses has been practiced for many years, with very positive results. ADM uses waste heat and carbon dioxide from ethanol fermenters to boost growth of hothouse tomatoes in Illinois.
    http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/00-077.htm
    “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.”
    According to my cool WUWT desktop widget, the Earth’s CO2 level is 389.64 ppm.
    Crops should grow just fine. I’d expect extra nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers to be required anyway, as those would become growth-limiting.
    Get ready for another green revolution.

    I am sorry Dr P.H, but I put my faith in the Peer Review Process. It is fool proof and the way to true enlightenment. You have been fooled by those charlatans in industry again!

  139. North of 43 and south of 44 says:
    May 14, 2010 at 11:51 am
    I am a professional scientist of 40+ years. That is not my credential. My credential is the scientific method: 1) formulate hypothesis, 2) conduct experiments designed to robustly disprove it (falsification) 3) read the experiment 4) reformulate hypothesis if it still is viable, or construct a new, often opposite hypothesis.
    Anyone here on this blog is by definition a scientist if he does these things. He does not have to actually do the experiment – he can review the experiments of others who robustly attempted falsification. The key is the last thing. They cannot selectively try to gather only data that supports the hypothesis. That is, as the scientists in the article are doing, NOT science. By definition, then they are not scientists.

  140. Doug in Seattle says:
    May 14, 2010 at 8:50 am
    Mike says:
    May 14, 2010 at 7:26 am
    “There are many papers out there pointing in various directions. It is foolish to assume only the ones with results you like are the only relevant ones. “
    Doug in Seattle says:
    May 14, 2010 at 8:50 am
    “This is the heart of the matter, isn’t it? When a true scientist sees contradicting studies he looks for a way to disprove both. When a political scientist sees them he picks the one that supports his own “settled” view.”
    Doug: The impact of higher CO2 levels on agriculture is not settled science. That higher CO2 levels lead to higher temperatures as well established. It is also clear that a wide range of environmental impacts will follow – however the details are far from settled.
    It makes sense to be looking for ways to reduce our CO2 emissions. How best do to this is far from clear.

  141. The Nitrogen fixing plants (eg soybeans) will grow larger, and, I’m assuming, become more efficient at “fixing’ nitrogen in the soil. In other words, the nitrogen content of soil should increase as CO2 increases in the atmosphere.

  142. ” it will be critical for farmers to carefully manage nitrogen fertilization”
    I can assure you, they already do. Have been for many, many years.

  143. Mike says:
    May 14, 2010 at 12:44 pm
    That higher CO2 levels lead to higher temperatures as well established.
    Actually, no, Mike, it is far from being established at all. It has only been conjectured. The effects of higher C02 levels on climate are most likely small, and easily swamped by the far more powerful climate drivers of the sun and oceans.

  144. “”” Richard Sharpe says:
    May 14, 2010 at 11:58 am
    CRS, Dr.P.H. says on May 14, 2010 at 10:35 am
    *ahem* This is all bunk….carbon dioxide supplementation of greenhouses has been practiced for many years, with very positive results. ADM uses waste heat and carbon dioxide from ethanol fermenters to boost growth of hothouse tomatoes in Illinois.
    http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/00-077.htm
    “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.”
    According to my cool WUWT desktop widget, the Earth’s CO2 level is 389.64 ppm.
    Crops should grow just fine. I’d expect extra nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers to be required anyway, as those would become growth-limiting.
    Get ready for another green revolution.
    I am sorry Dr P.H, but I put my faith in the Peer Review Process. It is fool proof and the way to true enlightenment. You have been fooled by those charlatans in industry again! “””
    Yes Richard, The peer review process is fool proof; after all those chaps at the CRU were not fools; they knew that in order to keep their gravy train running, they had to suppress peer review of contrary scientifc observations that didn’t support their thesis.
    And as I have said above; it is those “charlatans in industry” who support that entire gravy train with their evil profit tax dollars.
    But you are not alone or a new phenomenon; people who swill at the public trough are always the first to complain about their conditions.
    Perhaps if you paid for your opinions out of your own pocket; you might see things a bit more realistically.

  145. bubbagyro says:
    May 14, 2010 at 12:21 pm
    […. My credential is the scientific method: 1) formulate hypothesis, 2) conduct experiments designed to robustly disprove it (falsification) 3) read the experiment 4) reformulate hypothesis if it still is viable, or construct a new, often opposite hypothesis.
    Anyone here on this blog is by definition a scientist if he does these things. …]
    __________________________________________________________________________
    Well not according to the “scientists” that think things are settled in the world of climate “science” because a number of them participate in egg stroking, then you need to have at least made it through Mrs. Smith third grade class even if your third grade teacher wasn’t Mrs. Smith.
    I happen to agree that anyone can be a scientist provided they follow the principles.
    However, it appears in the climate field things are back to pre Galileo times. Appeals to consensus and authority. Oh how far we have come only to be thrown backwards in time.
    As one of my teachers said many years ago be sure to show all of your work, an answer without the work even if correct gets you a failing grade in my classes.
    I’ve seen a lot of “answers” and damn little of the work come out of several branches of the “sciences” lately.

  146. This comment is for Anthony Watts. You do a disservice to the general public by taking a study reviewed and accepted by Science, one of the more rigorous journals to pass review, and treat it like it is a bit of lunacy. The findings that prolonged exposure to high levels of CO2 has an inhibitory effect on photorespiration (which can be readily measured) and nitrogen assimilation (also readily measured) in wheat do not seem outlandish in any way. The authors would seem to be serious scientists who suggest, on the basis of their work, that close management of nitrogen fertilization may be necessary at CO2 levels rise, especially of protein content levels are to be maintained. Why make fun of serious work? Did you read the paper?
    REPLY: I read it and understood it, I disagree with the conclusions, and I think they did the damage themselves by the way they released it to media. That’s what I’m making fun of. The flaw I see is that the enhanced growth that occurred depleted nutrients in the soil. But we have the same sort of problem for anything that enhances growth, be it better weather, favorable temperatures, correct amounts of water, etc. Any farmer will tell you a good bumper crop will deplete the soil in any situation, no complaints there. Making CO2 a culprit because it enhances plant growth, lots to complain about. – Anthony

  147. George E. Smith says on May 14, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Yes Richard, The peer review process is fool proof; after all those chaps at the CRU were not fools; they knew that in order to keep their gravy train running, they had to suppress peer review of contrary scientifc observations that didn’t support their thesis.
    And as I have said above; it is those “charlatans in industry” who support that entire gravy train with their evil profit tax dollars.
    But you are not alone or a new phenomenon; people who swill at the public trough are always the first to complain about their conditions.
    Perhaps if you paid for your opinions out of your own pocket; you might see things a bit more realistically.

    George, can I suggest you take your sarcasm detector in for a tune up?
    I am one of those “charlatans” in industry too …

  148. Dave Springer says:
    May 14, 2010 at 7:38 am
    “Glad some commenters mentioned that higher CO2 level results in plants using water much more efficiently. Adequate supplies of fresh water for irrigation and sanitation is a large and growing problem…. More and better crop rotation with soybeans on wheat fields should be high on the list of things to do for a lot of good reasons.”
    ______________________________________________________________________
    I would like to see the use of clover or clover/rye grass winter cover crops whenever possible. Also despite the YUCK factor. The use of waste water as fertilizer. Unfortunately all sorts of chemicals are now shoved down the drain so the waste water can contain hazardous chemicals. Septic tanks are another possible source of “fertilizer”

  149. Owen says:
    May 14, 2010 at 2:20 pm
    This comment is for Anthony Watts. You do a disservice to the general public by taking a study reviewed and accepted by Science, one of the more rigorous journals to pass review, and treat it like it is a bit of lunacy….
    ___________________________________________________________________________
    I suggest you read Don Keiller comment.
    May 14, 2010 at 2:35 am
    Ah an update of the old (and discredited) “progressive nitrogen limitation” hypothesis. This suggested that “limitations in the supply of nitrogen needed to support increased plant growth should over time reduce or eliminate any effect of atmospheric CO2 concentration on net primary productivity.”
    Now that hypothesis has been debunked they seamlessly move on to “food quality” fears.
    Small reductions in %nitrogen under elevated CO2 have been noted for years. The key problem with this paper is that it reports results on the non-crop plant (Arabidopsis) and wheat- the latter is known to exhibit this %nitrogen reduction effect.
    Thus, major crop species studied by Jablonski, L.M., Wang, X. and Curtis, P.S. 2002. Plant reproduction under elevated CO2 conditions: a meta-analysis of reports on 79 crop and wild species. New Phytologist 156: 9-26. showed that rice, soybean, barley, wheat and maize) were considerably more productive when exposed to elevated concentrations of atmospheric CO2, while only two of them (barley and wheat) exhibited (small) decreases in seed nitrogen content under such conditions.
    To put these % seed Nitrogen reductions in perspective- according to the most recent publication of The National Academies Press – Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrates, Fiber, Fat, Protein and Amino Acids (2002) – the Recommended Dietary Allowance for both men and women is 0.80 g of protein per kg of body weight, which for the average (75 kg) man amounts to 60 g protein per day. Hence, for the average Westerner, comsuming a typical Western diet, instead of having 2.72 times as much protein as they require each day, they would have only 2.67 times as much protein….”

    If this is an example of “one of the more rigorous journals” then science is in very bad shape. This is nothing but recycling an old study and removing the positive aspects so it can be used to scare Joe Q. Public just in time to get the latest “cap and Trade passed.
    I guess “Science” just joined the ranks of the “National Enquirer” except the “Enquirer” is more honest.

  150. Something that needs clarification here is how much nutrition the consumer of the crops will actually receive. We don’t usually eat the entire plant. The essential question for the consumer is the nutritional value of the part(s) of the plant that we use for food.

  151. Owen says:
    May 14, 2010 at 2:20 pm
    I am a world class scientist with 40+ years in my field, well published and patented. I agree that Science and Nature WERE outstanding journals 20 years ago. I canceled both subscriptions a year ago because their standards had fallen precipitously. Even though I perceived this downward trend many years before, I waited for a long time, since I had been an ACS member, AAAS member, Nature subscriber, and NYAcadSci member for an average of 30 years. I hoped these journals would get better, but they became progressively worse and worse, bottoming out in the latest round of chicken little alarmism, demagoguery, and AGW political lobbying.
    I would recommend without reservation that any and everyone discontinue their subscriptions to these second rate journals. It is even too late to clean them up. They and their inbred cronies in academia have put a permanent blot on the reputation of the hallowed halls in which science has gone forward for centuries.
    I hope that we, as a scientific civilization may be able to recover. This AGW scam has made Piltdown Man and Lysenkoism look like Junior Varsity stunts.
    But if you REALLY want to know how strongly I feel…

  152. Kum Dollison says:
    May 14, 2010 at 12:55 pm
    “The Nitrogen fixing plants (eg soybeans) will grow larger, and, I’m assuming, become more efficient at “fixing’ nitrogen in the soil. In other words, the nitrogen content of soil should increase as CO2 increases in the atmosphere.”
    Of course! Why didn’t I think of that. Some farmers that have the manpower to do it, have planted nitrogen fixers between the rows of grain. Amish let beans grow up their local garden cornstalks. We provide the potash from firewood and phosphorus from spent laundry detergent, and plants are perfectly optimized.

  153. The lack of Nitrogen resulting from the doubling of CO2 cannot be coming from the atmsophere, as simple displacement should be occuring. Mine Safety teaches that it is Oxygen that gets displaced, but says nothing about Nitrogen. I will assume Nitrogen instead of Oxygen for sake of argument.
    Reducing 78% N2 to 77.6% N2 is a decrease of 4.7 x 1oE8 %. Not even worth considering.
    The soil is a different matter. Rotation of crops should cover the problem.
    Other factors need to be considered, like how fast is a crop produced with doubled C02, and how quickly the soil must be rotated out for a season.

  154. It is possible that they have a valid concern. A lower percentage of protein would not be contradicted by the fact that plants grow better with more CO2, because plant growth I believe is largely supported by cellulose, not protein (please correct me if I’m wrong here). It is also consistent with the fact that tomatoes grow better with more CO2: I don’t know why we couldn’t have a higher yield of tomatoes at the same time that we have a lower percentage of protein in the tomatoes.
    That said, I agree with some of the other skeptical comments. I am not swallowing this press release, I’m only pointing out that some of the skeptical arguments in comments don’t appear to hold up.

  155. rbateman says:
    May 14, 2010 at 3:42 pm
    “…..The soil is a different matter. Rotation of crops should cover the problem.
    Other factors need to be considered, like how fast is a crop produced with doubled C02, and how quickly the soil must be rotated out for a season.”

    ________________________________________________________________
    No need to “rotate it out for a season just plant legumes such as beans, peas, soybeans, clover…. most are cool season plants to begin with. Since the CO2 makes plants grow and mature faster it means the second winter cover crop can be planted earlier, allowing more time for the plants to fix N2. If neededthe cover crop can be tilled under as “green manure”

  156. “”” Richard Sharpe says:
    May 14, 2010 at 2:21 pm
    George E. Smith says on May 14, 2010 at 1:34 pm
    Yes Richard, The peer review process is fool proof; after all those chaps at the CRU were not fools; they knew that in order to keep their gravy train running, they had to suppress peer review of contrary scientifc observations that didn’t support their thesis.
    And as I have said above; it is those “charlatans in industry” who support that entire gravy train with their evil profit tax dollars.
    But you are not alone or a new phenomenon; people who swill at the public trough are always the first to complain about their conditions.
    Perhaps if you paid for your opinions out of your own pocket; you might see things a bit more realistically.
    George, can I suggest you take your sarcasm detector in for a tune up?
    I am one of those “charlatans” in industry too … “””
    Richard, I am a unisex, non-denominational, equal opportunity sarcastigator; so my literary works are available to anybody to wear if the shoe fits; or discard when not applicable.
    Glad to hear I’m not carrying this load all by myself !

  157. The paper makes the claim that increased CO2 levels block the assimilation of nitrogen from nitrates in the soil. It is not a case of depletion of nutrients in the soil or of less N2 in the atmosphere. It is a biochemical assimilation mechanism that is affected.

  158. “[…] as lower protein levels in plants will force both people and pests to consume more plant material to meet their nutritional requirements,” Bloom said. […]“
    Do these fools think humans are bovine? Why not allow cows to eat more plant material and we eat more cows? Why would we eat more wheat? Why not other froms of protein? How did beans, nuts and other high protein vegetables do in the ‘study’? Or did they not bother to check?
    The studys’ assumptions are utter crap based on GIGO models. :o)

  159. Somebody needs a “grant application” refresher course, this argument seems rather weak. It has CO2, and a scary scenario, but just seems to be lacking something….
    I don’t recall seeing the word “catastrophic”, that might help?

  160. Richard Sharpe says:
    May 14, 2010 at 11:58 am
    I am sorry Dr P.H, but I put my faith in the Peer Review Process. It is fool proof and the way to true enlightenment. You have been fooled by those charlatans in industry again!
    ———
    REPLY: Sorry, Richie, I’ve studied the impact of greenhouse gases since 1979, concentrating upon methane flux from wetlands and methane mitigation from animal manure and wastewater treatment. I’ve published in peer-reviewed journals and know the business well, being in the field of public health.
    The charlatans that bother me are the cabal of climatologists who attempt to manipulate public opinion with nonsense like this drivel from UC Davis.
    The buildup of carbon dioxide doesn’t concern me nearly as much as mercury accumulation in the food chain from coal combustion. That’s what I’d like to see industry focus on, rather than carbon dioxide.

  161. A wealth of information about CO2 concentration and nitrogen activity can be found here.
    In one peer reviewed article from 2005 it was found that in durum wheat the nitrogen level in the leaves decreased with higher CO2 but at the same time the nitrogen level in the stems and seeds increased. Both biomass and grain yields increased under all nutrient and water regimes where CO2 was higher. This agrees with article which is the subject of this post. The authors measured the leaf nitrogen content and found it lower with increased CO2. However, they failed (purposely?) to grow the plants to maturity and measure the nitrogen content in the seed. It appears that the plants in the higher CO2 regime are able to use less nitrogen to generate more leaf mass and then deposit the excess nitrogen in the seeds where it will be of benefit to the next generation.

    Atmospheric CO2 and Syrian Wheat Production
    ——————————————————————————–
    Reference
    Kaddour, A.A. and Fuller, M.P. 2004. The effect of elevated CO2 and drought on the vegetative growth and development of durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.) cultivars. Cereal Research Communications 32: 225-232.
    What was done
    The authors grew three commercial cultivars of durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.) registered in Syria (Cham 1, Cham 3 and Cham 5) from seed in 10-liter pots in different compartments of a phytotron, half of which compartments were maintained at an atmospheric CO2 concentration of approximately 400 ppm and half of which were maintained at a concentration of approximately 1000 ppm. Half of each of these treatments were further subdivided into two soil water treatments: well-watered, where available water content (AWC) was replenished to 90% of full capacity when it had dropped to 60%, and water-stressed, where AWC was replenished to 70% of full capacity when it had dropped to 45%.
    What was learned
    Averaged over the three cultivars, the extra 600 ppm of CO2 supplied to the CO2-enriched compartments led to total plant biomass increases of 62% in the well-watered treatment and 60% in the water-stressed treatment. Also of interest was the fact that the extra CO2 led to increases in the nitrogen concentrations of stems and ears. In the case of ears, nitrogen concentration was increased by 22% in the well-watered plants and by 16% in the water-stressed plants.
    What it means
    “These results,” according to Kaddour and Fuller, “have important implications for the production of durum wheat in the future.” They state, for example, that “yields can be expected to rise as atmospheric CO2 levels rise,” and that “this increase in yield can be expected under both water restricted and well irrigated conditions.” Hence, as they continue, “where water availability (irrigation) is a prime limiting economic resource, it can be distributed more effectively under higher CO2 conditions,” and “for countries such as Syria where average national production is well below the physiological maximum due largely to drought stress, the predicted rise in atmospheric CO2 could have a positive effect on production.”

    The UC Davis study of wheat and mustard going only so far as nitrogen content of the leaves is borderline fraud if you ask me. This whole freaking AGW movement is replete with fraud. Heads need to roll. Lots of them from both academia and governments and media. Sorry to be so crude and angry but this stunt from UC Davis really chafed my hide after just a little bit of investigation of the prior art revealed its unscrupulous nature.

  162. Freezedried says:
    May 14, 2010 at 4:55 pm
    Perhaps less protein is a good thing.
    http://heartscanblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/blame-gluten.html

    You left the ‘L’ off the end of the link and it didn’t work as a result. Fixed it for ya. Good article on the adverse health effects of wheat glutens, by the way. It’s exactly what I was alluding to in my first comment in this thread.

  163. Good info here:
    Wheat Production in Stressed Environments
    The page the link goes to has a nice table on it with not just leaf nitrogen content but the grain as well in various conditions of nitrogen deficiency, heat stress, and CO2 concentrations. In normal nitrogenous soil and with no heat stress the protein content of the grain increased slightly with a doubling of CO2 in all three tested strains but more importantly the total dry weight of the grain increased by large amounts with increased CO2 under ALL regimes including nitrogen deprivation and heat stress. The plain fact of the matter is that total yield of grain and protein increased in all regimes where CO2 concentration was doubled and it increased by a huge amount under normal conditions. There is more info in the pages before and after the one I linked.

  164. Any wheat farmer knows that anything that increases the yield of wheat will decrease the protein % given a fixed amount of available N. That’s why when conditions are more ideal for wheat during a particular growing season than expected, the yield is high but the protein is low. This is exactly what happened in 2009 by the way. Because the spring was so wet and wheat plantings were so late, most farmers assumed the yield would be low, so they did not put on much N. However, the cool summer was ideal for wheat and resulted in record yields but low protein because the farmers did not apply enough N for the yield.
    The following link from NITROGEN MANAGEMENT FOR HARD WHEAT PROTEIN ENHANCEMENT by Brad Brown, Extension Crop Management Specialist explains why:
    http://www.cals.uidaho.edu/swidaho/Nutrient%20Management/increasing_wheat_protein.htm
    It states “As available moisture increases due to higher rainfall, yield increases while protein decreases. Protein decreases because the plant’s requirement for N increases as yield increases, and wheat will use limited available N primarily for increasing yield by increasing head number, seed number, or seed size. Even under irrigation, the first increment of N, when available N is low, is used by wheat for increasing yield at the expense of seed protein. It is not unusual under low N conditions for the first increment of N added to actually reduce grain protein. Only when most of the N required for yield has been supplied will further N additions raise protein. At this point, when additional N increases protein, the protein increase is directly related to the amount applied.”
    So the reason increased CO2 reduces protein is because it increases YIELD. If you know the yield is going to increase, you just add more N and you then keep the protein % high as well.
    There are so many people that know this, who are not even scientists, that its amazing the article passed peer review.

  165. To re-formulate my previous comment: are we talking about the nutritional value of the fruit or the root, the germ or the bran, the berry or the bramble? Some spit out their watermelon seeds, some don’t, some skin their potatoes, some don’t, there are browsers and grazers, sapsuckers and termites, bark beetles and honey bees, aphids and elephants. If you are going to do nutrition, be specific.

  166. Sorry about the double comment a few back. I must have used a word in it that triggered the WordPress spam filter and the moderator had to dig it out of the spam queue manually. I tried changing a single word and resubmitted but it still didn’t show up. Now both of them appeared. I moderated a popular wordpress blog for a few years so I know there are certain words used by spammers (“p i l l” is one of them thanks to v i a g r a spammers and unfortunately “p i l l o w” trips it too. Sometimes a user’s name has a verboten word buried in it and every one of their comments lands in the spam queue. If you have hundreds of spam comments to sort through daily where the vast majority actually are spam then it’s quite a chore to read them all looking for the odd one coming from a legitimate user. I thank the moderators here for their tireless efforts – I know how much time it takes to run a clean & popular wordpress blog.
    [Reply: Thanks, most folks have no idea how tedious it is to sort through the hundreds of spams a day, in addition to moderating/approving several hundred more posts that appear in the comment queue. Your post fixed, BTW. ~dbs, mod.]

  167. There should be a campaign to inform Lisa Jackson at the EPA that co2 is not a pollutant. Yes, she has said it is.

  168. Roger Carr says:
    May 14, 2010 at 12:44 am
    oldseadog says: (May 14, 2010 at 12:20 am) How does this fit with the tomato growers in the Netherlands who put added CO2, up to 1500ppm I have read, into the greenhouses and get better yields?
    It probably fits well, because the research here does not seem to dispute “bigger” but does question “better”. We need to know the comparative nutritional values between the with and the without tomatoes before making a judgement on this basis. oldseadog.

    More food to eat is better. If the food is larger with “the same” nutritional value that smaller food had then there’s more to eat. That’s better. Who could question that? I’m sure you agree.
    But just in case you don’t you could take a trip to Africa, or the Philippines, etc., and tell the people there less food is better because if they had more food of the same nutritional value then that isn’t better. 😉

  169. @moderators
    I moderated a little differently than you guys but I think my way resulted in a lot fewer comments. It also resulted in a lot less time spent moderating. The big difference is I required registration to post a comment. Creating an account and logging in likely discouraged a lot of casual one-time commenters. Then I had the mode enabled where the first comment from any new user automatically landed in the moderation queue and all subsequent comments until the first comment had been approved. If the first comment didn’t appear to be from a troublemaker (we had lots of them) I’d add his email address to the first level (I called it the gray list) spam filter so all his subsequent comments would land in the moderation queue. If after a time the commenter proved to be well behaved and well meaning I’d remove his email address from the gray list and he/she would then be free to comment at will without moderation. If the new user turned out to be a headache (quality, combativeness, rude, crude, or otherwise socially or intellectually unacceptable) I’d move his email address to the blacklist provided by the Akismet service (wordpress add-on) and then subsequent comments would land in the Akismet spam queue. As a result I could pretty quickly scan the Akismet list where legitimate comments stood out from the spam like a sore thumb and the regular WordPress moderation queue didn’t have an awful lot in it as most of the users were in the trusted (unmoderated) category.
    For a few dedicated trolls who’d create new accounts under new names and behave long enough to get unmoderated I’d resort to using an IP block in the web server itself. There were only a few IP blocks accumulated over a few years. Our activity level was about a quarter million page views a month which is probably quite a bit short of WUWT these days. It took me about 15 minutes every day to do the recurring moderation chores using that scheme and most of the users saw their comments published immediately. What sometimes took a little more time was explaining to some users why their comments were all moderated while other users’ comments were not moderated.
    [REPLY – Well, we who question (the extent of) AGW are sensitive to the heavy hand of censorship so prevalent on nearly all AGW blogs. So Anthony, in the spirit of Liberalism Classic, likes to let folks to have their say as far as reasonable. We will occasionally clip and snip but we like to keep that to a minimum. ~ Evan]

  170. ~SNIP~
    …They are going to save the earth by stopping those silly scientists that want to pull all the co2 out of the atmosphere.
    What a spin? The scientists just want us to return to the levels of preindustrial times(280ppm) and stop mans increase of it, the earth just worked fine at those levels. I havent heard one scientist tell us they want to get our levels down below that? just reduce man’s contribution.
    What most dont understand is that even though emissions from man are only a fraction of the total co2 emissions on top of what nature does, there is no mechanism to absorb the extra man puts in, the result is what we put up there is accumulating, that is why we have 40% higher co2 than 100 years ago.
    Back to the co2 will stop us starving? So where are all the bumper crops we should be getting know with 40% higher co2, not happening unless its in a greenhouse where there is plenty of water, nutrients etc! Co2 is hardly the limiting factor in any crop, in my part of the world its H20 and our crops have suffered because of less of it due to guess what…..a change in climate……have a think about why that may be!
    Its a fool’s folly to suggest that more co2 will be good for agriculture, there are plenty of other known affects to agriculture, for example some pests thrive on co2 enriched plants……bet we wont here about that from [~SNIP~ Don’t use that word here. First and last warning. ~dbs, mod.]

  171. The reduction in protein is not a problem. UC Davis created the crude protein test used around the world to judge food stuffs value. You know, the one that allows the use of melamine to improve the test values. Just add more melamine, problem solved..
    Food and livestock feeding scientists have been telling them that this is a poorly designed test for over 50 years but they insist that it is good enough and everyone must keep using it as it is approved by the USDA.

  172. @ TA says:
    May 14, 2010 at 4:08 pm
    It is possible that they have a valid concern. A lower percentage of protein would not be contradicted by the fact that plants grow better with more CO2, because plant growth I believe is largely supported by cellulose, not protein (please correct me if I’m wrong here). It is also consistent with the fact that tomatoes grow better with more CO2: I don’t know why we couldn’t have a higher yield of tomatoes at the same time that we have a lower percentage of protein in the tomatoes.”
    You’d have to eat a whole tomato to get any appreciable amount of protein out of it, and even then, red tomatoes don’t compare to yellow tomatoes for protein. Your average red tomato has about 2.18 g protein (and 42 kcal, which means a whopping 8 calories from protein out of that tomato).
    We eat tomatoes for the vitamin C, not the protein.
    And let’s not forget that the processing AFTER the crop is harvested strips more nutrients out of it. The wheat flour we get is unrecognizable as wheat, to be honest, and not a good choice anyway. Wheat flour is one of the most common food allergens although true wheat allergy is still rare–many people are sensitive to it, though. It’s hard to avoid cross-contamination between wheat, oats, barley, and rye. Worse, most people with wheat allergy are also allergic to soy in addition to wheat, oats, barley, and rye–they use rice instead, although they can also use wheat-free millet flour, buckwheat, flax seed meal, corn meal, quinoa flour, or chia seed flour.

  173. Merovign says:
    May 14, 2010 at 10:50 am
    “…..I’ve moved from the “I have questions” camp to the “what an obvious fraud” camp. There are so many confounding factors that attributing them all to simple errors just isn’t believable.
    I may be nearing the end of my “always assume error rather than malfeasance” days.”

    ________________________________________________________________________
    After being fired for refusing to falsify a Certificate of Analysis, I moved to the “follow the money” camp.

  174. Enneagram says:
    May 14, 2010 at 8:00 am
    The problem is not CO2 but who owns LAND in practice, if the farmers then it is OK, if the BANKS then we are back to Monarchy times, call it PLUTOCRATIC times if you wish, the ARISTOCRACY of a very small world banking elite.
    Back in the 18th century land was owned by the land-lords, these were independent from the banks. Peasant were supposed to be slaves, though they could know, even be friends of their landlords. Revolutions changed this, democratizing property, but, as the wheel turned around through banks and through the Genetically Modified Seeds, which are STERILE (farmers can not obtain their own seeds), land is really owned by the very few worlwide land lords. You were free, now you became employees, clerks, servants, not even free peasants.
    _________________________________________________________________________
    You got it in one. That is why the World Trade Organization came up with livestock “traceability” Here in the USA we are supposed to attach a “premises ID” to our land deeds as a permanent encumberance. A Premises ID removes the property owners Constitutional property rights and demotes him into a “stakeholder” that is one who holds property until the rightful owner takes possession. All livestock is also supposed to be numbered and tracked. Farmers are fighting this tooth and nail.
    It was killed in Wisconsin – WI Judge Kills Premise ID But it just will not stay dead
    Wisconsin DATCP begins Agriculture police state
    In this case the state of Wisconsin is actually trying to confiscate the farm using civil forfieture laws.

  175. Donald Duck says:
    May 14, 2010 at 11:11 am
    It’s funny to see how people here feel like being scientists.
    ________________________________________________________________________
    That is because many of the people here ARE scientists, and yes that is based on the statistics for the website. I did not save the link but it was shown within the month.

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