Plants encouraged as CO2 levels reach 400 ppm

Guest Opinion: Dr. Tim Ball is writing on behalf of the plants.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that global monthly CO2 levels reached 400 ppm. They present this as threatening news, but it is good news for plants and animals. I was involved in a brief to the US Supreme Court opposing the EPA actions on CO2. I proposed we seek Power of Attorney (POA) for the plants. We would vote on behalf of the plants against any attempts to reduce atmospheric CO2 from the current claimed 400 ppm and for any increase, at least to a level of 1200 ppm.

Seeking POA sounds like an environmental stunt for the Sierra Club, or all those who claim to care about plants and animals. Why aren’t they doing it? Why aren’t they proclaiming the good news for the plants and animals they say they care about? The answer is because the facts they have selected for their political agenda on the environment and climate puts them in a completely contradictory position. They know CO2 is critical for plant growth, but only promote planting more trees to reduce atmospheric levels because they have chosen to label CO2 a pollutant. It doesn’t occur to them that increasing the CO2 level enhances plant growth. It creates a moral and philosophical conflict, as they want plants to succeed, but want to reduce the input that makes them successful. They can’t see the forest for the trees.

All life on Earth exists because of CO2. It is essential to flora, which then produce oxygen essential to fauna. Gore and others claim current levels are the highest ever. Others modify that claim arguing it is the highest in 650,000 years. That figure is convenient because it sounds like a long time. The levels are based Antarctic ice core data, which are clearly created artificially low to achieve the slope necessary for the political agenda against post-industrial CO2.

The longer geologic record produced by Scotese and Bernier (Figure 1) shows that for most of Earth’s history the level was well above the current level. The only time when levels were commensurate with today was from 315 million years ago (mya) to 270 mya, yet for over half of that period temperature was similar to today.

Most plants, especially the complex vascular plants evolved in the last 300 million years. The average level of atmospheric CO2 over that period was approximately 1200 ppm.


Figure 12

This suggests that most plants evolved with an optimum level of 1200 ppm.

The work of Sherwood and Craig Idso supports this value as reported extensively in their research at their web site. Commercial greenhouse operators also use this information as they pump in CO2 to enhance yields. Figure 2 shows a commercial CO2 generator advertised as follows:

Normally there are approximately 300 parts per million (PPM) of CO2 in the atmosphere; when this level is increased to over 1000 PPM, it results in higher production and better plant quality. The Johnson Generator provides up to 1500 PPM per unit in a 4800 square foot (446 square meter) greenhouse. By adding CO2, especially during the winter months when greenhouse ventilators are closed and when low CO2 concentration becomes a limiting factor in growth, growers are obtaining yield and bloom quality similar to that which is normally associated with spring and summer conditions.


Commercial CO2 Generator

Figure 2


It’s possible the company is promoting a product merely to enhance sales but consider the benefits set out by the Ontario government

During particular times of the year in new greenhouses, and especially in double-glazed structures that have reduced air exchange rates, the carbon dioxide levels can easily drop below 340 ppm which has a significant negative effect on the crop. Ventilation during the day can raise the CO2 levels closer to ambient but never back to ambient levels of 340 ppm. Supplementation of CO2 is seen as the only method to overcome this deficiency and increasing the level above 340 ppm is beneficial for most crops. The level to which the CO2 concentration should be raised depends on the crop, light intensity, temperature, ventilation, stage of the crop growth and the economics of the crop. For most crops the saturation point will be reached at about 1,000–1,300 ppm under ideal circumstances. A lower level (800–1,000 ppm) is recommended for raising seedlings (tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers) as well as for lettuce production. Even lower levels (500–800 ppm) are recommended for African violets and some Gerbera varieties. Increased CO2 levels will shorten the growing period (5%–10%), improve crop quality and yield, as well as, increase leaf size and leaf thickness. The increase in yield of tomato, cucumber and pepper crops is a result of increased numbers and faster flowering per plant.


The irony is this comes from a government planning a carbon tax to reduce atmospheric CO2 levels. In their “climate change solution,” they introduced a cap and trade designed to

“set a limit on the amount of greenhouse gas pollution that can be emitted.”

The phrase “greenhouse gas pollution” is false. CO2 is not a pollutant. However, once that assumption is made emotion rather than facts produce policy that contradicts reality.

If someone had POA for the plants, they could speak against the insane claim of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that CO2 is a “harmful substance”. EPA even convinced the US Supreme Court, supposedly the wisest people in the land, of this falsity.

Plants are delighted that CO2 levels are now 400 ppm and rising. They would also vote, with numbers well in excess of the human vote of approximately 6.5 billion, to oppose any legislation or attempts to reduce those levels. They also hope you enjoy the oxygen they provide for a life, not just a better life.

123 thoughts on “Plants encouraged as CO2 levels reach 400 ppm

  1. A potential bonus of those CO2 generators is that they also produce heat. When plants get all the yummy CO2 they need, they also benefit from significantly warmer temperatures than they can tolerate when they are starving. So although the heat ouput of those generators can be a minus in hot regions, it is a big plus in cooler regions. It reminds plants of the good old days.

      • It would be if phony water crises weren’t the next thing on the agenda (since ocean assification (sic) quite possibly has died stillborn)

    • “All life on Earth exists because of CO2. It is essential to flora, which then produce oxygen essential to fauna.”
      Not to mention the fact that one way or another, all fauna depend on plants for food. The ENTIRE biosphere is more lush, and more energetic because of the increased CO2.

      • Here’s a ideer: find some sequestered old carbon deposits and burn them, thereby re-introducing them to the bio-carbon cycle. Anyone know where to find some?

  2. Reblogged this on Starvin Larry and commented:
    Outstanding !
    Rivals anything the Sierra Club,NRDC,Earthfirst,Earthjustice,Greenpeace,or any of the other environmental zealots have come up with-too bad it doesn’t fit their agenda.
    This must be spread far&wide,reprinted in the NY Times, HUffPo and WaPO !
    Lawsuits must be filed to stop the efforts to reduce CO2 levels so we can save the plants!
    Protests must be organized !
    Parade floats made
    Posters and signage printed up
    Catchy slogans must be thought up
    More experiments must be done to show that low CO2 levels harm plants
    Pictures of dying plants must be taken
    A polar bear on an ice floe equivalent must be thought of
    The possibilities are endless…

  3. I pump CO2 into my aquarium and the plants are as lush as they could possibly be, not to mention the happy fish that have a nice environment to swim around in.

    • The sun’s output over the billions of years is increasing as it ages, according to astrophysics theory that has not changed since a time before manmade increase of atmospheric CO2 became a significant issue.
      Also, some of the lack of correlation in the past 570 million years is due to temperature being largely constant at an upper clipping level caused by the lapse rate feedback, while CO2 levels varied. Another factor was the position of continents, which has not been constant. The world has been cooler, even for a given CO2 level, when Antarctica has been where it is ice covered, than when when it was not.

      • A great mystery of tectonics is that there has nearly always been a continent at the south pole, ice covered or not, and never one at the north pole.

      • gymnosperm said on May 9, 2015 at 8:51 pm
        “A great mystery of tectonics is that there has nearly always been a continent at the south pole, ice covered or not, and never one at the north pole.”
        I think James Hansen explained this mystery quite well – or was it Piltdown Mann?
        “Well duuh! It’s because the South Pole is on the bottom, like I mean, like, gravity, y’ know?”

    • We see that plot a lot, as well as that tootie fruity colored one up higher in the thread.
      Does anybody know how credible they are. The colored one seems to show there is a temperature limit above which the earth temperature cannot go, and it doesn’t seem that high
      I’m just not that impressed by some of those way back proxies for this and that.

      • The upper diagram by Scotese and Berner has high credibillity by two highly respected geoscientists. I know both and can vouch for them.

      • As I recall, Mr. Eschenbach has hypothesized quite persuasively that there are mechanisms in nature that limit how high temperatures can go; I think thunderstorms figured strongly in that view. I share your skepticism concerning proxies: Look at how much mileage the pine tree proxy gave to the East Anglia “team” and Michael Mann in deriving the “hockey stick” graph–now long since shown to be nonsense and fakery. Properly read, and appropriately balanced against other, conflicting proxies, doubtless proxies can tell us something, at least in terms of probability; but one would be foolish to trust them too far.

      • George E, …. they are basically the same graph …. except for the earliest temperature proxy.
        How is this for impressive ……………..

        Dr. Tim Ball
        Most plants, especially the complex vascular plants evolved in the last 300 million years. The average level of atmospheric CO2 over that period was approximately 1200 ppm.

        And an even more impressive fact is that between 542 million and 500 million years ago, during the Cambrian Explosion, was when most major animal phyla evolved, …. as well as major diversification of other organisms ….. and the atmospheric CO2 levels over that period ranged between 5,000 and 7,000 ppm.

      • The plots in the OP and comments are a lazy man’s reproduction of the Geocarb III model means. They leave out the error envelopes which increase in magnitude toward the past. What you want to look at – for atmospheric carbon – is this:
        The real Geocarb III model is well worth studying. Among other facts, Geocarb is the gold standard for long-term geological studies that involve estimates of real paleoclimatic atmospheric chemistry. Methods, assumptions, proxies used and modeling approaches are explicit. One truly outstanding aspect is the strong comparison between the Permian and the present. Geocarb indicates that over the truly long term, biological draw-down of carbon reserves outpaces carbon release. The only conclusion that can be drawn from the Geocarb model is that over geological spans of time, the living system can trigger its own extinction events as atmospheric CO2 becomes too dilute to support primary production.
        Looking at the Permian extinction, it is commonly placed at about 252 MYA. The Siberian Trap formation, commonly blamed for the extinction by those looking for correlated events, is dated to 251 to 250 MYA, which means that the extinction would have preceded the eruptions that created the Siberian traps. So, far from triggering the extinction, the Siberian trap eruptions may have helped the planet recover from the extinction, pumping free carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and giving primary productivity a serious boost.

    • Interesting to follow the decline in CO2 during the Cretaceous period , when what we now see as the massive chalk deposits were being deposited by organisms that clearly enjoyed the warmth, and presumably had adapted to the oceanic pH corresponding to this comparatively high CO2 concentration and temperature. In one of Berner’s papers he talks of high oceanic temperature down to abyss depths . Yet we know that early forms of fish: sharks , rays , coelacanths survived these temperatures and are still with us in much cooler waters .

    • Always wondered if the cause of the pronounced CO2 decline following the Devonian through the Carboniferous was due to the proliferation of land plants of that period as evidenced by the world’s prolific coal seams? That was followed by an increase through the Triassic possibly related to the vast volcanic flood of the Siberian Trapps?
      The western coal seams are Cretaceous in age and may have caused that period’s CO2 decline with help from marine limestone sequestration? Don’t recall any discussion of this relationship.

  4. My red-buds, lyndons and lilacs have never looked better, and just yesterday I was thinking that the lawn looked pretty good. The peat-pots that we use to start our vegetables need to go in the ground right now, the plants are outgrowing them at a unprecedented rate. Wait, this is it, it’s the tipping point for CO2, the plants are taking over …. quick everyone, arm yourself with Roundup.

    • Got some hillbilly buddies that can attest to the outdoor crops growing better and bigger with only natural watering the last few years. Excellent flowers, too

  5. Simple. The Gods of Global Humana Warming, Barak Obama — Pope Holiness — Little Jimmy Hansen — Gavin Der Schmidt — Jonesy Jones at UAE and chief God Al Gore and the New God Figueres at UNFCC do not accept or recognize the evidence that Earth is older than 150 years.
    Otherwise their Nazi plans for murdering humanity for their amusement are … kaput.
    Ja ja

  6. Higher CO2 levels also shrink leaf stoma (breathing holes), which reduces water loss from inside plants, thus making them more drought resistant and requiring less irrigation.
    Especially for arid regions around the world, this added benefit of higher CO2 levels has huge economic, social, nutritional and health benefits.

    • There has been speculation that this is the reason why the deserts have been greening over the last few decades.

  7. “…So when they talk about carbon, do they mean CO2 gas?
    Its two parts oxygen, I learnt that in my class.
    Oxygen we breathe in, CO2 we breathe out,
    And that makes the plants grow, of that there’s no doubt.
    And when they talk about climate do they really mean weather?
    But we can’t predict either; we’re just not that clever.
    Confused and bewildered we just accept new restrictions,
    As politicians frighten us with their false predictions…..”
    Read more:

  8. I dont understand why anyone with even the slightest background in Geology would be anything but heartened by increasing levels of atmospheric CO2. The Biosphere is all about the photosynthesisers – everything else is parasitic. Anything which advatages photosynthesisers is a boon to the biosphere. The crisis which faces the biosphere is its efficiency at sequestering carbon from the atmosphere into the ground as coal oil gas and limestone. Anything that reverses that trend is good news.

    • “…everything else is parasitic.”
      There is indeed something to say for that.
      Thank you for the smile.

      • As carbon-based life forms, people should take a deep breath, and just remember what that actually means. People need to take a bit of a wider (Geological) perspective than the climate alarmists do.
        Have a look at the above graph and note that over 500 million years ( I would argue 3.5 billion years) of geological time the global temperature has been locked between 12 and 22 degrees – anyone who thinks we are going to see a “tipping point” out of that range in the near future can pretty well forget it.
        Also at the crash in atmospheric CO2 during the Carboniferous while huge coal beds were being laid down. And the recovery during the Permian.
        Note also that there appears to be a non-zero base to the atmospheric CO2 – which I imagine is related to the 150ppm point where photosynthesis becomes too inefficient. Plants are no longer able to strip CO2 out of the atmosphere because there just isnt enough there. At the moment we are recovering from the last collapse in atmospheric CO2 – and a jolly good thing too.

  9. Dr. Ball writes this post on behalf of the plants. Was he deputized by The Lorax (Dr. Suess character), who speaks for the trees? Surely The Lorax knows and appreciates the benefits to the trees etc. of 400 ppm carbon dioxide? The Lorax should communicate these benefits to the children.

    • I kinda recall, from Who Framed Roger Rabbit, or some other equally authoritative piece, that the toon characters have a union. Doesn’t hedging in on the Lorax responsibility trigger some kind of civil infraction from the NLRB? After all, big government doesn’t stay big without the support and votes of those Toon characters, or for that matter the votes of the Residents of Shady Lawn Cemetery.

    • Preliminary data: same as at Mauna Lua and at China observatory. Very little deviations around the world.
      Data currently no longer available. Some repair underway. Expect working again by July.

    • Agreed; we’re all going to die. But the death rate is independent of the carbon dioxide level, and remains the same at one death per person, with very small uncertainty.

  10. At first I thought this post was a joke, but since it’s not I’m going to speak my mind. You’re talking about the benefits of CO2 levels increasing, but you’re clearly not thinking about the million negatives that come with that. CO2 makes the greenhouse effect become more intense, which leads to global temperature rising, wich leads to melting of the ice caps, which not only means that the animals in the Artic will die, but it also means that the sea level will increase, flooding lands and killing millions of people and species. Not to mention that, with temperature rising, there will be plagues of mosquitos and the ecosystems will be unbalanced, since there will also be shortage of water. Yeah, that thing you drink, that you’re made of, and that you can’t live without. Gone.

    • Well, Kickassblogger, it’s always nice to see new kids come to the debate. And you must be new, as your lengthy chain of arguments comes fresh from the propaganda mills.
      Unfortunately it breaks down right at the start:
      “CO2 makes the greenhouse effect become more intense, which leads to global temperature rising,”
      CO2 does rise, but temperatures do not:

      • KAB,
        Pretty much. This site does not censor comments, so you will see both sides of the debate. Then you can make up your own mind.
        If you try to keep an open mind and follow the pro and con arguments, you will begin to see that, yes, they do feed you a lot of misinformation. Global warming stopped almost twenty years ago. You won’t hear about that in school.
        This site won the internet’s Best Science & Technology blog award for the past 3 years running. There is plenty of information here. Anthony Watts runs the best climate site on the internet. The knowledge is yours for the taking.

      • KickassBlogger
        May 10, 2015 at 7:22 am
        “Not wanting to sound rude, but… everything we learn at school is wrong?”
        Well let’s just called it… streamlined a little, ok? Slightly resembling reality. Welcome to the learning process!

      • KAB, is everything you learned at school wrong?
        If you went to public school, that’s pretty much a given.

    • CO2 makes the greenhouse effect become more intense, which leads to global temperature rising …

      The basic physics predicts that, all other things being equal, more atmospheric CO2 will result in a temperature rise. The issues are:
      1 – How much temperature rise?
      2 – “All other things being equal” – almost nobody believes that.
      IIRC, the basic physics predicts that doubling the atmospheric CO2 should result in a temperature rise of about a degree and a half.
      To get more warming, the catastrophists rely on positive ‘feedbacks’. The CO2 induced warming causes more evaporation, increasing the water vapor in the atmosphere. That causes even more warming. It is pure hypothesis.
      What is the evidence of positive feedbacks? That, my dear KickassBlogger, is where the discussion is. If you wish to engage the skeptic community you have to get with the program. You can’t simply assert runaway global warming. You have to bring some evidence or at least a defensible hypothesis.

    • KickassBlogger
      It is not surprising that you have had such blunt rejections when you assert such erroneous information.
      I write to introduce you to the scientific method so you can start to determine things for yourself instead of feeding on what you have been fed by those giving you the ‘mushroom treatment’ at school.
      The Null Hypothesis is a fundamental scientific principle and forms the basis of all scientific understanding, investigation and interpretation. Indeed, it is the basic principle of experimental procedure where an input to a system is altered to discern a change: if the system is not observed to respond to the alteration then it has to be assumed the system did not respond to the alteration.
      The Null Hypothesis says it must be assumed a system has not experienced a change unless there is evidence of a change.
      In the case of climate science there is a hypothesis that increased greenhouse gases (GHGs, notably CO2) in the air will increase global temperature. There are good reasons to suppose this hypothesis may be true, but the Null Hypothesis says it must be assumed the GHG changes have no effect unless and until increased GHGs are observed to increase global temperature. That is what the scientific method decrees. It does not matter how certain some people may be that the hypothesis is right because observation of reality (i.e. empiricism) trumps all opinions.
      Please note that the Null Hypothesis is a hypothesis which exists to be refuted by empirical observation. It is a rejection of the scientific method to assert that one can “choose” any subjective Null Hypothesis one likes. There is only one Null Hypothesis: i.e. it has to be assumed a system has not changed unless it is observed that the system has changed.
      However, deciding a method which would discern a change may require a detailed statistical specification.
      In the case of global climate in the Holocene, no recent climate behaviours are observed to be unprecedented so the Null Hypothesis decrees that the climate system has not changed.
      Importantly, an effect may be real but not overcome the Null Hypothesis because it is too trivial for the effect to be observable. Human activities have some effect on global temperature for several reasons. An example of an anthropogenic effect on global temperature is the urban heat island (UHI): cities are warmer than the land around them, so cities cause some warming. But the temperature rise from cities is too small to be detected when averaged over the entire surface of the planet, although this global warming from cities can be estimated by measuring the warming of all cities and their areas.
      Clearly, the Null Hypothesis decrees that UHI is not affecting global temperature although there are good reasons to think UHI has some effect. Similarly, it is very probable that AGW from GHG emissions are too trivial to have observable effects.
      The feedbacks in the climate system are negative and, therefore, any effect of increased CO2 will be probably too small to discern because natural climate variability is much, much larger. This concurs with the empirically determined values of low climate sensitivity.
      Empirical – n.b. not model-derived – determinations indicate climate sensitivity is less than 1.0°C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 equivalent. This is indicated by the studies of
      Idso from surface measurements
      and Lindzen & Choi from ERBE satellite data
      and Gregory from balloon radiosonde data
      Indeed, because climate sensitivity is less than 1.0°C for a doubling of CO2 equivalent, it is physically impossible for the man-made global warming to be large enough to be detected (just as the global warming from UHI is too small to be detected). If something exists but is too small to be detected then it only has an abstract existence; it does not have a discernible existence that has effects (observation of the effects would be its detection).
      To date there are no discernible effects of AGW. Hence, the Null Hypothesis decrees that AGW does not affect global climate to a discernible degree. That is the ONLY scientific conclusion possible at present.

    • Dear Mr Ass, look up the theory of CO2 being a greenhouse gas (except when it in a greenhouse see the article) there seems to be one theory and two experiments both with more holes than swiss cheese, then there are facts that dont comply with wonky theory! or you could follow the money either way IF your mind is open you will see!

    • KB, read geology first, then paleontology, then climatology, THEN climate science. In the interstices read some chemistry and physics. Also take some time and read Kurt Goedel’s incompleteness theorem’s and consider the implications for mathematical models. There is quite literally no empirical evidence to support the dire predictions of runaway global warming. If such events were possible in the real world, they would already have occurred, hundreds of millions of years ago. As it is, they are only known to occur in computer models.
      There are plenty of genuine pollutants and toxins that really are worth being concerned about, especially ones that get into drinking water. CO2 is not on that list.

  11. “They present this as threatening news…”
    Brother dr Tim, on your link I could only find a series of facts……

    • Most of the public can only understand one variable and not how multiple variables affect an issue/situation.
      So just use the one CO2 variable and harp on that. Don’t mention any other variables affecting climate?

      • Barbara, that’s true even in science. Laboratory experiments offer clues to how two variables, e.g. LWIR and CO2 interact, but the behaviour of that simple system within a larger system becomes unpredictably complex quite rapidly as new elements are added to the system. In many sciences this problem of complexity has lead to a reliance on mathematics and mathematical models – not necessarily a bad thing – but it is not often clearly stated that the models are limited to mathematical behaviours and do not necessarily parallel real-world phenomena perfectly.

  12. I learned in a prior thread that there are some here who may well not believe in evolution. But, for those that do believe in evolution, let us consider the fact that plant life has evolved to want CO2 in much higher concentrations than the current 400 ppm. Think on that for a moment.
    Dr. Ball states, “Most plants, especially the complex vascular plants evolved in the last 300 million years. The average level of atmospheric CO2 over that period was approximately 1200 ppm.” And we know that commercial greenhouse operations (the real kind) pump in CO2 to 1200 – 1500 ppm to get their greenery to grow better.
    This is an argument that even the scientifically uneducated (most of today’s graduates) can understand. Plants evolved in an atmosphere where CO2 was much higher and yet there was no “runaway global heating”. Add that to the fact that the present interglacial is nearly to its sell-by date. (we are near the end of the interglacial according to the length of past interglacials)
    For those of us educated two generations ago, the thoughts of the alarmists and even most of the luke-warmers are hard to fathom. The basic laws of physics and of biology tell us that CO2 is our friend. Why do people buy the activist’s claptrap?

  13. Now I know why my tomato plants look fantastic – when I get them from the store.

  14. i listened to a radio program yesterday on how climate change was affecting plants in new england. They said the changing climate was affecting plants negatively and plants were moving north but they didn’t give any specifics besides invasive species. It sounded very concerning and alarming.
    I was wondering if the temps haven’t changed much at all in 18 years than how would the temps be changing the plants? I understand the co2 can change them but she didn’t even mention that. She said that the warmer nights were doing this. Are the nights really that much warmer now on average in New England in that time frame? Is that a stretch to say they ar affecting plants negatively there?
    I love public radio

    • I have grown plants and trees for a living, and done it quite well.
      I have grown food crops for personal consumption since being grade school.
      I have studied each of the relevant disciplines (Duster has a nice little starter list here: both formally and on an ongoing and informal basis.
      The notion that higher temps are somehow bad for plants is utter nonsense.
      It is the opposite of the truth, for the vast majority of food crops and ornamentals.
      If given enough water, more heat, especially higher overnight lows, will cause faster growth in plants.
      And given higher CO2, the need for water is decreased.
      Add it all up, and plants love a hot CO2 rich world.
      Hogwash to argue otherwise.

  15. Increased atmospheric CO2 in addition to reducing growing time and increasing yield reduces water loss in plants.
    C3 plants (trees, cereal crops, and shrubs) lose roughly 50% of the water they absorb due to transrespiration (loss of water from the plant’s stomata.) When CO2 rises C3 plants produce less stomata which reduces water loss in the plant.. This results in more water at the root of the plant which enables synergistic bacteria on the roots to produce more nitrogen byproducts which increases plant growth.
    A higher level of atmospheric CO2 enables plants to make more effective use of water and enables the plant to survive in regions of low water such as deserts. Higher levels of atmospheric CO2 are beneficial to biosphere.

    Greenhouse Gas Might Green Up The Desert; Weizmann Institute Study Suggests That Rising Carbon Dioxide Levels Might Cause Forests To Spread Into Dry Environments
    The Weizmann team found, to its surprise, that the Yatir forest is a substantial “sink” (CO2-absorbing site): its absorbing efficiency is similar to that of many of its counterparts in more fertile lands. These results were unexpected since forests in dry regions are considered to develop very slowly, if at all, and thus are not expected to soak up much carbon dioxide (the more rapidly the forest develops the more carbon dioxide it needs, since carbon dioxide drives the production of sugars). However, the Yatir forest is growing at a relatively quick pace, and is even expanding further into the desert.
    Plants need carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, which leads to the production of sugars. But to obtain it, they must open pores in their leaves and consequently lose large quantities of water to evaporation. The plant must decide which it needs more: water or carbon dioxide. Yakir suggests that the 30 percent increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide since the start of the industrial revolution eases the plant’s dilemma. Under such conditions, the plant doesn’t have to fully open the pores for carbon dioxide to seep in – a relatively small opening is sufficient. Consequently, less water escapes the plant’s pores. This efficient water preservation technique keeps moisture in the ground, allowing forests to grow in areas that previously were too dry.

    The green shoots of recovery are showing up on satellite images of regions including the Sahel, a semi-desert zone bordering the Sahara to the south that stretches some 2,400 miles (3,860 kilometers).
    Images taken between 1982 and 2002 revealed extensive regreening throughout the Sahel, according to a new study in the journal Biogeosciences.
    The study suggests huge increases in vegetation in areas including central Chad and western Sudan.
    In the eastern Sahara area of southwestern Egypt and northern Sudan, new trees—such as acacias—are flourishing, according to Stefan Kröpelin, a climate scientist at the University of Cologne’s Africa Research Unit in Germany.
    “Shrubs are coming up and growing into big shrubs. This is completely different from having a bit more tiny grass,” said Kröpelin, who has studied the region for two decades

    • It’s worth noting that the earlier (2003) article (Weizmann) attributes the effect to CO2, but the later (2009) Nat Geo one only cites increased rainfall with no mention of CO2, although over those intervening 6 years temps were relatively flat and CO2 went up. Looks like Nat Geo got the “CO2 bad, must be something else” message…

      • Nat Geo got the “CO2 bad, must be something else” message… Indeed, they have been plagued by the same disease of biased journalism as SA, Discover and other magazines.
        They’ve all been corrupted by agenda-driven progressive politics.

  16. Prince Chuckles “talks” to plants, but I doubt they listen. They know he’s a bone-head, wanting to deprive them of food.

  17. “They present this as threatening news…”

    Without a climate theory that has predicted individual climate catastrophes or trends of climate catastrophes, the term “threatening” is meaningless and becomes a non-scientific value judgment.
    In that sense it appears NOAAs and other activists strive to create a perception that increased CO2, specifically human CO2 is due to human failure of biblical proportions.

  18. Practically everything written by the alarmists is fundamentally flawed by neglecting the positive component of marginal CO2 concentration. The only thing that matters is the NET externality. Failure to do the subtraction is an error that the utilization of all the advanced math in existence cannot rectify. Subtraction is taught in kindergarten. Perhaps Universities should offer a refresher course.

    • Math is of no use when one is pursuing an agenda of supreme importance. When the means is justified by the end, math must conform or be discarded. It is a brave new world, after all. GK

  19. The best example is the last glacial maximum.
    With lower CO2 and reduced precipitation, the planet only had a few places where trees and bushes were growing. Our ice age ancestors lived in the deserts and the C4 grasslands. The planet looked nothing like today. There were NO vegetarians at the time because they was no vegetables, fruit, nuts or berries. The human diet was the animals which ate grass, of which there was a lot.
    Look for light blue, or green in this map to see where the trees and vegetables grew. With CO2 at 185 ppm, the planet sustains 500,000 people.

    • Very true. The decline in CO2 from the Mesozoic onwards eventually led to the demise of forest in large areas of Africa where they were replaced by savannah. I wonder if this would reverse if CO2 did reach 1200 ppm. I suspect not because in the pre savannah era, grass had not yet evolved but now it would probably out compete the trees.

    • An Angel cries every time a Co2 generator is sold. It must piss off the alarmists that such a product exists. And while they extol GMO food manufacturers, who likely account for the lions share of these devices…hang on, I’m using logic.

  20. There are several points I’ve started to emphasize in my own discussion of this topic, two in particular. One is that plants can and have been shown in greenhouse studies to grow between 10 and 15% more in a season at 400 ppm CO_2 than the do at the pre-industrial levels of <300 ppm. That means that roughly 1 billion people are fed every day on the surplus agricultural production resulting from the increase. Somehow WHO is omitting these people when they allege that some tiny fraction of this number are being killed by global warming in spite of the fact that one cannot possibly attribute a single death to carbon dioxide, whether or not it caused some fraction of the < 0.8 C of planetary warming observed over the last 165 or so years. All of their attributions are via enormously weak chains of evidence and extrapolation of statistics with no direct evidence whatsoever. There is really no question about the billion people who didn't starve because of it.
    The second is that carbon dioxide fertilization is a confounding factor in "dendroclimatology" that seems not to have been considered at all in the various tree-ring proxy reconstructions of past climates. I first noted that when reading a study of tree rings in the Phillipines where temperatures and rainfall basically had been unaltered but tree rings showed a pattern of steady increase (as if the temperatures were "increasing" too). Somehow, nobody thought to correct for the 10 to 15% expected increase in growth rates due to the CO_2 alone, even in a climate that was known to have experienced no statistically significant variation over the period in question.
    In fact, CO_2 alone has produced a “hockey stick” in plant growth nearly everywhere. Plant stoma are actively shrinking (as happens when CO_2 is abundant enough as partial pressure increases diffusion rates to where smaller stoma suffice). Smaller stoma means plants are more drought tolerant and generally healthier and more robust. If CO_2 continues to increase, it may or may not cause a dramatic uptick in planetary temperatures, but we can be nearly certain that there will be a dramatic uptick in the overall productivity of the biosphere.

    • rgbatduke

      The second is that carbon dioxide fertilization is a confounding factor in “dendroclimatology” that seems not to have been considered at all in the various tree-ring proxy reconstructions of past climates. I first noted that when reading a study of tree rings in the Phillipines where temperatures and rainfall basically had been unaltered but tree rings showed a pattern of steady increase (as if the temperatures were “increasing” too). Somehow, nobody thought to correct for the 10 to 15% expected increase in growth rates due to the CO_2 alone, even in a climate that was known to have experienced no statistically significant variation over the period in question.

      I have been asking that for a while – specifically, about the re-calibration for tree growth against CO2 increase since the mid 1950s . And we have heard nothing from Mann about what he does to even recognize that factor.
      Perhaps we should ask warrenlb – after all, if it is not peer-reviewed published, it doesn’t exist, right? 8<)

      • It would require extra effort to be negative about this subject. Warrenlb might not comment, due to lack of proper programming.

  21. I wonder if it’s possible that, as CO2 levels rise, there will be cases where plants see a major step upward in total productivity as genes that are usually turned off due to low levels start activating (especially when combined with rain and other growth boosting conditions).
    It’s being seen everywhere you look, trees growing faster than normal and with leaves bigger than usual, pollen counts for the record books, garden plants that have suddenly become jumbo-sized compared to previous years and decades (this just happened to the flowering plants at my grandmother’s house), lawn grass that needs mowing more often as the yard starts developing faster growing patches with more brilliant shades of green ect…
    Why would plant lovers want to see CO2 levels drop now?

  22. Good article. When will the demonization of CO2 cease? A rhetorical question, and I guess the answer is when it becomes politically expedient. Dissemination of this sort of information should help.

  23. I wonder what liberals would think of a “plant rights” campaign to mimic the “animal rights” activism some engage in. We could forgive the vegetarians among the populace for the diet, but suggest that perhaps some people are now going a bit too far in their anti-plant attitudes in their war against CO2. They should consider being more compassionate and tolerant of the desire of many to support healthy plant growth in a more sustainable fashion than the years of CO2 deprivation they’ve had to suffer in the past. Long live the plants! 🙂

  24. What a fine post, top to bottom. Veritable scientists chime in with comments even a lawyer can understand. Can CO2 also promote the growth of hope?

  25. Reblogged this on Public Secrets and commented:
    Something else climate alarmists don’t like to consider, because the truth is an abomination in their cult: rising levels of CO2 are generally good for plant life, as CO2 is plant food, and more plants means more food for humans. Maybe that’s why they don’t like it, since climate alarmists also tend to be Malthusians at heart.

  26. I get the impression that plants evolved to be too efficient at sequestering CO2.
    Their success is evident in all that lovely coal,peat bog and permafrost.
    Their success at removing CO2 from the atmosphere seems to have almost been fatal for the C3 series of plants, as the CO2 levels almost reached starvation levels.
    Only a handful of species of plant seem to have adapted to modern CO2 levels.
    Save the food chain, save life as we know it… Burn Baby Burn.
    Now all sarcasm aside, the insanity of condemning carbon-dioxide, and all carbon based life with it is beyond parody.
    But as the body of knowledge has grown, it is down right astounding that we, by choosing to release the energy bound up in ancient biomass, have done exactly the right thing to allow the plants to prosper.
    Seems plants were too efficient at storing both carbon and sunlight.
    I guess we could help them out… or starve.
    Or in Team UN IPCC ™ logic, we must kill all the plants cause its “carbon neutral” or something.

  27. Regarding greenhouse gases:
    Maybe we should listen to the guys who design greenhouses, and who will have to deal with the consequences, no matter what happens to the climate.
    ASABE 1st Climate Change Symposium – Adaptation and Mitigation
    Date: May 3-5, 2015
    Location: Chicago, Illinois
    Disclosure: I am a member of asabe, and have a MS in Agricultural Engineering, Irrigation.

    • Really???? Let’s count how many of the BS talking points are false…
      “Global Climate Change has been related to increases in temperature, prolonged wet and dry hydroperiods, and an increase in climatic extremes. In the US, the recent 2014 US National Climate Assessment report ( recognizes that effects of human-induced climate change are being felt in every corner of the United States, with water growing scarcer in dry regions, torrential rains increasing in wet regions, heat waves becoming more common and more severe, wildfires growing worse, and forests dying under assault from heat-loving insects. Such extreme events are already impacting our ecosystems (e.g., agricultural, urban/suburban, aquatic, wetlands, forests, coastal, etc.). Melting of glaciers, sea level rise, and salt water intrusion in coastal areas are stressing our water resources.”

  28. I wrote the following on this subject, posted on
    On Climate Science, Global Cooling, Ice Ages and Geo-Engineering:
    Furthermore, increased atmospheric CO2 from whatever cause is clearly beneficial to humanity and the environment. Earth’s atmosphere is clearly CO2 deficient and continues to decline over geological time. In fact, atmospheric CO2 at this time is too low, dangerously low for the longer term survival of carbon-based life on Earth.
    More Ice Ages, which are inevitable unless geo-engineering can prevent them, will cause atmospheric CO2 concentrations on Earth to decline to the point where photosynthesis slows and ultimately ceases. This would devastate the descendants of most current [terrestrial] life on Earth, which is carbon-based and to which, I suggest, we have a significant moral obligation.
    Atmospheric and dissolved oceanic CO2 is the feedstock for all carbon-based life on Earth. More CO2 is better. Within reasonable limits, a lot more CO2 is a lot better.
    As a devoted fan of carbon-based life on Earth, I feel it is my duty to advocate on our behalf. To be clear, I am not prejudiced against non-carbon-based life forms, but I really do not know any of them well enough to form an opinion. They could be very nice. 🙂
    Best, Allan

  29. We used to understand this – then science when backwards for several decades,
    Circa the 1960’s, comedian Shelley Berman said:
    “No matter how mean, or cruel, or sinful you have been, every time you breathe out, you make a little flower happy.”

  30. What’s next for the neo-Malthusians, neo-Luddites, and OGI’s (other green imbeciles)?
    Next they’ll be insisting that their food is grown at CO2 concentrations of less than 400ppm.
    “I mean, y’know, it’s like, ah, natural,”
    In addition to “Trans Fat-free”, “non-GMO”, “Organic”, “Lactose-free”, and “Gluten-free” we will soon see food labelled “Carbon-free”?
    You heard it here first folks – it’s like, ah, the Next Big Thing!

  31. It’s a false spring. There is no way that a level above 400PPM can last more than a few thousand years. Assuming the CO2 level is mostly due to human activities, it will peak very early and drop like a rock. Assuming CO2 level is mostly due to being in an interglacial, at most, this level will persist a few tens of thousands of years. When it drops, Katie bar the door.

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