Dueling press releases: Plants have been helping to offset climate change, but now it’s up to us

Our previous story, Study suggests increased atmospheric CO2 creates a 30% growth in plant photosynthesis during last two centuries look almost entirely different than this press release from the CARNEGIE INSTITUTION FOR SCIENCE on the very same study.

Plants have been helping to offset climate change, but now it’s up to us

Findings affirm estimates used in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change models

An artist’s conception representing this work. The concentration of the atmospheric trace gas carbonyl sulfide is influenced by the terrestrial biosphere’s photosynthetic activity and its variation over centuries is preserved in Antarctic snow and ice, which provides insight into the response of key process to climate and environmental change.

Washington, DC — Plants are currently removing more CO2 from the air than they did 200 years ago, according to new work from Carnegie’s Joe Berry and led by J. Elliott Campbell of UC Merced. The team’s findings, which are published in Nature, affirm estimates used in models from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Plants take up carbon dioxide as part of the process of photosynthesis — a series of cellular reactions through which they transform the Sun’s energy into chemical energy for food. This research from Campbell, Berry, and their colleagues constructs a new history of global changes in photosynthetic activity.

Just as plants in actual glass greenhouses grow faster and more profusely when provided with elevated levels of CO2, plants in natural ecosystems have been expected to grow faster as the concentration of CO2 in the global atmosphere increases. At the global scale, this effect could offer some stability to the climate system by countering increased human emissions of CO2.

The magnitude of this effect is currently under debate. Could it be as large at the global scale as it is in small-scale greenhouse experiments? Or are other factors limiting the global system’s response to increased greenhouse gas emissions? A long-term record, similar to what we have for CO2 and temperature, is needed to address this large uncertainty in climate change projections.

“We’ve done something new here,” Campbell said. “Reliable measurements of photosynthesis are typically made at the leaf-level. But you can’t get the big picture that way, and we need to know what the Earth as a whole is doing and how it has responded through time.”

The team made use of previous work showing that the concentration of the atmospheric trace gas carbonyl sulfide can be used to infer the level of global photosynthesis. They constructed a history of its concentration using air trapped in Antarctic ice and snowpack for centuries, infrared spectra of the atmosphere taken by astronomers since the 1970s, and data from a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration greenhouse gas sampling network, which began monitoring carbonyl sulfide in the late 1990s.

The results show that global photosynthesis was stable for hundreds of years before the industrial revolution, but then grew rapidly throughout the 20th century. The recent increases in photosynthesis correlate with the increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide due to fossil fuel burning.

“The phenomenon of plants pulling carbon dioxide out of the air has been included in climate change models for many years,” Berry explained, “but it has always been difficult to know whether the strength of this effect is being modeled in a realistic way. Our new results affirm that the range of models used in the last IPCC assessment did, in fact, include realistic estimates of the sensitivity of global photosynthesis to CO2.”

“It may be tempting to interpret these results as evidence that Earth’s dynamics are responding in a way that will naturally stabilize CO2 concentrations and climate,” Berry added. “But the real message is that the increase in photosynthesis has not been large enough to compensate for the burning of fossil fuels. Nature’s brakes are not up to the job. So now it’s up to us to figure out how to reduce the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.”

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101 thoughts on “Dueling press releases: Plants have been helping to offset climate change, but now it’s up to us

  1. How about starting an anti-war movement – protest the war against life-sustaining CO2 – point out the dangers of allowing CO2 to recede to Civil War era levels, which are non-population sustaining levels.
    Challenge the CO2 destroyers to provide reasons why their strategy of permanently removing all sources of man-made CO2 is not a colossal blunder.

    • If any gas is a danger, it’s oxygen. Not only did it create the first known Great Extinction (of anaerobic beings) but it’s responsible for ALL the forest fires in the world!
      Remove oxygen and humanity would stop polluting the natural world.
      Where is Greenpeace on this? Why aren’t they protesting the use of oxygen in human activity?
      Why this sleight of hand regarding CO2?
      It’s CO2 that controls our breathing, it’s essential for our existence. Without CO2 the breathing reflex is not triggered and we die.
      This focusing on CO2 merely hides the real villain of the piece – oxygen!
      Is it a coincidence that the 2nd letter of the name of that infamous Foundation behind the slander of CO2 – rOckefeller Foundation – is the symbol for Oxygen?
      I think not!

      • People can and do breath pure oxygen without dying.
        The CO2 needed to trigger breathing enters our lungs from the blood, not from the atmosphere.

      • Need I remind you, CO2 sequestration schemes ARE O2 REMOVAL plans, as there are TWO oxygen atoms for every carbon atom buried. So sad. GK

      • The CO2 needed to trigger breathing enters our lungs from the blood, not from the atmosphere.

        And from where does CO2 enter the blood? It magically appears in the blood, I suppose, just as it magically heats the atmosphere catastrophically. (^_^)

        Our blood is polluted with this gas. I feel so dirty.

      • PS: I’ve always felt that the reason why plants that are talked to seem to do better is because of all that extra CO2 being breathed out on them.

      • @ jon

        No, not quite true, the real villain is the magnetic field of Planet Earth! Without this regretful thing, the Solar Wind would have removed most of these sinful gases out of our atmosphere and we could enjoy likewise cool temperatures as on Planet Mars, which has no magnetic field and consequently not a lot of mean warming gases in its atmosphere… ;-)

        BTW: Can anybody explain why Planet Venus has such a dense atmosphere but nevertheless only a rather small magnetic field? I have looked around for an explanation of this funny contradiction but found no answer yet. Is here an ingenious planetary scientist around at wuwt?

  2. Good news! Greening of the planet in overdrive. Plant growth on the planet up 30%. Conclusion, man’s activities has created the the most productive biosphere in over 50million years. Such healthy growth is unprecedented in the era of angiosperm (deciduous trees) and grassland (including grains) development and is a boon to all species. Flowers have taken over vast tracts of what historically has been desert terrain and honey bees are sweetening the globe. Now that is the glaring real elephantine conclusion of this study. But no. The erectile difficulty suffering science of Climate concludes the following:

    “So now it’s up to us… to teduce CO2 in the atmosphere.” (?)

    • deduce?
      seduce?
      Or –
      Reduce?

      I do typos too. Saddly.

      Mods, please look at Gary’s seduce and correct!
      Thanks.

      Auto

  3. “Our previous story, “Study suggests increased atmospheric CO2 creates a 30% growth in plant photosynthesis during last two centuries” look almost entirely different than this press release”
    Same story. Campbell et al said nothing about the cause of CO2 uptake. They just estimated it from COS measurement. This release doesn’t speculate on cause either. It simply does the arithmetic. The measured increase in photosynthesis isn’t enough to counter our emissions.

    The previous press release said the same, with a similar quote from Berry:

    The increase in photosynthesis has not been large enough to compensate for the burning of fossil fuels,” said paper co-author Joe Berry, from the Carnegie Institution for Science. “Nature’s brakes have already been overwhelmed. So now it’s up to us to figure out how to reduce the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.

    • “The measured increase in photosynthesis isn’t enough to counter our emissions.”
      Excellent. More green plant abundance lies ahead of us.

    • Give it time, you don’t transform every desert into a forest overnight.
      It takes years to build up organic matter in the soils.

      • A lot of biomass is also held in those things that eat plants, as well as the those things that eat those things that eat plants.
        Neither of those can start building in volume until after the plants have established themselves.

    • But neither has terrestrial nor oceanic biome succession been completed as well. Considering that the IPCC included carbon flux vectors that are on the order of 100 to 500 years, any such claim that Nature’s brakes have already been overwhelmed cannot be supported. In fact, the position within the CC community that links exponential increase of CO2 as a driving force to the about 46%sink rate would indicate that any claims as to the size of the brake or its position faces the same driving force, and that the completed response, much less succession, has not taken place. This is about terrestrial gross primary production and storage, and does not include aceans per the abstract. Storage is moot if succession and its effects have not been completed. Considering the size of the oceans biomass indicates this claim is insupportable as well, since its processes are even longer scaled than terrestrial biomes. And if this is not bad enough, the conclusion means the push for renewable use of biomass is contraindicated, since we will need to make sure as much terrestrial biomass as is possible is sequestered. From the abstract:

      Growth in terrestrial gross primary production (GPP)—the amount of carbon dioxide that is ‘fixed’ into organic material through the photosynthesis of land plants—may provide a negative feedback for climate change1, 2. It remains uncertain, however, to what extent biogeochemical processes can suppress global GPP growth3. As a consequence, modelling estimates of terrestrial carbon storage, and of feedbacks between the carbon cycle and climate, remain poorly constrained4. Here we present a global, measurement-based estimate of GPP growth during the twentieth century that is based on long-term atmospheric carbonyl sulfide (COS) records, derived from ice-core, firn and ambient air samples5. We interpret these records using a model that simulates changes in COS concentration according to changes in its sources and sinks—including a large sink that is related to GPP.

      • The articles looked similar to me, too, with the exception that this article didn’t mention that NOAA says it is unable to attribute changes in the climate/weather to human CO2 production. This article didn’t have that bottom-line disclaimer.

    • The only way a plant can take up more CO2 is for there to be more CO2 in the air. If the air didn’t have more CO2 in it how could the biosphere take up more CO2? Go take a Calculus course.

      • Scott, that is not correct. A plant will take up more CO2 if any limiting factor is relieved. If there is not enough water, then adding water results in more CO2 uptake. If there is not enough phosphorous, then adding P results in more CO2 uptake. This is the principle behind seeding the oceans to produce algal blooms to reduce atmospheric CO2

    • Ah Nick, I’m well aware it’s the same study, with two different interpretive press releases.

      Tellingly, Nick STILL Doesn’t like this part…and won’t repeat it from the previous comment thread.

      “The leading candidates are rising atmospheric CO2 levels, a result of emissions from human activities; longer growing seasons, a result of climate change caused by CO2 emissions; and nitrogen pollution, another result of fossil fuel combustion and agriculture.”

      See, here’s the thing Nick, I don’t care what you think about my interpretation of that paragraph, as I said before, it makes a suggestion that increased CO2 is the cause. If they truly were “non-speculative”, they would not have used a paragraph stating “leading candidates”. Your attempt fails, much like that fiasco you got involved in years ago over “death threats” that weren’t really like they made them up to be. You swallowed that one hook, line, and sinker and defended your own bias for it here…and unsuccessfully I might ad.Still waiting for that apology.

      • “Tellingly, Nick STILL Doesn’t like this part”,/i>
        Well, it’s the part I quoted in my first comment. But it seems to be some extra observation that has made its way into the Merced press release. It isn’t in the Nature paper. And it nominates three factors – CO2 fertilization, global warming (longer seasons), and nitrogen fertilization. I would have thought irrigation and phosphate also rated a mention as a source of higher photosynthesis rate

    • Earth will be better off at about 600 ppm..
      Societal emissions probably won’t get us there.
      Nature may do something else.
      At the current rate, those reading this will be gone.

  4. “infrared spectra of the atmosphere taken by astronomers since the 1970s,”
    Uh oh, they talking about the “space scientists”, & calling them a strange word, “astronomers”! People won’t be able to comprehend such a technical term, surely? Sarc off!

  5. “The results show that global photosynthesis was stable for hundreds of years before the industrial revolution, but then grew rapidly throughout the 20th century”

    The results show that global photosynthesis was INCREDIBLY LOW & DANGEROUSLY LOW for hundreds of years before the industrial revolution, but then LUCKILY grew rapidly throughout the 20th century THANKS TO MODERN ENERGY PROCESSES.

    Just saying!!!

  6. The article shows the hazard of flawed assumptions: namely, that CO2 causes warming in addition to plant growth; and that such warming (if it exists) is bad. Not necessarily bad for humans, mind: bad for The Environment, the outdoor temple for the CAGW religion. Such ideas have not been vetted, nor checked for accuracy or even truth. My advice to the authors (and their gullible readers) is to let it go. The Earth will do perfectly well for itself, not even as badly as the poor fellow wondering how to get down from a tree and afraid to take the advice, “Let go both your hands and your feet, and you’ll come down by yourself!”

      • and photosynthesis is endothermic, further cooling the atmosphere (I’m assuming you were referring to shade and increased moisture. Were CO2 to become a problem why wouldn’t we simply follow nature’s lead and plant more stuff it is a terrific triple negative feedback, and this kind of mitigation or geoengineering has no unexpected bad consequences. “First do no harm.”

  7. I suspect there are three effects taking place: 1. Increased CO2 Concentration. 2. Plants manage water more efficiently and they seem to grow better in areas such as the Sahel and 3. The warmer climate is allowing the taiga forest to move north into the tundra.

  8. Let’s see. What kind of energy system do plants use for their internal needs for material transport and growth? All that activity takes abundant energy, easily stored and moved to where it is needed according to the season. Look up “plant respiration.” Something on the order of 60GtC per year. The “clean power plan” for plants is carbon-based. Why in the world should humans feel guilty about using carbon-based energy? In our area of upstate New York, I see load after load of maple sap being taken to the saphouses this time of year. It’s all about how plants create, store, and utilize carbon-based energy. Sweet!

  9. Waaay off topic but not sure how to go about this: I need to briefly have contact with those who come here who consider themselves leftists (even socialists) who are Skeptics. I am currently in a quote-meme war with a person who wants everyone to believe that ‘rightist nationalists’ are the only ones who oppose the ‘consensus.’

    I suppose I could post said question in a short piece here?

    • Don”t waste your time ClimateOtter. You’ll never convince whoever it is your conversing with, with facts. Just tell them you’re not willing to discuss anything with someone with bigoted views and cut it short.

      • And don’t forget to call them idiots and morons too. I find that ends up simplifying relationships enormously. They won’t bother you with their drivel again. Unless they’re mentally unbalanced of course.

      • Jon

        I’m inclined to get even more polite the longer the discussion goes on. Then when the inevitable personal insult is hurled, the higher moral ground is maintained and its easy to cut things short.

    • Hi Otter
      It is hard to get more to the left than the ex Soviet KGB, now president of Russia, Vladimir Putin (previously AGWista and now a converted sceptic).
      “Climate change is not manmade” :Putin said in comments broadcast from the Arctic forum held in the northern Russian city of Arkhangelsk last week.
      The latest declaration is a far cry from Putin’s speech at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015.
      Further more Putin also said Pruitt’s (the Trump’s climate change supreme) views deserve to be heard.
      “Positions and suggestions of those who don’t agree with their opponents are not so stupid. God grant him health and success, everybody should listen to one another and only then you can find an optimal solution to the problem.”
      http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1449935/putin-climate-change-manmade

      • That’s one.
        Putin is first and foremost a nationalist. A warmer world is better for Russia. Much, much better.

      • If you put socialists at the same or adjacent position on the political spectrum as leftists, Richard Courtney who comments here would be another. Not sure about his son, MCourtney.

      • Mark Putin has the benefit of scientists like the Polvo Observatory’s Abdusamatov (spelling? ) who noted that the shrinking of Mars ice cap coincided with that of earth’s. Nasa mentioned this in 2007 and it was reported in Scientific American would you believe! But, when you have a consensus with enforcers, this obvious inference was never to be mentioned again. Sceptics appear to be unmoved by it, too. Anyway Putin has been building large nuclear ice breakers. I wonder why? It can all be googled, I got tired of linking with no replies.

      • Thanks Vuk! The main thing is to find leftist scientists, but you got the thread rolling!

    • “‘rightist nationalists’ are the only ones who oppose the ‘consensus.’”
      I wouldn’t say they are the only ones, but from comments here it does seem to be by far the more prevalent view.

      • MarkW: “The opposite is also true, that most warmistas are well to the left of center.”

        I am not sure that is the opposite, but you are right that belief in the science of AGW does tend to be stronger among Democrats. Probably the rejection of the science of GMO’s is stronger among Democrats. Anti vaxxers are fairly evenly split, and doubters of the science of evolution more likely to be republican.

        Vukcevic. “It is hard to get more to the left than the ex Soviet KGB, now president of Russia, Vladimir Putin”

        Not really – he displays many right wing tendencies such as support for Church and capitalism and reduction of corporate taxes. He is not big on re-distribution of wealth, equality, discrimination, social justice. These are left wing icons and Putin does not seem to care about these. You could probably make a case for him being left wing, but he is not a leftist poster-boy.

        Still, it is always good to have such worthies on your side.

      • Now that’s funny, since there is no science in the global warming movement, and the willingness of leftists to believe government action is always good despite decades of evidence to the opposite.

      • MarkW “since there is no science in the global warming movement…”

        That is a textbook and unambiguous rejection of the science. Thank you for being so clear.

    • Firstly the “consensus” is an illusion and irrelevant. But in the end I expect that you will not get anywhere with this person. They are likely to categorize anyone that is skeptical as being ‘rightist national’ regardless of said persons views on other issues. Maybe remind them that putting people into categories of ‘leftist’ vs ‘rightist’ is a form of generalization that is a disservice to the individual. Society is made up of a rainbow of individuals. All of which are entitled to their own personal opinion.

  10. Here’s an interesting paper.

    … there is a good prospect that crop production will increase by approximately 50 per cent or more by 2050 without extra land …

    The paper has it that, when you factor in warming, rainfall, and everything, the extra CO2 is going to be very good for agriculture.

    • If agriculture is 50% more productive, that should mean we can let 1/3rd of our current crop lands return to nature.
      One would think that environmentalists would rejoice over such a possibility.

  11. Interesting. So, the reason temps haven’t gone up the way they expected is now because, plants. Oh, but wait, that means the climate sensitivity to CO2 would have to be less. Sticky wicket that.

  12. Put into prespective, as quoted by a CAGW er , 38% of all anthropogenic co2 has been produced since 1998. If we use 1998 as a base, ALL of the additional co2 above that base has disappeared and then some. While the total amount of co2 is increasing, the amount disappearing is somewhere between 6 to 12 BMT of the base. Then there is the question of, what happened to the finely balanced carbon cycle ? Shouldn’t all that decaying plant matter be putting that co2 back into the atmosphere?
    Of course co2 increases plant growth. The rest of the study is conjecture to justify AGW.

  13. Anthropocarbocentric worldview of the modern times makes the dark age geocentrists look like geniuses.

    The Green Khmer terror against the biosphere better stop before anarchy breaks loose.

  14. One of the first things I learned as a budding Chemist was Le Chatelier’s principle. If you apply a stress to a system or disturb it, the system will move in such a way as to nullify that stress.

  15. “The phenomenon of plants pulling carbon dioxide out of the air has been included in climate change models for many years,” Berry explained, “but it has always been difficult to know whether the strength of this effect is being modeled in a realistic way

    Yes, well done!
    You’ll find that it is also “difficult to know the strength” of the other 1001 variable / adjustable parameters in the climate models also.
    Realistic? It’s OK as long as the result is politically realistic.

    • Also regarding plant growth in the models, it is in ambiguously negative feedbacks: cooler from shade/albedo increase, maintenance of soil moisture an the very growth itself is endothermic. You can bet the farm that warmest model makers have minimized this neg feedback – even this author says so in different words. Enviropoliticos hate the greening of the earth. How can you scare people and get them to seek elite protection in a global governance plan?

  16. I’m somewhat surprised that total photosynthesis has increased. I do wonder whether the calculations are consistent with massively increased deforestation, urbanisation and desertification.

    • Terry
      You’ll find your “massive deforestation” to be something of an urban myth.
      Some factoids to munch on:
      – if forest is cleared and C4 crops such as grasses, maize, wheat etc replace them, the net effect is more (and more efficient) not less photosynthesis
      – urbanisation also depopulates the countryside significantly, leading to expansion of forests and bush / grassland. Zero sum game.
      – desertification is going in reverse, due to CO2 greening, and to the great distress of environmentalists

      Global not increased photosynthesis is entirely unsurprising.

      • Cities are very productive of biomass. Hong Kong, no but Bangkok? Johannesburg? Big time producers.

    • @ Terry Warner 4:52
      . . . massively increased deforestation” and so on

      From:
      http://landscape.forest.wisc.edu/courses/readings/RamankuttyEtAl_AnnGeog2010.pdf

      TITLE: Prevailing Myths About Agricultural Abandonment and Forest Regrowth in the United States

      “Moreover, we find that, consistent with local and regional case studies, croplands were indeed abandoned in the eastern portions of the continent accompanied by forest regrowth, but there was compensating cropland expansion and forest clearing in the west.”

      Examples: My grandparents farm (Western Pennsylvania) has transitioned from fields to forest. Where I live now (central Washington State) land has transitioned from shrub-steppe to orchards, vineyards, and row crops. Lands nearby have gone from open meadows (maybe from repeated fires) to trees (thanks to Smokey Bear).

      Other parts of Earth have different sequences.

  17. Similar claims have been made about the oceans: that so far, luckily for us, the oceans have been absorbing much of our CO2, but they are getting “full” (or something), and will therefore be absorbing less in the future and then boom, climageddon. Aside from being a total fantasy on their part, that claim also undermines their whole climate sensitivity to “carbon” argument.

  18. I remember a series of posts on this blog by Ferdinand Engelbeen who argued that the increase in CO2 was caused by humans. In his argument, he mentioned a “natural”” background level of CO2. That led to my thinking that there IS no natural background level. Without life, all of the Oxygen in our atmosphere would quickly disappear in reactions with other elements, leaving our atmosphere mostly CO2, as on Venus and Mars. Obviously plants and animal life cooperate in reaching a balance of O2 and CO2 in the atmosphere through a combination of breathing and photosynthesis.

    Back in the Mississippian Era, oxygen was up to 30% of our atmosphere, allowing the evolution of giant insects. Unfortunately for those giant insects, that 30% oxygen concentration was so high that even wet wood could burn. Ultimately that extra oxygen did lead to fires, etc. which would up reducing the amount of O2 in the atmosphere.

    A lot of plants would reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere due to increased photosynthesis That increase in plants would lead to an increase in herbivorous, and later carnivorous, animals which would ultimately cut back the number of plants, but would build up additional CO2 in the atmosphere through their breathing.

  19. Yes, it is the breath of Gaia, the breath of life on earth, where all life is sustained. By creating so different creatures as animals and plants, both with an opposing metabolism, the plan-author, or God, as you will, has created the basis for our most remarkable planet. And, the more plants are damaged with a reduction of CO2, the more damage to the animals and tghe mankind, which dependent on the plants. Just think of the incredible biodiversity at times when the COP2 content was significantly increased. Not only do plants profit from CO2, but more still animals. Animals are the users of plant-produced biomass and oxygen. If I had something to say in the world politics (I have unfortunately not, but there reign at the moment others fools) I would put any attempt at the reduction of CO2 under the most severe penalty. Clean air: yes, less fine dust load: yes; But less CO2: No and again no.

  20. We must end the conversion of dirty fossil fuels into beautIful green landscapes before it’s too late. One day soon our children will not know what a non-green landscape looks like.

  21. I will just stick with the basic scientific fact that CO2 is plant food.
    As for “massive deforestation”, a claim that keeps getting bandied about, new growth absorbs more CO2 than old growth and emits more O2. More O2 good! Less O2 bad! Savy?

    • I will just stick with the basic scientific fact that CO2 is plant food.

      It’s at about this point that taxpayer-funded alarmists will step in and announce that because we can’t accurately count the number of angels on the head of a pin to the 6th decimal point we should all be very afraid and send trillions of dollars their way to study and fix the “problem”.

      • With the political left it is always about stealing money. Every. Single. Time. They produce nothing, grow nothing, create nothing. Well, not quite true. The political left produces, grows and creates hatred, racial division and poverty. Credit where credit is due.

  22. “The results show that global photosynthesis was stable for hundreds of years before the industrial revolution, but then grew rapidly throughout the 20th century. The recent increases in photosynthesis correlate with the increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide due to fossil fuel burning.”

    This reveals the weakness of the study immediately, as CO2 has NOT been stable over the last two centuries but has gone up and down, often higher than now, three times over the last 200 years. We have 80,000 direct chemical bottle CO2 readings that clearly show two CO2 peaks in the 1800s and a third in the 1940s that was higher than CO2 is now. That tells us that the plant metric they are using here that claims a steady photosynthetic rate is not very sensitive or informative.

    • “The recent increases in photosynthesis correlate with the increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide due to fossil fuel burning.”
      Not only has CO2 been variable, the recent increase is not the result of fossil fuel burning but global warming. Homlum at http://www.climate4you.com/ shows abundant evidence of this. Salby has several videos that derive limits to the FF Co2 and the thermally derived Co2. Harde 2016 presents more evidence of the Co2 content not related to FF emissions. How long can this evidence be ignored. If our emissions don’t measurably effect the atmospheric content we certainly can’t expect to control that content by adjusting our emissions. This selective hearing is the essence of science denial.

  23. Boy that pre 1850’s must have been a grand time since we are so eager to return to it. Everyone happily frolicking through grassy meadows and all that. What a load of natural fertilizer.

    Not by chance that there is an obvious political divide on AGW. Some scientists like socialist advocates (can be the same thing) live in isolation from the actual world. Like the desert hermits of old they bang about inside their own skulls leaving them prone to fallacies. A purpose made group for crafty political types.

  24. I have been told here many times that climate scientists ignore that CO2 is a plant food, and even that they do not know this. Yet here we have an article all about that very thing, describing how it in the IPCC reports. Maybe they knew all along!

    • Wrong. They say nothing about it being plant food. It is a begrudging admittance that plants are using our nasty, evil, planet-killing CO2, but may not be able to slow its increase for much longer, and therefore, climageddon, unless we act now.

    • They used to ignore it.
      I’ve been told many times by climate scientists that CO2 has no impact on plants because other limiting factors prevent plants from taking advantage of more CO2.
      The fact that this appears to be changing is not evidence that they never held those positions previously.

    • seaice1: ” … climate scientists ignore that CO2 is a plant food”

      A more apt description of Carbon Dioxide is ‘Life Food’, and climate scientists rarely (ever?) reference it that way.

      Recall that all photosynthesis, whether plants or plankton requires CO2. There is no Life without CO2. That’s a compelling fact, especially when trying to rationalize the rationing of it. So, on the one side we have the compelling “CO2 is necessary for life” and on the other side we have a theory that has no laws, axioms, postulates, formulas or anything to reason with, i.e. no scientific value that is being used to promote the restriction of the Food of Life.

  25. “plants in natural ecosystems have been expected to grow faster as the concentration of CO2”

    That’s funny, up until very recently the “official” line was that other limiting factors would prevent plants from being able to benefit from the extra CO2 in the air.

  26. I’m suspicious of the timescales here.

    You would expect photosynthesis to have dropped steeply from about 1000 to 1600, which is the Med.Warm period to the Little Ice age, and then rise thereafter.

    Are they claiming that a rise from about 1800 shows that industrialisation causes pollution? Or are they claiming that the period 1000 to 1600 was flat even though we know the temperatures varied widely?

  27. Anti CO2 activists just hate life. They want make our lives miserable with their anti CO2 measures and plants’ lives miserable by starving them of CO2.

  28. The idea that plants are offsetting CAGW presumes that CO2 is causing CAGW. There is no CAGW to offset and only a small, incremental GHG effect is partially offset by plants consuming more CO2 as concentrations rise. This should be expected as plants evolved when CO2 concentrations were much higher than today and are optimized for those higher concentrations.

  29. So let’s see if I’m understanding this correctly:

    Something called “global warming” is happening, but we’re only measured 0.8C of it in the last 130 years since coming out of the Little Ice Age; nobody knows if, or how much of it, is human-caused. Nobody knows what the best temperature is. All this is called “settled science” and there appears to be agreement that more CO2 is better for plants.

    The inbred heir to the British throne, ignoring all the carnage caused by a thousand years of British brutality, has decided (decried?) the 4,500,000,000 year-old planet will end…momentarily.

    And I’m supposed to be worried about this?

  30. “The recent increases in photosynthesis correlate with the increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide due to fossil fuel burning.”

    Recently? What about before when it didn’t? What is the meaning of that, pray tell?

    It may correlate with a the CO2 ambient level but it sure as heck doesn’t correlate well with temperature. The correlation with temperature is pretty good for CO2 in years before 2000, right? But not for AG CO2 at the same time, compared with now.

    It sounds like two cases of spurious correlation, and vague correlations at that. All they can discuss is what P-value they can assign to the postulated cause and effect.

    If the human GHG and global CO2 link was an aeroplane, would you fly in it, with so many bits missing and so little competence in the cockpit?

  31. They covered every angle here but the carbon tax bill for each person and company but I’m sure their model has that too.

  32. Double dipping CAGW research! Not that the double dipped research is unusual; but most prior double dipped research claims were other groups leaping on a prior CAGW research claim that was not replicated nor validated.
    Here we have the same researchers jumping on their own alleged research findings; again without verification, validation or replication.
    In other words: No science is used here!
    From yesterday’s research claims:

    “Yet, researchers lack a clear picture of global trends in photosynthesis over the past few centuries. Some human activities might have stimulated plant growth, while others might have hampered photosynthesis. Conflicting results from different experiments have stoked scientific debate for years.
    But maybe not for long. Campbell and an interdisciplinary, international team of scientists discovered a chemical record of global photosynthesis spanning hundreds of years.

    “Previous studies covered small physical areas or short periods of time,” Campbell said. “We set out to find a long-term record for the whole planet.”

    The researchers estimate that the sum of all plant photosynthesis on Earth grew by 30 percent over the 200-year record they captured.”

    “Studies have already demonstrated unprecedented changes in climate and greenhouse gases during the industrial era,” Campbell said. “Now we have evidence that there is also a fundamental shift in the Earth’s plants.”

    Contradictory findings.
    Many possibilities.
    Allegedly new ‘long term record’
    New claim! Evidence = “fundamental shift in Earth’s pants”
    No “new evidence” provided in the free abstract.

    “The research did not identify the cause of the increased photosynthesis, but computer models have shown several processes that could, together, create such a large change in global plant growth.”

    “Several processes”?
    Meaning, that The model only had confirmation bias inputs included.
    Again, a “new” model stuffed with too many assumptions and inputs without ever trying to ascertain a possible total array of conditions or restrictions.
    Another ‘bad’ model! Bias garbage in; Confirmation bias out!
    From the abstract:

    “Here we present a global, measurement-based estimate of GPP growth during the twentieth century that is based on long-term atmospheric carbonyl sulfide (COS) records, derived from ice-core, firn and ambient air samples5”

    Carbonyl Sulfide, COS or OCS:
    COS is a unique sulfur gas in the atmosphere, due to its stability, lifetime of several years and implication in ozone depletion”

    From: “Measurements of Carbonyl Sulfide (COS) in Surface Seawater and Marine Air…”
    “<a href=https://kops.uni-konstanz.de/handle/123456789/8906?locale-attribute=enCarbonyl sulfide (COS) was measured in surface seawater and in marine air during two Atlantic cruises of the R/V Polarstern between Bremerhaven, Germany, and Cape Town, South Africa. The cruises took place in the fall of 1997 and in the summer of 1998. The concentration of COS showed clear diurnal, seasonal, and latitudinal variations, as did its saturation ratio. The concentration of dissolved COS averaged 14.7 pmol/L and 18.1 pmol/L for the fall and summer cruises, respectively. On most days, seawater was undersaturated in COS during the late night and early morning but was supersaturated during the rest of the day”

    From: “Equilibrium Data of Carbonyl Sulfide and Hydrogen Sulfide Clathrate Hydrates”
    “Table 3 reports estimated dissociation conditions of carbonyl sulfide clathrate hydrates in the presence of pure water. These data are also plotted in Figure 2. It should be mentioned that COS hydrolysis in the presence of water is an important factor that should be considered in the COS +water (or any aqueous solution) phase equilibria studies. Hydrolysis of COS can be expressed by the following equation
    COS + H₂O » H₂S + CO₂”

    Complicating the COS sequence is the CS₂
    CS₂ + H₂O » COS + H₂S
    COS + H₂O » CO₂ + H₂S
    Therefore:
    CS₂ + H₂O » CO₂ + 2H₂S

    COS or Carbonyl Sulfide is described chemically as:
    “CARBONYL SULFIDE Property
    • Melting point : −138 °C(lit.)
    • Boiling point : −50 °C(lit.)
    • vapor density : 2.1 (20 °C, vs air)
    • vapor pressure : 9034 mm Hg ( 21 °C)
    • form : gas
    • Stability:: Stable. Corrosive to common metals when moisture is present.
    • Reacts vigorously with oxidants.
    • Flammable.

    Summing up the various sources, COS Carbonyl Sulfide is not a normal profile for stable chemistry.
    Disassociates in water,
    reactive to common metals,
    Photo-reactive in light,
    Reactive to O₂
    Reactive to O₃
    Forms carbonyl sulfide clathrate hydrates under low temperatures and pressure in the presence of pure water.
    Carbonyl Sulfide is common in seawater, with saturation levels subject to daily, seasonal, and latitude variations.
    Any chemical reactive with metals, atmospheric oxygen O₂, ozone O₃, pure water H₂O, under light, is not stable.
    Yet NOAA refers to COS Carbonyl Sulfide as:

    “COS is the most abundant, long-lived, sulfur-containing trace gas in
    the atmosphere.”

  33. Lacking multigenerational double blind studies on global climate changed warming they did meta studies to find

    “The magnitude of this effect is currently under debate. Could it be as large at the global scale as it is in small-scale greenhouse experiments? Or are other factors limiting the global system’s response to increased greenhouse gas emissions? A long-term record, similar to what we have for CO2 and temperature, is needed to address this large uncertainty in climate change projections.“

  34. “Plants have been helping to offset climate change, but now it’s up to us”

    Lazy, useless plants. Give up when things get tough. Well, we’ll manage without you plants. But don’t come crawling back asking for favours when it’s all sorted out.

  35. Plants remove very little CO2 because little of it gets turned into fossil fuels. But most of the CO2 used to make the shells of shelled sea creatures ends up in the sediments and eventually becomes limestone. That’s how the environment lost 90% of its CO2 in the past 150M years.

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