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Providing Insight
Into Climate Change
CO2 and Plant Growth
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7 Articles

Monetary Benefits of Rising CO2 on Global Food Production

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Elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 have been conclusively shown to stimulate plant productivity and growth. The annual total monetary value of this benefit grew from $18.5 billion in 1961 to over $140 billion by 2011, amounting to a total sum of $3.2 trillion over the 50-year period 1961-2011. Projecting the monetary value of this positive externality forward in time reveals it will likely bestow an additional $9.8 trillion on crop production between now and 2050. (Values in constant 2005 $US. Current consumer prices are 1.2 X 2005 prices.)

Elevated Carbon Dioxide Making Arid Regions Greener

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A study of arid regions around the globe finds that a carbon dioxide "fertilization effect" has caused a gradual greening from 1982 to 2010. The satellite imagery data showed an 11 percent increase in foliage after adjusting the data for precipitation, air temperature, the amount of light, and land-use changes during the study period when CO2 concentrations increased by 14 percent. "Satellites are very good at detecting changes in total leaf cover, and it is in warm, dry environments that the CO2 effect is expected to most influence leaf cover."

Tree Growth in Carbon Dioxide Enriched air and its Implications

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This study by Dr. Sherwood Idso shows that the world's forests increase their rates of carbon sequestering by 2.8 times in response to a 300 ppm increase in the CO2 content in the air. After two years of growth in a controlled experiment, trees in an ambient plus 300 ppm CO2 enriched environment were 2.8 times larger than the trees without CO2 enrichment.

Tree and Forest Functioning in an Enriched CO2 Atmosphere

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This abstract shows that elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 causes a long-term biomass increase of 130% for conifer trees and 49% for deciduous trees in studies not involving stress components. However, stimulation of photosynthesis by elevated CO2 in long-term studies was similar for conifers (62 %) and deciduous trees (53 %).

Happy Holidays, Thanks to CO2

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This World Climate Report discusses the results of three recent studies that investigated the effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 on sugarcane and pine trees. Doubled CO2 levels increased the sugarcan leaf area by over 30 percent, while the all important juice from the main stem increased a whopping 83%. Hundred of articles have already shown that pine trees will grow larger, more resistant to drought and other stresses, and more water-use efficient thanks to elevated atmospheric CO2. Shannon LaDeau and James Clark of Duke University examined results from a 13-year old loblolly pine plantation in the Duke Forest of North Carolina. They conclude "We found that trees growing under elevated CO2 matured earlier and produced more seeds and cones per unit basal area than ambient grown trees."

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