Consequently and in consideration of these benefits the ongoing rise in atmospheric CO2 should be widely celebrated. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, it is the very elixir of life.
The previous post on this topic described how most plants will benefit from warming (if we get any) thanks to CO2 enrichment. This post provides a hint of the dollar benefits of past and future enrichment, the increase in food production and the positive impact on forest ecosystems. For more details read chapter 13 of Climate Change: The Facts 2017.
Agricultural production has been rising steadily against the expectations of environmental alarmists and aerial fertilisation by CO2 is one of the factors as an Australian Gifford suggested as long ago as 1979. That was before anyone was taking much notice of CO2 and the great (and now almost forgotten) cooling scare was fading away. Some of the benefits attributed to the new breeds of grain and fertilizer regimes in the green revolution may have come from CO2 enrichment.
Calculations suggest that the annual benefit of CO2 enrichment grew from US18 billion in 1961 to more than 140 billion by 2011 to deliver a total of US 3 trillion over 50 years from 2011 to 2051. This has the potential to transform the capacity of the earth to provide for the projected population at that time. So much for the billions of deaths from starvation that Paul Ehrlich predicted last century.
Rice runs third with 9% of global food production and a 300ppm increase in CO2 could lift the yield by almost 40%. What is more the research shows that the response from various strains of rice varies from -7% to +260% which can guide breeding programs as the Horsham researchers in Australia reported.
The author reports that tree growth rates have increased since the Industrial Revolution with some species doubling their growth rate during this time. This includes highly productive tropical forests. The greening effect of CO2 on the forests of the planet has been well reported thanks to satellite studies and the terrestrial primary productivity has increased by 6 to 12% since the 1980s. As if to placate the greens this has been caused a great deal of carbon capture in forests, those that have not been replaced by oils for petrol or woodchips to burn for carbon credits in Europe.
The author concluded “Consequently and in consideration of these benefits the ongoing rise in atmospheric CO2 should be widely celebrated. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, it is the very elixir of life.”