CO2 ‘pollution’ is greening the planet

By |2016-05-09T14:10:11+00:00May 9th, 2016|CFACT Insights|8 Comments

greensaharaIf there’s anything that climate crisis theology clerics hate more than fossil fuels, it’s got to be any glad tidings about CO2. Like, for example, results of a global satellite study published last month in the journal Nature.

It reported that thanks to that “pollutant,” the planet is producing lots more veggies even the most strident non-carnivorous ideologically superior planetary salvationists should truly celebrate.

How much more?

Well according to the 32 researchers from nine countries, it amounted to “a persistent and widespread increase” of greening over 25% to 50% of the “global vegetated area” over the past 35 years. Less than 4% of the globe showed a reduction. Of the 85% of Earth’s ice-free lands, the areas covered in green average about 32% of that amount.

The additional leaves laid out in a carpet would cover the continental U.S. twice over.

If you have been holding your breath wondering why this is occurring, go ahead relax . . . take some blameless credit.

Based upon simulated ecosystem models, the researchers credited 70% of this green bounty to CO2 fertilization benefits. They Lush-Green-Forestattributed another 9% to nitrogen fertilizers and 4% to shifts in land management, neither of which explain observed added forest growth.

A 2013 study of temperate and boreal forests in the Northern Hemisphere (also published in the journal Nature), reported a substantial increase in water-use efficiency over the past two decades that was much larger than predicted by biosphere models.

This was attributed to increased ecosystem-level photosynthesis, net carbon uptake, and decreasing evapotranspiration (water loss).

And here’s the part some authors of the most recent report obviously had to struggle with. They attributed the third greatest beneficial influence — 8% — to “climate change”. This admission must have been particularly painful for co-author Philippe Ciais from the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences in France, who has also served as an author for reliably alarmist UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.

True to form, Ciais said: “The fallacy of the contrarian argument is two-fold. First, the many negative aspects of climate change are not acknowledged.

“Second, studies have shown that plants acclimatize to rising CO2 concentration and the fertilization effect diminishes over time.”

Well actually, no. He’s wrong on both accounts.

jcurryRegarding the first “fallacy,” as Judith Curry, former chair of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has pointed out, “It is inappropriate to dismiss the arguments of the so-called contrarians, since their disagreement with the consensus reflects conflicts of values and preference for the empirical [i.e., what has been observed] versus the hypothetical [i.e. what is projected from climate models].”

As for claims that CO2 fertilization benefits are temporary, leading CO2 plant growth authority Craig Idso, who chairs the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, finds no empirical evidence exists to support a model-based claim that future carbon uptake by plants will diminish due to rising temperatures.

In fact, just the opposite has been observed in the real world.

Over the past 50 years, global carbon uptake has doubled. CO2 boosts water use efficiency.

Increased CO2 fertilization enables plant leaves to extract more carbon from the air — lose less water — or both — during photosynthesis, a process that converts sunlight and soil nutrients into sugars which fuel life.

Many plants also tolerate heat better when CO2 levels are higher, a condition evidenced by satellite imagery of deserts and savannas where greenery expansion is more apparent than in wet locations.

Lead author Zaichun Zhu from Peking University told BBC News, “The greening reported in this study has the ability to zztopfundamentally change the cycling of water and carbon in the climate system.”

In many regions of the world a warmer planet will lead to more precipitation and longer growing seasons. This results in far fewer deaths from starvation and winter hypothermia.

And yes, although just not happening very recently, climate change is very real.

Despite “record high” atmospheric CO2 levels, other than 1998 and 2015 ocean El Nîno temperature spikes, satellites have recorded no statistically significant global warming over nearly the past two decades.

Nevertheless, this “pause” is occurring within a nearly two-century-long natural warming trend which began before the Industrial Revolution introduced fossil-fueled smokestacks and SUVs.

Those same fossil fuels displaced the use of firewood, preserving more forests to exchange CO2 for oxygen we and Bambi depend upon while also returning plant fertilizer to grow more food in the bargain.

Jesse Ausubel, director of the Program for the Human Environment at Rockefeller University, puts the real story into perspective: “Global greening is the most important ecological trend on Earth today. The biosphere on land is getting bigger, year by year, by two billion tons or even more.”

That sort of “pollution” deserves a grateful world of gratitude.

NOTE:  This article first appeared at:


  1. cshorey May 11, 2016 at 3:11 AM

    Why didn’t you mention the studies that show that such greening is not an increase in diversity, and that weedy and invasive species do better in this higher CO2 environment? Or why didn’t you mention that as this applies to crops, you still have limiting nutrient issues with N, P, K which won’t allow your CO2 increase to have any effect, and then with the increase in insect plant pests . . . just thought I’d help Larry have a more full picture.

    • J T May 15, 2016 at 10:33 PM


  2. Dano2 May 12, 2016 at 2:28 PM

    Poor hapless Larry is a week behind. The PR firm pieces that came out last week were already identified as misleading.

    What good does it do to be a week late to the party? Beside being able to pay for college, that is…



    • Brin Jenkins May 16, 2016 at 11:35 AM

      Just not so, this pic was taken a couple of days ago in the shadow of Mount Etna. My observation is the growth is lush and vigorous, salad crops are organic and have great taste. The lemon trees have three crops a year and tomatoes are the best. We need more C02 not less, if it were to fall below 180 parts per million folk would starve.

      • VACornell June 9, 2016 at 8:42 PM

        Let us get to 450ppm very soon…

  3. John Macdonell May 14, 2016 at 4:14 PM

    Very misleading info by CFACT.

    “…..Ciais said: “The fallacy of the contrarian argument is two-fold. First, the many negative aspects of climate change are not acknowledged.

    “Second, studies have shown that plants acclimatize to rising CO2 concentration and the fertilization effect diminishes over time.”

    Well actually, no. He’s wrong on both accounts.”

    Actually, Ciais is right on both accounts.

  4. John Macdonell May 14, 2016 at 4:40 PM
  5. J.P. Katigbak May 19, 2016 at 11:33 PM

    It is a fight for the truth to uncover the ideologically socialist motivations behind junk science as a cover for their ideologically left-liberal agendas.
    Please remember that left-liberalism is really a double-edged ideological sword, and it is really pervasive. So always be wary of left-liberal ideologues wherever possible. Because they have very dangerous motivations in justifying the philosophical and ideological belief in environmentalism. – J.P.K.

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