Well this is interesting. It turns out that pushing CO2 into our atmosphere could well be the key to feeding our growing population.
A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Botany by Fereres, Orgaz, and Gonzalez-Dugo looks at the effect of CO2 on food production in a world increasing in population even as water is becoming increasingly scarce. So what major efficiencies need to be introduced to allow food production to match population growth in this scenario?
The authors posit that our world has become much more efficient in food production in large measure because of the release of carbon dioxide - i.e., plant food - into the air since the start of the Industrial Revolution.
It has significantly increased the leaf photosynthetic rates of our crops, while it has significantly reduced their transpiration rates, which has led to significant increases in leaf water use efficiency, or the amount of biomass produced per unit of water transpired in the process.
The experiments conducted by Fereres, Orgaz and Dugo ultimately verified that CO2 has a significant positive effect on crop production, while showing that theories of negative effects on world crop production from CO2 did not manifest in "real world" tests.
So what does this mean?
Mankind's CO2 emissions may ultimately prove a godsend to humanity, as they just might make the difference between our being able to adequately [feed] . . . our expanding population in the very near future or our failing to do so in a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions.
Apparently, we need more coal plants for the good of the environment. Al Gore's head set to explode in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .
Actually, I have been waiting for years for some scientists to confirm this hypothesis, as there had been some limited research a few years ago that showed higher agricultural yields in the presence of increased CO2 concentrations. In a world without the politicized science of Anthropogenic Global Warming, this study would be the impetus for a great deal more research to disprove or prove and extend the findings of the above study. But what I suspect will happen is that this study will be at best ignored, or at worst suppressed, and that we will learn of a conspiracy to delegitimize this study in a decade when the Climategate 7.0 e-mails are released.
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