Shock Finding - Plants Take CO2 From Air
TREES and plants are growing bigger and faster in response to the billions of tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by humans, scientists have found.
The increased growth has been discovered in a variety of flora, ranging from tropical rainforests to British sugar beet crops.
It means they are soaking up at least some of the CO2 that would otherwise be accelerating the rate of climate change. It also suggests the potential for higher crop yields.
Some researchers believe the phenomenon is strong enough to buy humanity some extra years in which to try to reverse the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. However, few dispute that this will provide anything more than a temporary reprieve.
However, scientists have warned against drawing false comfort from such findings. They point out that although levels will boost plant growth, other factors asso-rising CO2 ciated (sic) with climate change, such as rising temperatures and drought, are likely to have a negative effect.
“On average, the trees were getting bigger faster,” Lewis said. He found that each hectare of African forest was trapping an extra 0.6 tons of CO2 a year compared with the 1960s.
If this is replicated across the world’s tropical rainforests they would be removing nearly 5 billion tons of CO2 a year from the atmosphere. Humans, however, generate about 50 billion tons of the gas each year.
I can't quite get those figures to work as there are only about 4 billion hectares of forest in the world. And 4 x 0.6 doesn't equal nearly five. But then forests release 1.1 Gt of carbon annually from their stocks anyway....