CO2 myth busted: Why we need more carbon dioxide to grow food and forests

Mike Adams Natural News April 1, 2013

If you talk to the global warming crowd, carbon dioxide — CO2 — is the enemy of mankind. Any and all creation of CO2 is bad for the planet, we’re told, and its production must be strictly limited in order to save the world.

But what if that wasn’t true? What if CO2 were actually a planet-saving nutrient that could multiply food production rates and feed the world more nutritious, healthy plants?

CO2 is a vital nutrient for food crops

As it turns out, CO2 is desperately needed by food crops, and right now there is a severe shortage of CO2 on the planet compared to what would be optimum for plants. Greenhouse operators are actually buying carbon dioxide and injecting it into their greenhouses in order to maximize plant growth.

The science on this is irrefutable. As just one example, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food says:

CO2 increases productivity through improved plant growth and vigour. Some ways in which productivity is increased by CO2 include earlier flowering, higher fruit yields, reduced bud abortion in roses, improved stem strength and flower size. Growers should regard CO2 as a nutrient.

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If you want to understand why CO2 is an essential nutrient for food crop growth, check out this informative slide show. It explains that “CO2 may be repidly depleted during crop production” daylight hours, because the plants pull all the CO2 out of the air and use it in photosynthesis.

The CO2 found in modern-day atmosphere is 340ppm. But food crops would grow far faster if the concentration of CO2 were closer to 1000ppm, or roughly 300% higher than current levels. In fact, most greenhouse plant production causes a “CO2 depletion” to happen, shutting down photosynthesis and limiting food production. As the “Carbon Dioxide in Greenhouses” fact sheet explains:

Ambient CO2 level in outside air is about 340 ppm by volume. All plants grow well at this level but as CO2 levels are raised by 1,000 ppm photosynthesis increases proportionately resulting in more sugars and carbohydrates available for plant growth. Any actively growing crop in a tightly clad greenhouse with little or no ventilation can readily reduce the CO2 level during the day to as low as 200 ppm.

Thus, greenhouse plants are “running out” of CO2. They are starving for it. And when you add it to food crops, you get higher yields, improved taste, shorter flowering times, enhanced pest resistance and other benefits.

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