back to article Global warming: It's GOOD for the environment

Climate change, this global warming thing, it's going to mean that the tropical forests frazzle up and then we all die, right? It will mena the death of the "lungs of the planet" – such as the miles upon miles of Amazon jungle – which turn CO2 into the O2 that we inhale. It's titsup for humanity, basically. Except, according to …


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  1. JeffinLondon

    Plants like CO2? Really?

    What a revelation! Plants thrive when they have more food! Wow, really?

    What's next, than animals do better with Oxygen than not.

    Wow.... what will climatologists think of next?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Plants like CO2? Really?

      The majority of atmospheric oxygen is produced by algea living in the sea - not trees.

      Would a few deg rise in sea temperatures do more harm than the increase in CO2 will help?

      1. Volker Hett

        warmer sea temperature

        Cold water stores more CO2 then warm water.

        Warmer oceans lead to a warmer atmosphere.

        A warmer atmosphere leads to warmer oceans

        The warmer the water, the more vapor.

        More vapor leads to a warmer atmopshere

        A warmer atmosphere leads to warmer oceans

        The warmer the water, the more vapor.

        More vapor leads to a warmer atmopshere

        A warmer atmosphere leads to warmer oceans

        The warmer the water, the more vapor.

        More vapor leads to a warmer atmopshere

        Oops, I must have hit a loop there .....

        1. Asher Pat

          Re: warmer sea temperature - so why are we not frozen or boiled by now?

          Oh boy, you are so clevel, describing an unstable system with a 100% positive feedback, meaning that there can not be stable temperature at all.

          Since the Little Ice Age (which ended in 1800-1850) CO2 increased by more than 30%, the mean global temperatures (according to the AGW alarmists, that is) increased by less than 0.5% (less than a degree over 250 Kelvin, or so, I cant be bothered to find out, but that's less than 0.5%).

          So how is it, that for 150 years, the vapor-warmer-vapor-warmer hullabaloo did not result in the oceans boiling by now? You clain 100% positive feedback, care to explain? Ooops?

          1. Burb

            Re: warmer sea temperature - so why are we not frozen or boiled by now?

            "Oh boy, you are so clevel, describing an unstable system with a 100% positive feedback, meaning that there can not be stable temperature at all."

            I'm not sure where the 100% comes from but, anyway, positive feedback does not imply instability. Hint: consider a simple model with a linear gain x, where 0 < x < 1 and apply some simple maths.

            1. Anonymous Coward

              Re: warmer sea temperature - so why are we not frozen or boiled by now?

              "Oh boy, you are so clevel,"


              And so are you.

              What I as the Head Climatologist of the Uranus Probing Project, have determined is the amount of METHANE calthracites being deposited in the oceans, and who's stability is dependent upon pressure AND temperature.

              And since there is an absolutely staggering amount of water-methane slush on the ocean floor - as the oceans continue to warm up, the methane is boiling out and re-entering the biosphere....

              This along with all the cows anus's venting millions of tons of it, AND even worsera, all of the tundra / permafrost / cold wet peaty areas - all warming up and venting squillions of tons of it - as in a lot - one of the issues is that METHANE IS a way worsera green house gas than CO2, and it may end up as the oceans rise above our heads, that the atmosphere becomes one HUGE mix of methane and oxygen and some fucker lights a match...

              Flambe Atmospherus...

              Thus there goes all the tinder left standing in the deserts as well.

              1. Figgus

                "Uranus Probing Project"


                1. Bucky 2

                  Re: "Uranus Probing Project"

                  I know. I thought they closed that place down.

        2. itzman

          Re: warmer sea temperature

          You forgot the bit where warmer wetter air rises, forming clouds which radiate energy to space and reflect incoming sunlight thus cooling the earth and making it piss with rain.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: warmer sea temperature

            @Itzman - Clouds are vastly more complicated than that.

            For a start anything that reflects solar energy back out to space, also reflects energy coming up from the earth back as well.

            But like I say, it's vastly, vastly more complicated than that.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: warmer sea temperature

            That would be like Denmark this past June. The coldest wettest and dreariest June in 20 years. Personally, the weather here sucks at best, and Climate Change is just not delivering on its promise of a tropical paradise here in the north. These "climate scientists" have really oversold this whole shabang and I for one want them to be held accountable!


        3. Robinson
          Thumb Down

          Re: warmer sea temperature

          Yes, you did hit a loop. It's called the bullshit feedback loop. No mention of clouds in your piece of course or the fact that the oceans store 1000 x as much heat as the atmosphere, hence their temperature beyond a few m cannot be influenced by it (it's the other way around). Not that scientists know all that much about this of course. But don't let that stop you from indulging in the environmentalist's favourite feedback fantasy!

        4. Pl0ns1971

          Re: warmer sea temperature

          Hey - you have forgotten about the rain. More vapour - more rain.

          More C02 - trees will grow faster - did you read the article ?

          Warmer climate - more land to agriculture.. and more food.

          There is no proof oceans heats up much.

        5. Volker Hett

          Re: warmer sea temperature

          I love thumbs down on plain physics :)

  2. Anonymous John

    Re plants do not show a large response to CO2 fertilisation

    You should see my garden with all the recent rain. The grass and weeds are growing faster than I can deal with them.

    I think I must have a negative carbon footprint.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    you mean there are other things that need to be looked in to before we can say for sure what is going on, what can be done to change that, and do we in fact even need, have the right or are able to change it at all anyway....

    But forget all that, lets carpet the country in giant wind turbines, push the price of fuel up so the least able are unable to support them selves with living basics such as heating and lecky, but we will make less CO2!

    we dont need no stinking research! we need ACTIONS, especially around election times and other politically sensitive events! ;)

    1. Omgwtfbbqtime
      Thumb Up

      Re: Soo

      I'd laugh, but it ceased being funny long ago.

      You're still right though.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Soo

      This is a hypothesis; this author of this article is hoping that vegetation can proliferate and absorb CO2 as fast as we are pumping it out. It obviously hasn't work so far - CO2/equiv levels are skyrocketing and human instigated global warming has happened, is happening and will continue to happen for quite some time.

      We don't know if nature can handle that CO2 load which is why we need to stop burning so much bloody fossil fuel, we can't keep releasing so much greenhouse gas until we know it's not going to cause catastrophic climate change. Did nobody ever tell you to err on the side of caution?

      1. Spinneyhead

        Re: Soo

        Nature can handle the CO2 load, evolution will give us organisms that can cope. The question is- will the society that caused the changed climate survive?

        1. AdamWill

          Re: Soo

          Ten points. I've mentioned this before, but I've always found it funny that the only thing the two sides of the climate debate seem to agree on is the one thing that's definitely wrong: that it's the future of 'the planet' that's at stake. 'The planet' is a bundle of inert dead matter hurtling through the universe. It has no consciousness and even if it did, said consciousness would not give a flying toss about a microscopic (on a cosmic scale) variation in its surface temeprature and climate and so forth.

          Since we are people and are both conscious and rational and are also self-obsessed bastards, the question, as you correctly point out, is what effect such microscopic variations in climate have on _us_. 'The planet' is not capable of giving a toss either way.

      2. The Axe

        Re: Soo

        Skyrocketing? You call a change in CO2 levels to from 300ppm to over 550ppm is skyrocketing? Note that the figure is parts per million. So a tiny figures doubles. It's still a tiny amount.

        Now lets get some details right first. CO2 does make a difference to temperatures. It is a greenhouse gas. But to make the Earth's temperature change by upto 5 degrees within decades as the IPCC say? That's just stupid and why anthropogenic global warming fanatics are called catastrophic AGW believers. Ever since the IPCC have said that temperature would rocket, they haven't. In fact global temperatures have levelled off since 1998.

        But CO2 levels are not a linear relationship with temperature. If they were we would be cooking ages ago. It's a logarithmic relationship and as CO2 levels increase it's effect decreases. So an increase in 0-20ppm makes a huge difference, but a increase from 300-500ppm makes only a small difference. And don't worry about suffocating at higher levels, we've got a looong way to go before then and plants will take advantage of all that extra CO2 and we'll have better crop yields meaning that the Earth can support a bigger population (or the current levels with better health etc).

        1. Burb

          Re: Soo

          "You call a change in CO2 levels to from 300ppm to over 550ppm is skyrocketing? Note that the figure is parts per million. So a tiny figures doubles. It's still a tiny amount."

          Is 30 billion tonnes a tiny amount?

          The point that a lot of people miss - so don't feel too stupid about it - is that, while the vast majority of the atmosphere does not comprise greenhouse gases, the *concentration* of greenhouse gases relative to those non-greenhouse gases says nothing about the *effect* of the greenhouse gases. The effect of course depends on the absolute amount of greenhouse gas. Its effect is not somehow diluted by the non-greenhouse gases.

          "But to make the Earth's temperature change by upto 5 degrees within decades as the IPCC say?"

          I'm pretty sure they did not say this. Could I have a reference please? It might be one of the scenarios considered but my understanding is that the best current estimate is more like 3 C based on current trends.

          "In fact global temperatures have levelled off since 1998."

          No they haven't. If you have evidence to the contrary I would like to hear it.

          1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

            Re: Soo

            "..."In fact global temperatures have levelled off since 1998." No they haven't. If you have evidence to the contrary I would like to hear it."

            This is what he's talking about:


            There is no point citing GISS or HadCrut figures - these are now so 'corrected' (read fiddled) as to be of little use...

            1. Burb

              Re: Soo

              "This is what he's talking about:


              That's like a parody of a climate 'skeptic' argument!

              Readers, take a look at this and see if you can spot what he did.

              "There is no point citing GISS or HadCrut figures - these are now so 'corrected' (read fiddled) as to be of little use..."

              It is standard practice in the statistical analysis of data sets to account for known systematic biases and outliers. If you have any specific claims about invalid procedures then let's hear them as they weren't identified by the recent BEST study.

            2. Chad H.

              Levelling off?

              If by "temperatures have levelled off since 1998" you mean "kept going up" then you're absolutely correct



              For global records, 2010 is the hottest year on record, tied with 2005.

              No, it hasn't been cooling since 1998. Even if we ignore long term trends and just look at the record-breakers, that wasn't the hottest year ever. Different reports show that, overall, 2005 was hotter than 1998. What's more, globally, the hottest 12-month period ever recorded was from June 2009 to May 2010.

              Though humans love record-breakers, they don't, on their own, tell us a much about trends -- and it's trends that matter when monitoring Climate Change. Trends only appear by looking at all the data, globally, and taking into account other variables -- like the effects of the El Nino ocean current or sunspot activity -- not by cherry-picking single points.

              There's also a tendency for some people just to concentrate on air temperatures when there are other, more useful, indicators that can perhaps give us a better idea how rapidly the world is warming. Oceans for instance -- due to their immense size and heat storing capability (called 'thermal mass') -- tend to give a much more 'steady' indication of the warming that is happening. Here records show that the Earth has been warming at a steady rate before and since 1998 and there's no signs of it slowing any time soon.

            3. AdamWill

              Re: Soo

              You do realize you can't just pick the very highest point in the graph as the appropriate point to start a trend line from, right?

              That's a graph showing an obvious broad upwards trend from 1975 to 2012, with a massive spike at 1998. So you pick the spike as your start point, and voila!, you generate a downwards trend (from an outlying start point) to 2012. If you pick *any other year between 1975 and 2000* as the starting point, guess what? You get an upward trend.

              That's the best you can do? Seriously? Even serious climate skeptics are probably embarrassed for you right now.

          2. The Axe

            Re: Soo

            Dodgy Geezer has answered the temperature since 1998 issue.

            I answered the effect of greenhouse gases by mentioning that the effect is logarithmic. The effect of CO2 diminishes as the concentration increases.

            The IPCC figure of 5 degrees is one of a number of possible scenarios for 2100, the lowest is a 2 degree change in average global temperatures.

            1. Burb

              Re: Soo

              @The Axe

              "Dodgy Geezer has answered the temperature since 1998 issue."

              Did you actually look at the graph that the (aptly named) Dodgy Geezer linked to? Talk about cherry picking.

              "I answered the effect of greenhouse gases by mentioning that the effect is logarithmic. The effect of CO2 diminishes as the concentration increases."

              Isn't this one of Monckton's arguments? You should know better than to rely on him.

              See for a full analysis of this but a couple of key points are:

              1. We aren't at equilibrium at the moment because a lot of heat has gone into the ocean. This mean that current warming rates are underestimates.

              2. CO2 isn't growing at a constant rate - it's accelerating.

              "The IPCC figure of 5 degrees is one of a number of possible scenarios for 2100"

              Exactly. But it is not the one that is thought to be most likely.

        2. Steve Knox

          Re: Soo

          Skyrocketing? You call a change in CO2 levels to from 300ppm to over 550ppm is skyrocketing? Note that the figure is parts per million. So a tiny figures doubles. It's still a tiny amount.

          300ppm (or 550ppm, or 250ppm for that matter) is not tiny amount, for two reasons. For one, it's not inherently tiny. It only takes 270ppm of airborne hydrogen cyanide to kill, for example. So 300ppm can be a very significant figure.

          For two, 300ppm is not an amount. It's a ratio. To get the amount, you'd have to multiply the ppm figure by the size of the earth's atmosphere. Then you'll have an amount.

          At any rate, an increase of over 80% may not be skyrocketing, but it certainly seems significant to me.

          1. The Axe

            Re: Soo

            So carbon dioxide has the same effect as hydrogen cyanide? Seriously? A tiny amount of a very strong poison is not the same as a tiny amount of a life giving gas. In fact a too small amount of CO2 will cause plants to stop growing. At levels below 30ppm plants do not grow.

            As for amount. All you are doing is making the figure look massive in the billions of tons. At that size the brain finds it hard to visualise and thinks it scary. To bring the figures down to manageable levels and to make them understandable you use ratios.

            1. Burb

              Re: Soo

              "So carbon dioxide has the same effect as hydrogen cyanide? Seriously? A tiny amount of a very strong poison is not the same as a tiny amount of a life giving gas. In fact a too small amount of CO2 will cause plants to stop growing. At levels below 30ppm plants do not grow."

              He's not saying that it has the same effect as hydrogen cyanide - he's simply pointing out that you can't rely on an argument that is based on concentration.

              "As for amount. All you are doing is making the figure look massive in the billions of tons. At that size the brain finds it hard to visualise and thinks it scary. To bring the figures down to manageable levels and to make them understandable you use ratios."

              But what is the significance of the ratio? What is the role of the denominator in the greenhouse effect?

            2. Spanners Silver badge

              Re: Soo

              So carbon dioxide has the same effect as hydrogen cyanide?

              Where, in what he wrote, does he say that? In fact, he said the opposite He explained that HCn (or whatever) is poisonous. At no point did he say that CO2 was. There is a definition of the false argument type you tried to use. I can't remember so I will just say it is BS.

            3. Steve Knox

              Re: Soo

              So carbon dioxide has the same effect as hydrogen cyanide? Seriously? A tiny amount of a very strong poison is not the same as a tiny amount of a life giving gas.

              I never said that. I used HCN as one example of how the levels we were discussing could be significant, not as the only example. Read up on analogies and how they work. As for that last sentence, in some situations they're exactly the same. One man's poison...

              In fact a too small amount of CO2 will cause plants to stop growing. At levels below 30ppm plants do not grow.

              Since we're already talking about levels an entire order of magnitude higher than that concentration, I don't see how that's really relevant to the discussion.

              As for amount. All you are doing is making the figure look massive in the billions of tons. At that size the brain finds it hard to visualise and thinks it scary. To bring the figures down to manageable levels and to make them understandable you use ratios.

              Yes, ratios are good. But when you use ratios, you need to understand ratios. The fact that you called a ratio an amount does not instill confidence that you have such an understanding.

              Your own figures show a ratio of approximately 1.8:1 between current and pre-industrial CO2 levels. That's an increase of 80%. Yet you consider that insignificant. That is another indicator that you have trouble understanding ratios.

              As for the logarithmic relationship, it's discussed quite in depth here: The net result: even the most conservative estimates mean a change on the scale we're talking about would mean at least a 0.5K increase in Earth's surface temperature; most put it at around 1.5K.

            4. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Soo

              @The Axe - Every time there is an article on Climate change, you come out with the same zombee arguments, they are comprehensively killed, but still manage to come back to life for the next one.

              You are not interested in anything other than parroting your own tired opinions and you certainly don't seem equipped to learn about subject you profess to know so much about.

        3. Reallydo Wannaknow

          Re: Soo

          "Skyrocketing? You call a change in CO2 levels to from 300ppm to over 550ppm is skyrocketing? Note that the figure is parts per million. So a tiny figures doubles. It's still a tiny amount."

          60ppm of arsenic can be fatal, and that is DEFINITELY a much tinier amount!

          Please provide references, preferably published in peer-reviewed journals, to substantiate your claim that nearly doubling the change of CO2 levels is an insignificant amount.

          "In fact global temperatures have levelled off since 1998."

          Based on the global surface record compiled by the Hadley Centre and the global UAH satellite record there has been warming over the past decade.


      3. Sean Timarco Baggaley

        Re: Soo

        "We don't know if nature can handle that CO2 load"

        Sure it can. It's Homo Sapiens that's going to suffer; the Earth would get along just fine without us.

        Mark my words, NONE of this alarmist "Anthropogenic Climate Change" bollocks has a damned thing to do with "saving" the planet. It's an entirely anthropocentric philosophy to lock the Earth's climate and stop it going where we don't want it to go. This is entirely about Climate Control, not climate change.

        The planet's climate would be changing even if our species had never evolved far enough to give the process a name. It's normal. Yes, we are undoubtedly having some effect on it, but we sure as hell don't know exactly how all the many complex systems and feedback loops involved work and interact, so anyone who claims to know all the answers is, bluntly, talking absolute rubbish. We know plenty about space, but next to f*ck all about our planet's oceans, their internal climate systems, and how they interface with the gaseous one we live in, for example. The last thing any scientist worthy of that name should be advocating is making deliberate attempts to twist and wrench the planet's climate to do what we want it to do.

        We're humans. We're adaptable by our very nature. We've already survived an ice age—and that's before we'd even invented writing! Our species already lives in environments as diverse as the deserts of the Middle East, the Arctic tundra, in towns, cities, nomadic tents—you name it. The Japanese have built major conurbations on land extremely prone to having a bit of a strop: they've adapted to that too. Hell, So no, we are most emphatically NOT going to die out because the sea levels might rise a mere centimetre or two each year over the next century. We may have to rethink zoning laws in coastal cities, but we've done that before. Coastal erosion isn't going to end just because we stop using internal combustion engines.

      4. A 11

        Re: Soo

        The reason it hasn't worked so far could be as simple as we're cutting down all the new growth. It doesn't matter if the plants are growing faster and collecting all the carbon if we cut them all down and liberate it again.

        I also don't think that he's hoping that. His point is that previous studies have suggested that increased CO2 levels have no effect on plant growth, but they are probably wrong (or at least too generalised). This means that raised CO2 levels may be (slightly) beneficial. It may mean that further increase in CO2 levels could be stopped/reduced if we devoted large areas to tree growth but they would probably have to be very large areas in poor countries who we might have difficulty persuading not to cut the trees down for firewood.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Soo

        IIRC the "skyrocketing" is only taking place in carefully chosen measuring stations strategically placed to insure that the readings are as high as possible (downwind from China, next to volcanoes etc.)

    3. Volker Hett

      Re: Soo

      But we can't vote for the president of Exxon, :(

  4. Big_Ted


    But what happens if there is a change in the weather patterns so that there is more cloud and rain in an area, grass can cope with it much better than trees can.

    And if there is less rain then trees die faster anyway, its why there are large grass areas over most of Africa and the central US etc, lack of rain.

    Extra CO2 will mean nothing then.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Climate change is good? tell that to all the people who were flooded.

    The weather in this country is getting more extreme.

    1. Chris Miller

      You idiot, don't you know the difference between weather and climate? Why even a 5-year-old ...

      Hang on, you're supporting the AGW argument? As you were, then.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "The weather in this country is getting more extreme."

      Even the "climate change is killing us" BBC are pointing at the once every few years change in the jetstream and are NOT blaming the current flooding events on climate change.

      1. dr2chase

        Change in the jet stream might also be climate change

        See here. I think this is still not too far past the "look what popped out of our simulations" stage (haven't followed the literature yet) but it sure has heck dovetails nicely with what we've been seeing lately.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Nobody is blaming climate change, but they are saying "we cannot say this is global climate change BUT IT IS CONSISTENT WITH OUR MODELS".

        1. Chris Miller

          @AC 13:46

          The trouble with models is that anything can be made consistent with them if you have enough different models to start with (and also if you permit retrospective tweaks to be made). What you need is for the IPCC (or someone) to make predictions about long-term climate patterns that can then be tested against the real world.

          At the moment, when results disagree with model predictions we either select a different model (from the vast array available) or change some parameter that affects the rate of cloud production (say).

      3. honkhonk34

        Even the "climate change is killing us" BBC are pointing at the once every few years change in the jetstream and are NOT blaming the current flooding events on climate change.

        The thing strangely overlooked by the likes of the BBC is that our actions do lead to greater flooding of our cities, but it's not inherently anything to do with the weather itself.

        To be more precise: the gulf stream changes are dependant on other weather systems around it. It can change direction (within reason) quite normally.

        This impact of this - rain hitting our towns, our rivers and their tributaries in the hills in larger amounts than is "normal" - has not inherently changed in the last x hundred years.

        What has changed however, is the amount of green space in our cities - notably we have less of it. Green spaces are capable of absorbing great volumes of water. Take them away and where does the water go?

        We've also tightened the corsets on our rivers, building ever closer to these "scenic" attractions - in the past these rivers could burst their primary banks and this would be less inconvenient because the nearest buildings would be further back, allowing the usually sloping land around a river to contain the flow. Now we have buildings which share a wall with the primary river bank with windows facing the river side!

        The increase in tarmac and non draining surfaces (because they contain utilities under them) has also ensured that when rain does hit us in greater volumes than expected, it has nowehere natrual to go

        And we wonder why we're experiencing more floods? It's because we've built our cities like bloody great fools! We can't simply impose our most convenient experience upon nature and expect there to be no clashes when nature doesn't follow the rules we'd like it to.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Agreed, my 7 year old pointed this rather obvious point out the other day whilst watching the news

          As I explained that "flood protection" is just another way of saying "passing the buck" he then piped up, why do we build there in the first place then

          which if we take initial historical context out of the equation we are left with the result from yet another ill thought out "green" initiative. Right motives / poor planning - political involvement = cluster ***k

          I tell you, for those of you that know a bit about politics id love to hear what you think, for anyone else who doesn't have a clue, it might be interesting to listen....

          I wonder if we removed politics as it stands and introduce anarchy which is actually very successful on local scales and even to a degree on a larger front, we wouldn't end up with half as much mess and poorly thought out plans then as we do today....

          just a thought.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Extreme weather

        "Even the "climate change is killing us" BBC are pointing at the once every few years change in the jetstream and are NOT blaming the current flooding events on climate change."

        A few years ago the BBC newsreaders attributed every record hot summer and extreme weather storm as being the result of climate change.

        Then we had climategate followed by a few snowy winters and they decided to stop doing it as often.

    3. David Kelly 2

      The most natural condition for weather is for it to constantly change.

      Thousands of 50 to 100 year old daily high and daily low temperature records are being broken in the USA most every day these past few weeks. Cries of AGW are being heard. To which I ask a simple question, "If we've had 50 to 100 years of cumulate AGW then why has it taken 50 to 100 years to break the old records?" Another way of putting it, "if this is the result of 100 years of AGW then what the heck was happening 100 years ago to set THAT record?"

      1. Peter H. Coffin

        100 year old record broken!

        We're setting aside that the vast majority of the US doesn't even HAVE temperature recordings older much older than 100 years, often because it didn't have thermometers there then?

    4. itzman

      No teh cilmate is not getting more extreme..

      you are just too young to remember 1847, 1948,1852..1975...etc etc.

      And to green to read up on thematter.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No teh cilmate is not getting more extreme..

        "you are just too young to remember 1847, 1948,1852..1975...etc etc."

        In 1911, the temperature in London hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit for the first time in recorded history, and many people died as a result.

  6. Big_Ted

    Oh and don't forget that CO2 doesn't burn so we will save money on fire fighting as the CO2 levels grow and fires don't spread so fast.......

    Good thing to, as the fire fighters will need to shed some kit due to lower Oxygen levels in the atmosphere......

    Its easy to pick a minor point and make a big deal out of it, its how the whole interacts that matters........

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Lower oxygen levels? Are you kidding me? Atmospheric composition DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY.

      1. Big_Ted

        Are you kidding me ?

        CO2 that's one part carbon and 2 parts oxygen, where do you think the carbon comes from, burning fossil fuels.....

        OF COURSE IT WORKS THAT WAY In the far distant past there was no oxygen at all till microbes caused it to appear and at other time much more oxygen which is why there were giant insects.....

        1. Big_Ted

          I Meant where does the oxygen come from of course not the carbon......

          1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

            If we were talking about adding thousands of parts per million of CO2 to the atmosphere I'd say you were right. We are not, though. We're talking about adding, over the course of the last century, around 60ppm CO2. If you seriously believe that can cause the atmosphere to have noticeably less oxygen then you may need to go and read up on the quantities involved.

            Besides, increased plant growth would liberate much of the oxygen again.

            And consider: how much oxygen was liberated by industrial processes that transform oxides into pure metals? How much from cracking water to produce hydrogen? Taking your own argument of knock-on effects would prove your contention wrong anyway. Maybe I should have gone down that path instead. :) Regardless, the amounts we're talking about would not have any measurable effect, or even any effect at all, on oxygen levels or combustibility.

            1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

              * or maybe 100ppm, just to cover the different estimates.

              Not knowing how much of that is natural increase vs man-made either.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                It doesn't matter

                remember the (original) 'Italian Job'? The one where that finishes with the bus balanced on the edge of the cliff, gold at one en,d M. Caine et al at the other?

                Similarly with our climate - a minute change sends us all over the cliff. It doesn't matter whether the change is natural or man-made BUT there's only one we can affrct.

                1. itzman

                  Re: It doesn't matter

                  Proof by assertion?

                  If it were that unstable it should flip between sweltering and an ice age very few years.

              2. Peter H. Coffin

                Okay, let's just put out there and admire for a bit: When discussing effects and consequences, the whole question of "natural increase vs man-made" goes right out the window. It is moot. It does not matter. It is a specialised case of Godwin's Law, where no more useful information will be forthcoming from the conversation. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE ON THE QUESTION OF CONSEQUENCES because the same actions will (eventually) need to be taken and exactly the same things will or will not work.

                1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

                  If the earth's climate was that unstable and that prone to falling over at the slightest push, we wouldn't be here to talk about it.

            2. Charles 9 Silver badge

              "And consider: how much oxygen was liberated by industrial processes that transform oxides into pure metals?"

              A lot of the liberated oxygen doesn't leave the smelter. At high temperatures, pure oxygen tends to combine readily with other elements: hydrogen to produce gaseous water or steam, carbon to produce carbon dioxide, and so on. That's why high-oxygen atmospheres have to be very careful with fire hazards.

    2. ian 22

      @Big Ted

      My thoughts exactly.

      Uncontrolled oxidation is quite dangerous, causing house fires worldwide. We can control it by increasing the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. Then houses will be as safe as .... Houses.

      AGW is good for you!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get your terminology right first

    A lot of people (not on this forum, of course) are chucking around some very vague and even contradictory statements recently. Largely because they haven't troubled to think things through.

    Take the title of this article, for instance: "It's good for the environment". What is the environment, exactly? Sorry to be pedantic, but when in search of precision you can't do better than a dictionary. here is the COED definition, for instance:


    n noun

    1 the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates...

    2 (the environment) the natural world, especially as affected by human activity..."

    (Irrelevant bits snipped). So the environment is our surroundings: the parts of the natural world that affect our survival, and how comfortably we can live. Hence its importance - qua environment - is entirely to US. And our reasons for being concerned about its "health" are entirely selfish. If the environment were to change to that of the surface of Venus, it would be unhealthy for us - but the environment would be fine. It would just be a little different.

    You often see journalists and others sounding off about "saving the planet". The Earth is an oblate spheroid of rock and nickel-iron, whose mass is a little short of 6 x 10^24 kg (6 sextillion, or 6 billion trillion tons). It really doesn't need saving, and if it did we couldn't affect the issue much either way. Probably the best description of homo sapiens' impact on Earth to date is "a skin disease".

    All this isn't just pedantic nit-picking. If we are to make sense of the real problems we face, we need to talk sense, understand what we are talking about, and above all be prepared to accept uncertainty.

    1. Lexxy

      Re: Get your terminology right first

      Tom Welsh: Probably the best description of homo sapiens' impact on Earth to date is "a skin disease".

      Take it easy there, Agent Smith!

      I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure.

  8. aidanstevens

    And in other news...

    the world is only 6,000 years old.

  9. mydogsgotnonose

    Tim, let's put this false science to bed. The 0.7 K from doubling [CO2] assumes the energy is directly thermalised by the activated molecule losing energy over ~1000 collision. There is no such process. Quantum exclusion forbids it. Students of various soft sciences are taught this false physics which is contrary to the most basic aspect of statistical thermodynamics, the Gibbsian Principle of Indistinguishability

    Molecules in an assembly have no memory. An already thermally activated molecule emits the same energy photon at the same time as the incoming photon is absorbed, restoring local thermodynamic equilibrium. The new photon moves to a different region of the atmosphere and the same process is replicated. Thus the GHGs are an energy transfer medium. Thermalisation occurs mainly at clouds. All experiments claimed to show direct warming can be explained by indirect warming at the container walls.

    Nahle has proved this by reducing the thickness of the 'PET bottle' wall by a factor of 12 - he observed no warming. Also, data in the metallurgical literature show unequivocally that the absorption of IR by CO2 levels off at ~200 ppmV in a long optical path.

    There can be no CO2-AGW. The warming from water vapour is concentrated in clouds. The IPCC IR hoax has been known since 1993 when Princeton physicist Will Happer refused to lie about it for Gore. The people at the centre of the scam cannot claim ignorance.

    1. Schultz

      Back to the physics books for you!

      "An already thermally activated molecule emits the same energy photon at the same time as the incoming photon is absorbed, restoring local thermodynamic equilibrium." ....

      You should read up on the terms "excited state lifetime", "intramolecular vibrational energy redistribution" and "collisional energy redistribution". Probably you also need to revisit the difference between "absorption" and "scattering", as you seem to confuse the two.

      After a molecule absorbs a photon, it can hold on to the absorbed energy for some time. Interaction of internal degrees of freedom in the molecule can redistribute the energy within the molecule. Collisions with other molecules can transfer the energy to other molecules and the redistribution of energy with the surrounding leads to a higher temperature of the molecular ensemble. So called "enthropy" makes the process irreversible.

      I rather like to present the physics in terms of coherence / decoherence, but we'll hold that for the next lesson.

  10. misotonic
    Thumb Down

    Disingenuous and unintelligent rubbish.

    Disingenuous and unintelligent rubbish. Just because trees might grow a bit faster if there is more CO2 in the atmosphere does NOT mean that greatly increasing the CO2 in the atmosphere is a good thing. Clearly the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere is still rocketing up DESPITE the fact that there are lots of trees around. How can this help to any significant degree? This does not even begin to get us off the hook.

    For a much more significant announcement last week look at the verdict by the US Appeal Court on the actions against the EPA. Now there is some decent common sense for once from rational legal minds.

    1. peter_dtm

      Re: Disingenuous and unintelligent rubbish.

      I rather think the rational legal minds found that the rational legal constitution gave no grounds for NOT imposing a tax. Nothing what so ever to do with the un-proven theory of catastrophic climate change.

      As we all know

      Climate Channges

      CO2 continues to increase

      CO2 PROBABLY lags temperature by approx 800 years (this is why it was importent to remove the Middle Ages Warm Period)

      There has been no statistically relevant temperature rise in the last 12 plus years (source - UEA Phil Jones)

      There is the null theory -the climate change we are observing is natural. Since there are no observations that have managed to disprove this there is no need to replace it ! Further the use of at best possibly accurate GCM (models) to claim to predict future climate; when the models still can not manage to predict global warming with out the tropospheric hot spot - WHICH DOES NOT EXIST - means that the very models on which ALL CAGW predictions are based are all seriously flawed.

      Rational logical application of the scientific method indicates that there is absolutely nothing to worry about.

      However; it is indeed a good thing to pollute less - which invariable happens with improving technology and CHEAP energy.

      There is no evidence that rapidly increasing CO2 is either cause of any climate change or that any warming of the climate would be a bad thing -the planet has been both warmer AND colder in the past; humans tend to do far better when its warmer.

      1. The Axe

        Re: Disingenuous and unintelligent rubbish.

        Look to the sun for a lack of temperature rise. Not many sunspots during the current solar maximum. Fewer spots than during some past solar minimums.

  11. dannymot

    Right so hardwood trees take a long time to grow, but according to you they are just going to start popping up and we need not worry...hmmm

    Oh and grass and CO2 are hardly the main factors limiting tree numbers it is deforestation and land use.

    No we don't know what all the mechanisms are, we just know that overwhelming numbers of them that are studied have worrying possibilities...but as long as the odd mildly positive possibility pops up articles can constantly spout drivel which lacks any perspective.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You would think...

    they would have learned something from Biosphere 2.

    1. Big_Ted

      Re: You would think...

      Why they seem to learn nothing from Biosphere 1.....

      1. Aaron Em

        Sure they did

        They didn't ask Pauly Shore back for the second one, did they?

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Tom 35

    Saved by the trees

    "trees will get more food and forests will advance across those grasslands."

    Except that people are cutting the trees faster then they can grow, and the grassland gets eaten by goats.

  14. Schultz

    Let's clarify something: Hydrocarbons + Oxygen are food in the sense, that if you consume the two you can generate energy from them. Ask you lunch about it!

    CO2 is not food in the same sense, because there is no reaction with any other abundant substance on earth that would generate energy. Plants consume light and perform photosynthesis, expending the light energy to bind carbon from CO2 in (you may have guessed:) hydrocarbons.

    To grow, plants need: (1) Light (energy), (2) water, (3) CO2 as source of carbon, (4) Nitrogen compounds, (5) Phosphor compounds, (6) other elements. If one of them is missing, plan growth is stunted. There may indeed be places where atmospheric CO2 levels are limiting plant growth, but this seems to be the exception: If we fertilize plants, we usually supply items (4-6) since this greatly enhances plant growth.

    Want another example to understand the difference between the quality of CO2-fodder and hydrocarbons+oxygen fodder? Life on earth in the billions of years before there were abundant hydrocarbons+oxygen consisted of slow-growing single cell-organisms. When the oxygen levels were high (higher than now), you had monster-insects and humongous dinosaurs. More food leads to more growth, but nothing ever grew on a diet of CO2.

    1. Tim Worstal

      Well, not so much

      "If we fertilize plants, we usually supply items (4-6) since this greatly enhances plant growth."

      Commercial greenhouses often raise the CO2 level to about 1,000 ppm precisely to get that faster growth.

      Heck, couple of blokes who used to work for my wife's deli kept lifting the CO2 bottles for the soda machine to perform the same trick on their pot plants. What really annoyed was that we were never even offered a toke despite paying for it.

      1. Crisp

        Re: Well, not so much

        Surely they would have been better off getting a load of sugar, hops and yeast and do their brewing in their green house.

        That's how I got a bumper crop of my tomato plants.

  15. scarshapedstar

    Fear of a weedy planet

    Until we figure out a way to eat grass and brambles, this isn't terribly h helpful.. I'm not aware of anyone saying that 'plants' would all die, just the ones we currently eat.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fear of a weedy planet

      You can make soup or porridge out of hemp. Just sayin'

  16. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    RE: Fear of a weedy planet

    "Until we figure out a way to eat grass and brambles, "

    We plant wheat or other similar crops. Or we let animals graze on the 'grass and brambles' and then we eat them. We didn't spend the last 5000 years fighting our way to the top of the food chain without learning a few tricks.

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. M Gale
    Paris Hilton

    Just to be a little pedantic.

    I thought "plant food" was a mixture of nitrates and phosphates, usually provided by the rotting matter in the soil and sucked up via the root system?

    CO2 is plant food in the same way that O2 is animal food, shirley?

    1. peter_dtm

      Re: Just to be a little pedantic.


      If you increase the O2 level in your house; neither you nor your children will grow any faster or use less water. Nor will any other animal or plant notice much difference.

      If you increase the CO2 levels in a green house to say 1000 parts per millionm (from approx 350ppm that is natural) (as is done by commercial growers) you will need less water and boost your yields - depending on the type of plant from 5 to 30%. Note that there is LESS water needed but no change in the other nutrients required.

      This is a repeatable experiment and has been done frequently; with consistent results - increase CO2 up to 5000ppm and plant growth improves; up to at least 1000 ppm does not adversely affect animals; nor would it acidify the alkaline sea (which contains over 50 times more CO2 than the atmosphere; and, outgases CO2 as it gets warmer [which may be why CO2 lags temperature change by about 800 years]...)

  19. jacobbe

    Sponsored by the big oil companies no doubt. ..... The end of the world is nigh, I tell you. we are all doomed.

  20. Curly4

    For only half of humanity

    It's titsup for humanity,...For only half of humanity.

    But the climate change could throw humanity back to where they were before tools which there would be a greater demand more more humans. Then only half would be up while the other half would be down!

  21. EL Vark

    Made for Suffering

    Sounds like this "Biodiodversity and Climate Reseach Centre and Goethe-University" place would tend toward self-defeatist at best, yeah? I mean, granted, it's no "International Research Institute for Climate and Society and Syliva Plath College", but still...

  22. brain_flakes

    Right so because elevated CO2 levels are good for /some/ plants that means climate change on a whole is good?

    Just because savanna trees may grow better doesn't mean that slightly elevated temperatures won't wreck, say, rainforests. I suppose El Reg would be happy to see tropical ecosystems completely disappear with biodiversity loss that would take millions of years to recover from just so savanna trees will grow a little better and we can continue using fossil fuels that will catastrophically run out soon if we don't switch to alternatives anyway?

    1. Marcus Bointon

      I quite agree - the original article doesn't say anything like what the reg's headline does. In other news, rising sea levels good for environment because fish will have more space to swim.

  23. compdoc

    Isnt the problem fewer forests?

    I do believe CO2 is good for plants, but what good is more CO2 when man is chopping down the trees for heating and cooking and creating grasslands for raising meat? I live in the American West and we're losing miles upon miles of forest due to forest fires.

    No, Global Warming will not save us.

    1. MondoMan

      Re: Isnt the problem fewer forests?

      The USA has actually significantly increased its forest cover and biomass over the last hundred years. Recent large forest fires have been made more massive and destructive by short-sighted forest management policies that emphasized suppressing all fires, not realizing that fire is a necessary and important part of natural forest life cycles.

  24. Chris 3

    This really is a horrible bit of journalism

    I really wish I could see the original paper to look at its conclusions, but the article author just jumps about making all kinds of unwarranted assumptions from what I can tell.

    The story, as told here appears to be that most studies into the effect of raised CO2 on plant growth have only looked at a biased sample of plants - but that some savanna trees (how many species, how widespread?) show increased growth rate in the presence of higher CO2 concentrations (how much faster growth? at what concentrations).

    The author then throws in the "Now all we have to hope for is that the upcoming IPCC report, the fifth, will report honestly and openly upon all the effects of rising CO2 levels" which makes the tacit accusation that previous IPPC report have been dishonest and closed. and haven't at great great length considered and discussed he biosphere's ability to mop up CO2.

    So the author of this piece hoping that we'll believe that savanna trees will be able to halt/minimise/reverse? climate change by soaking up additional CO2, but fails to say which species, what their capacity is, or at what concentrations that this occurs.

    He then accuses the IPCC of dishonest and obfuscation. The irony is almost too much to bear.

    1. peter_dtm

      Re: This really is a horrible bit of journalism

      look up c3 and c4 photosynthesis (wiki and

      So that is ALL terrestrial plants are either C3 (common) or C4 (probably a recent evolution possibly caused by the low levels of CO2 we currently experience).

      ALL plants benefit from CO2 at higher concentrations - yes that is ALL; not a single cherry picked tree that is needed to make hockey sticks.

      It is good to consider the UPSIDE of a warmer climate; compared to a colder climate. And then consider the likely RANGE of climate change. And then look at the regular decent into Ice Ages that the planet exhibits. Then you may ask yourself a question about which would be worse for Humans AND all living creatures on the planet; : a Moderate warming or another ice age ? (There is zero proof of the catastrophic predictions from models; no real world evidence at all; and in real science model predictions carry the same evidential weight as tea leaves do; we MAY be in for some rather pleasant moderate climate change in the warm direction; there again with no warming since 1996 - according to Phil Jones of the UEA - we may just be headed for another mini ice age).

      You could look at the different mortality rates between a cold period and a hot period - and how long it takes the mortality rate to 'recover' (hint; heat wave mortality rate tends to have corrected itself with in a couple of months; whereas a cold spell mortality rate doesn't 'recover'). You could also research the number of people a heat wave kills; compared to the number of people a 'cold wave' does.

      Warming (historically) in human terms has always been GOOD; cold periods are inevitably really BAD.

      Have you ever seen an IPCC report even mention the beneficial effects of (the cyclic) global warming ? Why do they ONLY concentrate on the downsides ? Greenland - fertile and habitable again. The tundra - growing tress and grasses AGAIN. It may well result in the greening of the Sahara; and Egypt could become Rome's breadbasket again (check your history of the Roman Empire; just where did Rome get its grain from ? oh yes that was during the Roman Optimum - or Roman WARM period - look it up and see how nice and warm the world got; wow; those Romans must have had a lot of cars and coal/gas power stations to be able to warm the climate up that much ???)

      So look up C3 and C4 plant types and the effect of elevated CO2 quantities on their growth; it is after all biologist consensus science based on real world observed measurements and repeatable experiments that lead to this fact. Experiments that are fully documented; with all their data freely obtainable; and you too could easily replicate such an experiment. No models; no guesses about what may be valid parameters for the model; no hind cast and fudge; just plain old SCIENCE.

      1. Gorbachov

        Re: This really is a horrible bit of journalism

        Yes, then all we have to do is shuffle a few billion people around the planet to the newly available land and we can all go our merry old way. What could go wrong?

    2. Ole Juul

      Re: This really is a horrible bit of journalism

      It's downright ignorant, in fact.

      Without knowing the effect of a small increase in temperature on the mycoflora (no, not "micro", in case there are any non-scientists here) there is no knowing how the vascular plants will grow. There are also many other biological issues that cannot be ignored if there is going to be any validity to this study. To only talk about the plants which are big enough for a casual observer to see is irresponsible and disingenuous.

      There may have been some educated comments buried among the scientifically childish talk here, but I am embarrassed at the sheer ignorance of most of them. Shame on "pub talk" commentards, and shame on the author too.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    one plant thrives in higher concentrations of CO2

    HEMP. many tracts on cultivation suggest the use of beer making as a way of increasing the available CO2 for cultivation in enclosed environments. It also fixes nitrogen, consolidates unstable soil, forms humus, provides animal fodder, oil, biomass and fibre for textiles and paper. Because it doesn't require retting to make paper pulp, it reduces pollution. ( its threat to wood as the prime source of pulp for paper making is why Randolph Hearst funded Harry J. Anslinger to be a cheerleader against it's wider cultivation and instigate america's ridiculous hemp prohibition). If the interference of the pharmaceutical companies could be taken out of current policy making, we could start reclaiming deserts.

  26. johnwerneken

    Reg CLOSE to the truth, almost

    The Reg has come very CLOSE to the truth about why the Climate Change issue is so hard for partisans on either side to be reasonable about: where you stand depends upon where you sit. If you own a vacation home on a North Carolina barrier island, you lose, as higher storm tides are going to total your property. Likewise coastal cities stand to see a huge reconstruction bill to raise or to relocate waterfront activities. Others will see biomass of vegetation greatly increase.

    As long as shifts in what grows where do NOT move our grain belts to unsuitable soil conditions, overall it should just be another reshuffling, some gaining as much as others lose. In these circumstances it’s ridiculous to expect those who stand to gain to volunteer to lose instead...

  27. Kieran

    GOOD for someone else's environment perhaps.

    Deforestation is the key. It's been made by a few people here, but only a minority.

    From reading between the smugness in the article: the original paper appears to be saying we 'might' be okay as long as we don't chop down any trees. However we ARE chopping down trees. Thousands of the bastards. Forest fires are natural events (normally) and in areas where they're prone to happen, the trees have indeed generally become resistant and grow back fairly quickly. Deforestation for development/agriculture/burning out the local rebels is a very different matter. Those CAN'T grow back because people are dumping asphalt, farms and airports over the top of them.

    So the basic argument that "everything's okay" is only valid if you believe we live in a totally different world than the one we actually do. If you do, then carry on. Just accept you're delusional.

  28. Jim Birch

    Is this news?

    It well known that most plants will grow faster at higher CO2 levels. CO2, water and sunlight are the primary nutrients plants absolutely require, and CO2 may be a limiting nutrient (depending). Not only can plants grow faster at higher CO2 levels but they can also grow better and are able to increase the levels of secondary metabolites that they embed in their cells to make themselves toxic to the insect and megafauna that want eat them. That megafauna includes us and things that we like eating. There is a level of CO2 at which grasses will become too toxic for ruminants.

    Of course, things adapt. On long time scales, natural selection produces new species that do better in new environments. New insects and herbivores with different biochemistries will appear if you wait long enough. In the meantime there's a lot death and extinction.

    Humans adapt too. The Black Death wiped out half Europe's population but humans survived. Some of the American natives survived the arrival of European diseases. This is adaption in action. It typically involves massive levels of suffering and death.

    Humans are generally pretty stupid. We do have the capacity to adapt intelligently before things screw up, but this is the exception not the rule. We are creatures of habit. If something works, it feels good, we keep doing it, then we invent satisfying stories about why it's a good idea and can't imagine things could be different. Nature doesn't give a rodent's rectum about our stories. It's a machine that brings beings like you into existence and destroys them without a thought.

    The science is in on anthropogenic global warming. It will have good and bad effects. If you're a certain species of bacteria living in the Siberian permafrost it might be a great thing. The dawn of a new age. For human it will average pretty bad. If you don't mind the deprivation it brings to you, your kids and your people, the good new is that we'll survive as a species and maybe even come out of it smarter and better. Just remember that natural selection works by elimination of individuals just like you, not by magic.

  29. Shannon Jacobs

    We aren't sure, so how about we don't take the risk?

    To me the tragedy of this politicization of science is that the political solution got shot in the head. There was a negotiated political agreement for everyone to share the risk. It was called the Kyoto Protocol. It wasn't perfect, but the basic principles were sound, and if Dubya hadn't nuked it, then we could have focused on fixing it. Yes, there would have been costs, but the whole point of the cap-and-trade idea was that the costs of the externalities would have been shared in a way that didn't confer competitive advantage. Or perhaps you could argue that any competitive advantage would come from innovation, but even the neo-GOP extremists haven't (yet) gotten around to denouncing innovation.

    Cap-and-trade was a pretty good idea, mostly created by the OLD Republicans, Now it is politically inconvenient because the other side agrees it's a good idea.

    In conclusion, he who dies with the most toys is still dead.

  30. Tom 7 Silver badge

    So the trees try and grow

    and we cut them down so we can have beefburgers for tea.

  31. cortland

    No rain, no treegasm.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not DEAF!

    Is Netiquette so 20th century?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You know what's even better for the environment?

    If all the humans on the planet disappear. Or even better if they all die. Imagine the fertilizer. Plants would love it. And yet that's not a very good outcome for humans. Burgeoning forests? They are going to grow so fast that they outstrip the rate of deforestation. Well, in that case, awesome!

    1. Marcus Bointon

      Re: You know what's even better for the environment?

      Curiously I've heard that human waste can't be used for fertiliser in the EU because it's to high in heavy metals, so maybe not so good.

  34. sam-i-am

    What goes around...

    If the world is getting warmer because of humans, then perhaps it once got cooler because of humans, and now it's just returning to normal. When we used to burn large amounts of coal, thereby loading tons of sulfur compounds into the air, the atmosphere reacted by becoming cooler as heat energy from the sun was reduced . When we stopped doing this because of environmental concerns about smog, the reduction in sulfur led to less infrared being reflected into space, and the air got warmer.

    Pumping sulfur compounds into the air has actually been proposed as a means to offset the supposed effect of CO2. Maybe we should just burn more coal.

  35. "saveNaturefree"

    co2 plant food fattening

    when you give people too much food they get fat.

    However when you give plants too much food,

    it shortens their lives and they release all the food

    back into the environment.

    get your 3b at saveNaturefree

  36. Thought About IT
    Thumb Down

    Another cherry picker writing for El Reg

    "These burgeoning forests will then rather neatly lock up in the biosphere all that extra carbon that we have been releasing into the atmosphere. Or some of it."


  37. Kleykenb
    Thumb Down

    Happy Ending

    Woow, a Happy Ending after all ! Just like we're taught to expect in the cinema !

    And who needs grass anyway?

    Icebears don't need grass so it's all good!

    CO2 for President !

  38. localzuk

    Missed the point slightly...

    Climate change and global warming have never been about trees frazzling up or whatever you said in the article. It has about those first 2 words I used.

    It is about how the changes that are happening will affect us, the humans, and the other animals on the planet. Sure, if the CO2 levels rise then some plants will flourish - its how nature works, balance one thing out with another. But how will we react to a 2 degree increase in temperature? Sea levels rise - there goes NYC...

    1. Fading

      Re: Missed the point slightly...

      I believe you have - a whopping 2 degrees huh? Is this mean, medium or mode? What temperature range does your "average" day span? More than frakkin' 2 degrees isn't it? How much is the sea level due to rise - how much does it ebb and flow in a normal day?

      The trend is not even outside of the error bars ergo no trend at all.

      1. NomNomNom

        Re: Missed the point slightly...

        Two degrees would take us to the warmest the Earth has been in millions of years

        1. Fading

          Re: Missed the point slightly...

          No it wouldn't. A two degree shift in the "medium" (which is what the temperature record is based on) may not even be noticed. Not only are the current temperatures not "unprecedented" even the rate of temperture is nothing unusual (similar to 1930's rate).

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The 1990s called, they want their idiotic ostrich argument back.

    Also, you seem to have missed the point that we're chopping down the trees...

  40. Mike Richards Silver badge

    One problem with this scenario

    Is that a good part of the savannah is being turned into agricultural land rather than being allowed to afforest. Farm land is a poor carbon sink and also brings other environmental problems such as the need for synthetic nitrogen and large amounts of phosphorus.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "As we burn more fossils that will go up, the trees will get more food and forests will advance across those grasslands."

    I think you fail at biology, if you think that's true. Plants need more than stuff in the air to grow, as the contents of my neglected window box will tell you.

  42. Andy The Hat Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    ... look on the bright side, my tomato plants just lurve the extra CO2 ...

    Perhaps if:

    We eat more pizza

    More requirement for tomato paste

    Growth of plants uses more CO2

    Global warming reduces

    Seems like a win-win to me ... fast food reduces global warming!

  43. Mike 137 Silver badge

    important question

    I wonder how many who have commented here have actually read the full paper. Minor point maybe, but...

  44. Triggerfish

    Making plants grow.

    Its a balance of more than one thing.

    You have

    Food (nitrates, nitrtites etc etc)



    All in relation with each other, all dependant on each other to have an effect.

    If you increase one of these you will get improved growth, but only for a certain amount without the other two to increasing, then the one factor becomes usueless.

    So extra C02 on its own isn't going to do much. (Oh and btw plants also use 02 at night), the oceans are much more likely to be the lungs of the air, crops aren't as good as rainforest - poor nitrogen fixing, shallow roots systems effecting water tablea dn stopping topsoil erosion etc etc, which in themselves could have potential knock on effects

    Haven't read the Nature article so wont comment more, but saying in teh title global warming is fine after C02 is plant food is a bit disingenuous.

    1. peter_dtm

      Re: Making plants grow.


      If you increase one of these you will get improved growth, but only for a certain amount without the other two to increasing, then the one factor becomes usueless..

      end quote

      actually if you more then triple the amount of CO2 (to >1000ppm) you do not increase any other nutrient; in fact you DEcrease the plants water use.

      Most plants (look up C3 and C4 carbon fixation) appear to be CO2 starved; and that it the paucity of CO2 currently available that is the limiting factor for plant growth. CO2 concentrations have been way way higher in the (evolutionary) not so distant past (incidentally the world didn't fry then either); to quote wikipeadia

      C4 fixation is an elaboration of the more common C3 carbon fixation and is believed to have evolved more recently. endquote

      Some have theorised that C4 is an evolutionary adaptation to the current low levels of CO2 - and they also get into trouble if CO2 < 200ppm. Plants love CO2 at 5000 ppm - I wonder just what sort of evolutionary pressures gave us plants that struggle with CO2 < 1000 ppm ???

      CO2 - plant food and food for thought ....

  45. Dick Emery

    All I want to know is...

    ...when are we gonna get a proper summer and winter without freak weather? I'm fed up of 'Oh we have a hosepipe ban because of the drought' then 'Oops! Now we have our wettest month on record' etc.

    My fuel costs have rocketed during the winter months too! Something is surely screwing up for all this freakish weather to be happening.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    Carbon dioxide has no significant effect on plant growth?

    RE: "Experimental studies have generally shown that plants do not show a large response to CO2 fertilisation."

    So I suppose that the millions of greenhouse growers of everything from tomatoes to marijuana are just superstitious fools then. They are wasting millions of dollars on extra carbon dioxide that they need not spend, because plants do not respond in any significant way to carbon dioxide. Can you shout, "Balderdash!"? I can.

    It's this way, folks. Land based plants are completely ineffectual in terms of carbon sequestration. One way or the other, land-based plants slowly turn back into atmospheric carbon dioxide and water. Only plants living in aquatic enviroments can succeed in creating significant sequestrations of carbon because the bulk of them terminate their existence on the bottoms of bodies of water. What is the single largest aquatic environment we have? I'll give you a broad hint. It has salt in it.

    Our planet should be named Sea, not Earth. I think that would change our perspective. The seas are roughly three timess the size of our land area. Notice that I said area. It is much more when you consider it as a volume. Why would anyone ever think that the oceans are not so terribly important to us as inhabitants of an oceanic planet? A wise old geologist once said to me, "Boy, the world is basically made up of three things: water, whale shit, and sand. All the rest is too tiny to matter. "

    After the sun and its behavior, the seas have the largest impact on our environment, make no mistake about it.

  47. Clive Galway



  48. Some Beggar

    Good news for those of us who like our unsustainable tropical hardwood furniture: it looks like there's going to be a lot more of it to go around soon enough.

    Self-generating and unmanaged rainforests would take fifty to eighty years to produce trees large enough to be harvested. Even if we managed these hypothesised new areas to cultivate hardwoods, you're still looking at forty or more years. No offence, Tim, but I don't think that is "soon enough" for you to benefit from a new teak loveseat.

    And realistically, neither option is particularly likely given that the regimes who control most of the potential new forestry shown on that map are the same regimes who are currently replacing their rainforests with unsustainable arable land. Why would they suddenly change tack and sit on their hands for half a century to let new rainforests grow?

  49. Chad H.

    I have to wonder sometimes...

    Has Gina Rinehart bought the Register. The wind stuff convinced me that wind wasn't a goer, but this kinda stuff where you look at one small part of the whole puzzle and try and come to a global conclusion is, well, nonsense. CO2 is used by plants, correct. But will the climate changes support plants in any given location? Depends on rainfall patterns, temperature, etc. Maybe before one ecosystem can take over another the plants there die out causing grounwater levels to rise and thus making the land infertile (see Salinity).

  50. Anonymous Coward

    Change is not a problem, it's speed is though.

    I believe in general the change might not be bad but the biggest problem is it's speed which is not leaving enough time for evolutionary changes to kick in. Humans already stressed the environment and it looks like even if we do not caused the change we at least accelerate it all the time.

    I am sure if this CO2 level would rise in 10 times longer time all would be much better but at the current speed it will wipe out a lot of species (and probably a lot of humans at some point).

    Papers like this are fine and good but they do not address the speed issue. Even if plants can benefit tremendously from a higher level of CO2 we will not give them enough time to matter.

    On the other hand, if all this wipes us, and many other species, out it would not really matter how many millions of years will take evolution to bounce back, nobody will be counting anymore. :)

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