June 8, 2019

Much maligned CO2 deserves a V shape record  for its reputation. Here we look at exactly how CO2 – the apparent reason for global warming & imminent extinction – actually serves plants really quite well. 

The real & indeed several  measurable benefits of  atmospheric CO2 enrichment have sadly been ignored in main stream media & research. Notably the main benefits of CO2 atmospheric enrichment for plants are the clear & demonstrable  increase in productivity, enhanced water utilisation as well as & enhanced stress resistance. 

There are three main benefits of atmospheric CO2 enrichment: more CO2 increases plant productivity, enhances plant water use efficiency, and helps plants to withstand and better endure various environmental and resource limitations and stresses.


CO2 is in fact the basis for live on plant earth. Science has been backed this up in several studies (1) (2). Consequently, CO2 enriched air has distinct benefits on plant development & growth. Carbon dioxide is the main source of raw material used by all plant life to produce the organic matter which is the basis for all plant tissue construction. It stands to reason then that the more CO2 in the atmosphere, the better plant growth will be. 

Studies (1) have shown that doubling of the air’s CO2 content clearly demonstrates  that the growth and productivity of  “plants rises by about a third, while that of most woody species increases by 50% or more.” (1)  

Interestingly this is applicable to both earth bound or aquatic plant life. Although aquatic plants have been studied far less than terrestrial plants, aquatic plants are demonstrably positively, responsive to atmospheric CO2. No known  photosynthesizing plants have been shown to not respond positively  with regards to atmospheric CO2 enrichment. Naturally it follows that plants both aquatic & terrestrial are very likely to benefit from the rising atmospheric CO2 content. On balance, CO2-enrichment  has also been demonstrably shown to be a natural weed reduction method as it will not increase the competitiveness of weeds over crops. This brilliant impact of from  higher atmospheric CO2 means a reduction in crop damage from pests as well as pathogenic diseases,  without the use of chemicals.

As the exponential  population growth continues,so too must the world capacity to feed ourselves. The great advantage of the ongoing atmospheric CO2 enrichment  may in fact offer far greater crop productivity. More specifically, if the agricultural community can decidedly identify the crop genotypes which provide the biggest increase in yields per unit of additional CO2, then surely our global food supply should conceivably expand rapidly into the future.  .

This impact & sentiment with regards to the benefits of CO2  are best summarised by Dr. Sylvan H. Wittwer. The celebrated agronomist,  remarked that  “it should be considered good fortune that we are living in a world of gradually increasing levels of atmospheric CO2.” (2)

Sylvan H. Wittwer, PhD., was the  Director Emeritus of the Michigan State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Professor of Horticulture. IN addition to this he served as  chairman of the Board on Agriculture of the National Research Council from 1973-77. 

Doubling atmospheric CO2 concentration typically raised the temperature at which plants  would otherwise suffer heat-induced death. We can reasonably deduce from this that great swathes of vegetation & plant life will  be able to tolerate higher atmospheric temperatures than presently experienced, this even in the face of dramatic temperatures rises touted by misleading climate models. 

Atmospheric CO2 enrichment decreases water stress for plants in order to enhance their ability to use water efficiently. Plants in conditions of elevated levels of atmospheric CO2, demonstrably, do not open their leaf stomatal pores. This is important because plant leaf stomata pores is how plants take up CO2. 

Plants,  at elevated CO2 levels, produce fewer leaf stomatal pores per unit area of leaf surface .  The consequential result of this is the reduction in water loss through transpiration, thereby greatly increasing their water uses efficiency & consequently, increasing plant ability to withstand drought. 

In this study (3) higher levels of atmospheric CO2 lead to a dramatic increase in the leaf ability to use water with regards to producing organic matter. 


In addition to this higher atmospheric CO2 levels have been shown to increase plant turgor. The impressive benefit of this is that a CO2-induced rise in leaf carbohydrate concentration enhances the leaf osmotic potential. This ultimately assists the maintenance of leaf water even when there is a decline in soil moisture. 

 Consider the implication of this. The consequential impact of rising atmospheric CO2 will actually allow plants to thrive in areas which is currently far too dry for them to exist in. Desertification even could easily be reversed in this way. 

CO2 enriched plants have the distinct advantage of more extensive and active root systems. These extensive root systems facilitate plants being able to access & utilize soil nutrients. Not only does CO2  enhance plants’ resource acquisition. This have positive consequential benefits for the soil fungi which produce hormones that stimulate root growth & also protect against toxic materials thus enhancing the symbiotic ecosystem of plants & soil fungi. 


The benefits of CO2 enrichment on plants are clearly impressive, so much so that the goal of an increased food supply in our times is not only realistic but also highly likely. Without a shadow of a doubt “it should be considered good fortune that we are living in a world of gradually increasing levels of atmospheric CO2.”


1 – http://www.co2science.org/data/plant_growth/photo/photo_subject_a.php 

2  – http://www.co2science.org/data/plant_growth/plantgrowth.php

3 – https://plantsneedco2.org/default.aspx?menuitemid=325