Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Are there any benefits of excessive carbon dioxide emissions?

Climate change problem caused by excessive carbon dioxide emissions due to heavy industrialization and dependence on fossil fuels to satisfy current energy demand is something that only looks to be extremely negative, something that will push world towards the big environmental disaster in form of floods, drought, hunger, hurricanes, sea level rise, brand new diseases, etc. The concentration of atmospheric CO2 has already increased by about 30% since the beginning of the industrial revolution, and carbon emissions are still not slowing down. While there is almost no doubt in scientific community how excessive carbon emissions can only cause great damage in the long run, there are also some very rarely mentioned short term benefits of excessive carbon emissions.

The greatest benefit of excessive carbon emissions is definitely the faster growth of the forests and plants, basically the most simplified concept looks something like "the more carbon emissions we release in the atmosphere the faster will forests and plants grow". During the famous photosynthesis process, plants take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to create food, but as the plant dies and decays, CO2 gets released back into the atmosphere. To keep this trend positive we need to make sure to have more plants that are growing compared to the ones that are dying. However, it also has to be said that there is much bigger possibility that at some point carbon emissions will surely become too excessive, and plants won't be able to handle CO2 on desired way meaning more plants will die than grow. Because of this we must do everything that is in our power not to make carbon emissions too excessive for plants to handle. This is very difficult to do since nobody doesn't know the maximum limit of carbon emissions that plants can handle.

Some latest studies have shown that climate change is causing the growth spurt of the tress, and especially encouraging is the fact that some of the oldest trees on Earth grow faster thanks to higher carbon emissions, and as some of you know older trees absorb more CO2 from the atmosphere than their younger relatives. However there is also the downside to this phenomenon, namely that the faster growth means also the faster death of the trees; this is really not so surprising when you look at some reports that say how for instance bristlecone pines have grown faster in the past 50 years than they have in 3.7 millennia before.

Some scientists however do not see the sooner dying of these trees as the negative impact on climate change because they believe how this fast growth has potential to fertilize forests enabling many other trees and plants better conditions to grow, so is definitely a good sign to see these ancient trees kicking into life once again. In any case it is still to early to say whether benefits outweigh negatives in this whole story. Perhaps with more research we'll know the answer.

Ancient trees has certain benefits from excessive carbon emissions .