Global Warming: Carbon Dioxide and its Effects on Agriculture

| December 22, 2015

Many scientists understand that earth is getting warmer and that the cause could be an intensified greenhouse effect resulting from increased CO2 emissions from industry, vehicles, and the burning of forests. Increased carbon dioxide levels will also affect the nutritional quality of many crop plants by decreasing protein content and increasing weed growth. Global warming could influence agriculture and perhaps even completely melt polar ice, leading to flooding of coastal regions.

Over 90% of scientists now agree that global warming is occurring. In response to this potential threat, several European countries, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand have made a commitment to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions. However, some countries oppose taking strong actions at this time and the U.S. has only met a relatively small proportion of its commitments. Several reasons are cited. First, some experts think the apparent warming trend may be just a random fluctuation in temperature. Second, if the temperature increase is real, some argue that it has yet to be proven that the cause is increased CO2. However, regardless of the effects on climate change, the carbon fertilization effect of increased CO2 levels is affecting crops each year.  Some believe it would be difficult to cut CO2 emissions without sacrificing comfort, convenience, and economic growth.

Carbon Dioxide as a Greenhouse Gas:

http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gases/co2.html

Effects of Carbon Fertilization of Crop Plants:

http://www.news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=9479

http://news.illinois.edu/news/14/0507CO2_AndrewLeakey.html

http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/10/29/carbon-dioxide-emissions-stimulating-15-trillion-crop-production

Please consider and reply to the questions below:

  • Do you think we should have more evidence that greenhouse warming is real before taking action? Or is it better to play it safe and act now to reduce CO2emissions?
  • The evidence of carbon fertilization of crop plants is readily available and accepted. Crop plants are producing less seed and less protein. Weed plants are overgrowing crop plants and reducing annual yields. Should we take action now to reduce CO2 emissions in order to prevent the loss of agricultural output and nutritious crops?

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