Policy Documents

The State of Earth’s Terrestrial Biosphere: How is it Responding to Rising Atmospheric CO2 and Warmer Temperatures?

December 5, 2012

One of the potential consequences of the historical and ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content is global warming, which phenomenon has further been postulated to produce all sorts of other undesirable consequences. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for example, contends that current levels of temperature and changing precipitation patterns (which they believe are mostly driven by the modern rise in atmospheric CO2) are beginning to stress Earth’s natural and agro-ecosystems now by reducing plant growth and development.

And looking to the future, they claim that unless drastic steps are taken to reduce the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content (e.g., scaling back on the use of fossil fuels that, when consumed, produce CO2), the situation will only get worse – that crops will fail, food shortages will become commonplace, and many species of plants (and the animals that depend on them for food) will be driven to extinction.

Such concerns, however, are not justified. In the ensuing report we present a meta-analysis of the peer-reviewed scientific literature, examining how the productivities of Earth’s plants have responded to the 20th and now 21st century rise in global temperature and atmospheric CO2, a rise that climate alarmists claim is unprecedented over thousands of years (temperature) to millions of years (CO2 concentration).