Review: How Rising Carbon Dioxide Benefits Plant Life

Published March 14, 2011

Review of The Many Benefits of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment, by Craig D. Idso and Sherwood B. Idso (Vales Lake Publishing, 2011), 366 pages, ISBN-13: 978-0981969428

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has declared carbon dioxide (CO2) a dangerous air pollutant, but just the opposite is actually the case. Not only are increasing concentrations of atmospheric CO2 not dangerous to human, animal, or plant health, they actually benefit earth’s many life forms, counteracting the deleterious effects of real air pollutants.

Drs. Craig and Sherwood Idso tell the entire story of CO2’s beneficial effects in The Many Benefits of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment, with countless peer-reviewed references to support their every claim.

Elixir of Life
Atmospheric carbon dioxide is the elixir of life. It is the primary raw material out of which plants construct their tissues, which in turn are the materials out of which animals construct theirs. This knowledge is so well-established that humans and all the rest of the biosphere are described in the most basic terms as carbon-based life forms.

Nowadays, all we ever hear about atmospheric CO2 is the alleged negative consequences of its increasing concentrations. These distortions of the truth—in fact, reversals of it—are spread by governments and environmental advocacy groups who believe in using fear to gain ever-increasing influence over other people’s lives.

Fifty-Five Benefits Described
The Idsos characterize 55 ways, in alphabetical order, in which the modern rise in atmospheric CO2 is benefiting the earth’s biosphere. I will summarize here just 10 of them to pique your interest in this book.

Air Pollution Stress on Plants—As the CO2 content of the air rises, most plants reduce their stomatal apertures, or openings through which they consume carbon dioxide, and thereby reduce the intake of harmful pollutants that might damage their tissue.

Diseases of Plants—Plant diseases are commonly reduced as a result of improved immune systems that result from increased CO2 in the surrounding environment. This has been proven by hundreds of plant studies.

Flowers—Most plants produce more and larger flowers at higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

Health Promotion—CO2 enrichment increases the quantity and potency of the many beneficial substances found in the tissue of our food crops which therefore make it onto our dinner tables with more vitamin C and other antioxidants.

Medical Plants—Atmospheric CO2 increases the production of many health-promoting substances in medicinal plants, which have been shown to fight a wide variety of human maladies.

Nitrogen Fixation—Increasing CO2 concentration improves nitrogen fixation by soil bacteria, which leads to increased nitrogen availability in the soil for plants that normally need additional nitrogen provisions.

Photosynthesis—Additional atmospheric CO2 typically increases the photosynthesis rates of nearly all plants.

Soil Erosion—Increased CO2 enables all plants to extract more moisture from their surroundings; as a result, plants expand their root systems and significantly stabilize soil, thus protecting it from erosion.

Transpiration—Plants take in CO2 from open pores, called stomata, through which moisture also exits the plant. With increased CO2 in the air, plants do not need to keep these pores open very long to capture the needed CO2, and thus less water is lost through evaporation, a process called transpiration.

Water Stress—When plants are growing under less-than-optimal soil water availability, higher atmospheric CO2 dramatically improves the plants’ chances for survival and healthy growth.

Highly Recommended
Someone should nominate this book for Nobel Prize consideration in the area of clear scientific thought. It is amazing at many levels. For example, it provides superb written descriptions, summarized with brilliant insight. It is organized with simplicity, and it conveys complicated scientific information in a very readable and understandable format. 

Craig and Sherwood Idso are among the world’s most tireless, honest, and ethical scientists. They are providing a tremendous service in working to thoughtfully counter the insanity of our global warming delusion and the absurdity of the depiction of CO2 as a harmful gas.

You can read this book from cover to cover or pick and choose which topics to read first, through its comprehensive index. Get a copy of this book and share it with your friends.

Jay Lehr, PhD. ([email protected]) is science director of The Heartland Institute.

Additional Info:

Climate Change Reconsidered: The Website of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change,