London 12 October: In an important new report published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, former IPCC delegate Dr Indur Goklany calls for a reassessment of carbon dioxide, which he says has many benefits for the natural world and for humankind.
Dr Goklany said: “Carbon dioxide fertilises plants, and emissions from fossil fuels have already had a hugely beneficial effect on crops, increasing yields by at least 10-15%. This has not only been good for humankind but for the natural world too, because an acre of land that is not used for crops is an acre of land that is left for nature”.
Pointing to estimates that the current value of the carbon dioxide fertilisation effect on global crop production is about $140 billion a year, he notes that this additional production has helped reduce hunger and advance human well-being.
But the benefits go much further than this. It is not only crops that benefit from this “carbon dioxide fertilisation effect”: almost without exception, the wild places of the Earth have become greener in recent decades, .largely as a direct result of carbon dioxide increases. In fact, it has been shown that carbon dioxide can increase plants’ water-use efficiency too, making them more resilient to drought, so that there is a double benefit in arid parts of the world.
And as Dr Goklany points out: “Unlike the claims of future global warming disasters these benefits are firmly established and are being felt now. Yet despite this the media overlook the good news and the public remain in the dark. My report should begin to restore a little balance.”
In a powerful foreword to the report, the world-renowned physicist Professor Freeman Dyson FRS endorses Goklany’s conclusions and provides a devastating analysis of why “a whole generation of scientific experts is blind to obvious facts”, arguing that “the thinking of politicians and scientists about controversial issues today is still tribal”.
The report is available here: benefits-of-co2 (PDF, 2.7mb)