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20-Year Experiment Studies How Plants React to Increasing CO2


Not far from Washington, D.C., a man named Patrick Megonigal–a Smithsonian biogeochemist–has been conducting an experiment for twenty years that gauges the effect of high CO2 levels on marsh plant life.

He has created several micro-environments where he observes how the plants react to twice the amount of CO2 currently in our atmosphere. This is the level experts predict our atmosphere will reach by 2100.

That CO2 is good for plants is basic biology–but it isn’t that cut-and-dry. Heightened CO2 levels is beneficial to some plants, and detrimental to others. Watch the video below to find out more.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. John Erickson permalink
    09/30/2011 7:22 PM

    While I would like to know a LOT more about the assumptions behind this experiment, it shows very well that the climate-change naysayers, who claim plants will make up the difference, are not correct. Even as we reduce the amounts of CO2 our cars put out, there are so many other sources that need addressing – not the least of which being power generating. (And airplanes, and public transport, and factories, and ….) But we also need to seriously look at REMOVING CO2 from the equation. Much of the damage we see is from previous sources – old cars long off the roads, jets that flew in the 80s, coal plants churning out fumes over the past decades, etc. We need to get rid of the excess we already have, as well as reducing the amount we produce.
    And the “first world” may have to take on more than its’ fair share of cutting emissions. After all, will countries like China and Russia be all that willing to cut back, if we have no way to coerce them?
    A great topic! And one that definitely needs as much attention as possible.

    • 10/03/2011 12:54 PM

      I don’t know about Russia, but China is actually looking pretty good on the green front, especially in the field of renewable energy.

      The first world can definitely cut back a lot while still retaining a comfortable standard of living. I think you’re right–we might have to cut emissions more than everyone else, since we certainly now emit more than everyone else.

  2. 10/01/2011 12:30 PM

    And the “first world” created most of the CO2 by itself. If you make the “mess” you need to take responsibility for the mess.
    Hi. Thanks for visiting my blogcasa and leaving tracks to yours.
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    • 10/03/2011 12:54 PM

      Any time! I’ve been following yours for a while. I’m enjoying your coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests.

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