Earth is getting greener as CO2 makes great plant food

The calm before the global warming storm: Earth is getting greener

By Meredith Placko May. 12, 2016

The calm before the global warming storm: Earth is getting greener

Is Global warming making the Earth a greener place? A new study has found that rising CO2 levels are creating a plant boom. Between 25% and 50% of the Earth’s vegetation has become more green in recent decades. The plants and trees are drawing in all that extra carbon dioxide and using it as hyper fuel. The CO2 is fertilizer for the vegetation.

The study was a combined effort of 32 researchers across eight countries and published in the journal Nature Climate Change. Titled Greening of the Earth and its drivers, it collects data from 1982 to 2009 and shows a correlation with the greening of the Earth and a slow down in climate change. It also found that of the total vegetated land studied, only 4% disappeared.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the Earth is fighting back against global warming. While the plants may be making the most of these extra CO2 emissions, they still need water and nutrients to live. The boom we’re seeing now is only a generational boost, and in the future, without clean water and healthy soil, no amount of carbon fertilizer will help sustain continued growth of vegetation.

It also won’t be of any use if global warming simply scorches all the vegetation out of existence. The recent and overwhelmingly devastating Fort McMurray fire in Alberta, Canada is being linked to climate change. Rising temperatures linked to CO2 emissions are drying out the trees along the northern hemisphere, making them more susceptible to fires.

Back in 2012, there was a rash of wildfires in Siberia, Russia that destroyed 70 million acres. And it has become an on-going epidemic in the years since. Siberia is typically thought of as snow covered forests and and a very cold climate. You don’t envision forests set aflame.

It also doesn’t help when you have world leaders who can’t even agree on the legitimacy of scientific data that points to climate change. When the Paris Agreement was signed, some 200 nations chose to enact the steps to reduce their country’s carbon footprint. That was in December of 2015. The United States was one of the central figures who contributed to many of the regulations that have been adapted. It wasn’t until April of 2016 that the US signed those very same agreements it helped to create.

So, while the whole Earth may be getting greener through increasing CO2 emissions for now, this is something scientists and many world leaders are keeping a cautious eye on for the future.

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