Greening the planet and slouching towards Paris?

by Patrick J. Michaels

A new paper finds higher than expected CO2 fertilization inferred from leaf to global observations.  The paper predicts that the Earth is going to gain nearly three times as much green matter as was predicted by the IPCC AR5.

Earlier this month, I posted a short piece about an explosive paper on planetary greening that appeared in the journal Global Change Biology. I’ve since mused that it deserves a considerably longer, more contextual post.

The innocuously titled paper, “Higher than expected CO2 fertilization inferred from leaf to global observations”, by Vanessa Haverd (of Australia’s CSIRO) and eight coauthors uses a biophysical model and observed climate to back-calculate global primary productivity (GPP; the net change in standing vegetation per year), and to forward-calculate it using climate model forecasts.

Abstract.  “Several lines of evidence point to an increase in the activity of the terrestrial biosphere over recent decades, impacting the global net land carbon sink (NLS) and its control on the growth of atmospheric carbon dioxide (ca). Global terrestrial gross primary production (GPP)—the rate of carbon fixation by photosynthesis—is estimated to have risen by (31 ± 5)% since 1900, but the relative contributions of different putative drivers to this increase are not well known. Here we identify the rising atmospheric CO2 concentration as the dominant driver. We reconcile leaf‐level and global atmospheric constraints on trends in modeled biospheric activity to reveal a global CO2 fertilization effect on photosynthesis of 30% since 1900, or 47% for a doubling of ca above the pre‐industrial level. Our historic value is nearly twice as high as current estimates (17 ± 4)% that do not use the full range of available constraints. Consequently, under a future low‐emission scenario, we project a land carbon sink (174 PgC, 2006–2099) that is 57 PgC larger than if a lower CO2 fertilization effect comparable with current estimates is assumed. These findings suggest a larger beneficial role of the land carbon sink in modulating future excess anthropogenic CO2 consistent with the target of the Paris Agreement to stay below 2°C warming, and underscore the importance of preserving terrestrial carbon sinks.”

The paper predicted that the earth is going to gain nearly three times as much green matter as was forecast in the last (2013) IPCC report. It is noteworthy that Haverd’s model very faithfully reproduced the satellite-sensed changes in leaf area index shown by Zhu et al. (2016), which found the greatest greenings to be in the world’s semiarid tropics, tropical forests, and a smaller (but significant) increase in temperate latitudes. (I noted that paper here in 2018).

It’s very reassuring when two radically different methods—satellite sensing (Zhu) and a biophysical model (Haverd) come up with pretty much the same answer: we are greening up the earth fast, especially in critical tropical ecosystems.

Under a plausible emissions pathway, this will pull so much carbon dioxide out of the air that we could meet the Paris Accord of keeping surface warming below 2⁰C. Specifically, the authors wrote,

“[t]hese findings suggest a larger beneficial role of the land carbon sink in modulating future excess anthropogenic CO2 consistent with the target of the Paris Agreement to stay below 2°C warming…”

But they leave it the reader to do the math to see just how much their findings move the world toward Paris (which of course I will do later in this post).

Here are the amounts and causes of changes in past GPP:

Figure 1. Historical annual GPP according Haverd et al. Plotted here are the effects of leaf-level physiological changes directly stimulated by carbon dioxide (dark green), the overall increase in leaf matter i(light green), and the effects of climate change (tan)—i.e. the increase in temperature since 1900.

 Haverd et al. give the previously accepted 1900-2006 increase in GPP as 17% +/- 4%. They used a model with land use, observed climate, and an interaction between changing CO2 and climate and found GPP likely increased 31%+/- 4%, or statistically speaking, roughly twice the increase in planetary green-ness that was previously accepted.

Figure 2. The left-hand image is Haverd et al’s map of model-calculated trends in Global Primary Productivity (the units are grams of carbon per meter squared per year), for 1980-2016. The right figures break down the causes: direct carbon dioxide effect (C), temperature effect (T), the interaction between the two (CxT), precipitation (P) and land use change (LUC). Of most interest here is the left-hand image which is very similar to Zhu et al’s satellite greening.

Obviously, if increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide caused so much planetary greening in 1980-2016 (Figure 2), it stands to reason that there’s going to be a much bigger change during the remainder of this century. Using a similar approach to what they applied to the past (but now climate forecasts are substituted for observations), they estimated the increase in green-ness that would result from either doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide from its preindustrial background, or putting the world on a low-emission pathway in which its concentration peaks at 440 parts per million (ppm) around 2050. (For reference, the annual average for 2020 is likely to be around 410ppm). The emissions scenario in Haverd is the UN’s Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 2.6, their lowest one.

University of Guelph Economist Ross McKitrick recently demonstrated that global carbon dioxide concentrations have been below every UN scenario generated from the 1990s onward, so the lower-peaking scenario isn’t just fantasy. (My own opinion, consistent with many others, is that we are currently running around RCP 6.0.)

In the doubling scenario (from a nominal 300 to 600ppm) they project a whopping 47% increase in green biomass from 2006-2099. That’s over and above the 37% increase already observed since 1900 (Figure 1). So we are going to come darned close to doubling the earth’s green vegetation since 1900 with no particular conservation effort.  Doubling of the CO2 concentration (relative to preindustrial) will likely occur sometime around 2070 or so.

The changes in green matter increase projected for 2006-2099 using RCP 2.6 are still huge. Read their words (and I hope your sitting down): “…we estimate a cumulative biophysical sink…equivalent to 17 years of anthropogenic emissions at current rates [emphasis added].

RCP 2.6 is associated with 2.4⁰C of warming (since preindustrial) by 2100. The goal of the Paris Agreement is to hold warming to two degrees or below. The reduction in warming from the equivalent of 17 years of zero emissions is, of course, spread through the century, but if it took place now (according to the UN’s models) it would reduce 0.5⁰C of the expected warming. The IPCC models have us warming at roughly 0.3⁰C/decade in the near term, but Haverd et al. tell us we will effectively have 1.7 decades of zero emissions thanks to greening.

A little math: 2.4⁰ (the UN’s expected RCP 2.6 warming to 2100) minus 0.5⁰ (the reduction in warming from 17 years of zero emissions) = 1.9⁰C of warming. Thanks to the wonders of photosynthesis on God’s getting-greener earth, we meet the Paris Accord.

That should have been front-page news. Instead, at least according to google, there hasn’t been one story about this astounding paper.

Moderation note:  As with all guest posts, please keep your comments civil and relevant.

 

117 responses to “Greening the planet and slouching towards Paris?

  1. Keith Harrison

    Patrick: Thanks for bringing this paper to us, providing some oxygen for a subject that needs a far better profile. Any ideas to do such, or do you have something underway?

  2. Very interesting! During this period of increased GPP, should we not also see an increase in atmospheric O2, dissolved O2, or various types of oxides?

    • Yes, atmospheric O2 should increase by something like 50ppm. O2 is ~20.95% of the atmosphere, so it should increase to ~20.95%.

  3. An excellent post that not that only supports our common sense position, but is backed up by two totally independent approaches. It also explains why we are seeing so much more pollen deposited on our properties and why people who have never had allergy issues are now suffering. In reviewing numerous common plant and crop species I have found that the optimal CO2 concentration range from 750 to 1000 ppm. The plant community is loving it!!!

    • Roger Knights

      “It also explains why we are seeing so much more pollen deposited on our properties”

      My back yard has been producing a bumper crop of “foliage” this year and the previous one. My hedge trimmer is getting a workout. Have others noticed this in their yards?

      • I have had an explosion of green in my backyard for the last 2 years. Vines especially seem to like it. I have lots of volunteer grape vines

    • Regarding excessive polen, here’s an interesting recent video of controlled burning of polen, leaving only green grass behind:

  4. Henry Zentgraf

    Is it possible that the planet has been starving for additional CO2, then man’s emissions came along and boosted the plant fertilizer to a level that is more optimal for the environment?

    • Life arose on an Earth that had a much higher CO2 level than now. Plant life flourished with much higher CO2 levels, and low O2 levels. Their proliferation eventually removed so much CO2 the plants needing less CO2 became predominant, and animals utilizing O2 arose. Our recent past is a CO2 desert. No one knows what an ‘optimum’ CO2 level should be that balances plant growth and other effects like warming (if it is due to CO2 at all).

    • What is the evidence the planet was starved for CO2 at 280 ppm? Weren’t there lush forests in North America and Europe and Siberia and South America and Africa? Weren’t people plant plenty of agriculture? I don’t see the evidence of “starving,” a claim I see often.

  5. As North East farmland returns to forest, rivers will clean and native creatures and salmon return.
    Best environment in hundreds of years. So good they had to invent a scare to keep the politics of fear power.

    Hope to get back to cleaning superfund sites and NOx, SOx and Hg emissions. .

    Scott

  6. Curious George

    No one will ever refer to this paper. It does not predict an apocalypse. Mr. Hearst built a (fake) castle from apocalyptic predictions.

  7. Stuart Ehrenerich

    Is there any way to use paleo-flora data in comparison with paleo-climate data to reconcile the level of biomass during past geological eras with the level of CO2 during that same time? It would be interesting data to see in relation to the increasing level of CO2 in the future.

  8. You are assuming the U.N. models are accurate. The accuracy remains indeterminate relative to the distant climate, particularly specific temperature changes. Seems to me the best that can be concluded is that CO2 fertilization is helpful to plants. An inference is that the climate may benefit, but the magnitude of the benefit is indeterminate.

    On a broader policy perspective, provides another reason to take a reasonable-man approach that recognizes extreme actions are unnecessary.

  9. I wonder if there is ever an optimal level of CO2 for earth’s plants as it seems that plants adapt to their environments, terminating some species and giving birth to others? Maybe our perspective, based as it is on our own life span is too short to notice.

    • But…when have plants ever adapted to CO2 changing this fast, ~200 ppm/century?

      • David Appell

        “.. adapted to CO2 changing this fast..”

        I don’t know if you know any high tech nursery owners but how about..moments… as in 400 to 1000 ppm. Lamborghini kind of acceleration. Zoooooooom.

      • Plants help regulate CO2. Try that one out. They are not resultant sponges but active participants. With infrequent waterings, a plant’s root will grow deeper. They don’t just give up and die. Bet on the plants.

      • I assumed the question was about long-term changes; it said “terminating some species”…and not “moments” or anything seasonal. More like ~1 Myrs, the typical lifetimes species.

      • “Always learning”? Plants are already adapted to CO2 up to at least 6,000 ppm. Although greenhouse growers usually operate at 800-1200 ppm, but this is due to the economics of producing CO2. There is a diminishing return as you approach 3,000 ppm for most plants. You must know that commercial greenhouses inject CO2 to get up to 60% higher yield. And you must know that the increased growth of global biomass is real. CO2 had sunk to dangerously low levels due to sequestration by fossil fuels and marine calcifying species. We have inadvertently saved life from an early demise by restoring a balance to the carbon cycle with our CO2 emissions.
        Face the facts David.

      • Greenhouses aren’t the real world! When are the people here going to learn that. In the real world plants must also deal with temperature increases and changes in precipitation patterns.

        More CO2 also means more weeds, and more insects. Look at the bark beetle problem in the West, devastating western forests because warmth means these beetles can reproduce more than once per year.

        I still want to know why, in your paper you cited below, you plotted total production and not yield (production per acre), and why you summed four different crops instead of giving the results for each. These are the kind of things that raise red flags.

        “We also find that the overall effect of warming on yields is negative, even after accounting for the benefits of reduced exposure to freezing temperatures.”
        — “Effect of warming temperatures on US wheat yields,” Jesse Tack et al, PNAS 4/20/15
        http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/05/06/1415181112

        “Crop Pests Spreading North with Global Warming: Fungi and insects migrate toward the poles at up to 7 kilometers per year,”
        — Eliot Barford and Nature magazine, September 2, 2013
        http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/crop-pests-spreading-north-climate-change/

        General Mills CEO Ken Powell told the Associated Press:
        “We think that human-caused greenhouse gas causes climate change and climate volatility, and that’s going to stress the agricultural supply chain, which is very important to us.”
        8/30/15
        http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-general-mills-greenhouse-gas-cuts-20150830-story.html

        “Negative impacts of global warming on agriculture, health & environment far outweigh any supposed positives.” Smith et al. PNAS (2009), http://www.pnas.org/content/106/11/4133.full.pdf

        “Rice yields decline with higher night temperature from global warming,” Shaobing Peng et al, PNAS v101 n27 9971-9975.
        http://www.pnas.org/content/101/27/9971.full

        “Unfortunately, the simple idea that global warming could provide at least some benefits to humanity by increasing plant production is complicated by a number of factors. It is true that fertilizing plants with CO2 and giving them warmer temperatures increases growth under some conditions, but there are trade-offs. While global warming can increase plant growth in areas that are near the lower limits of temperature (e.g., large swaths of Canada and Russia), it can make it too hot for plant growth in areas that are near their upper limits (e.g., the tropics). In addition, plant productivity is determined by many things (e.g., sunlight, temperature, nutrients, and precipitation), several of which are influenced by climate change and interact with one another.”
        – “Does a Warmer World Mean a Greener World? Not Likely!,” Jonathan Chase, PLOS Biology, June 10, 2015.
        http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=info:doi/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002166

        “Rising temperatures hinder Indian wheat production,” press release, University of Southampton, 7/23/14.
        http://www.southampton.ac.uk/news/2014/07/23-rising-temperatures-hinder-indian-wheat-production.page

        “Even with the benefit of CO2 fertilization, when you start getting up to 1 to 2 degrees of warming, you see negative effects,” she [Frances Moore, an assistant professor of environmental science and policy at the University of California, Davis] says. “There are a lot of different pathways by which temperature can negatively affect crop yield: soil moisture deficit [or] heat directly damaging the plants and interfering with their reproductive process.” On top of all that, Moore points out increased CO2 also benefits weeds that compete with farm plants.
        “We know unequivocally that when you grow food at elevated CO2 levels in fields, it becomes less nutritious,” notes Samuel Myers, principal research scientist in environmental health at Harvard University. “[Food crops] lose significant amounts of iron and zinc—and grains [also] lose protein.”
        — “Ask the Experts: Does Rising CO2 Benefit Plants?” Annie Sneed, Scientific American 1/23/18
        https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ask-the-experts-does-rising-co2-benefit-plants1/

        “Crop yields expected to fall as temperatures rise,” Emily Morris, Science
        08 Sep 2017: Vol. 357, Issue 6355, pp. 1012-1013
        DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6355.1012-f
        http://science.sciencemag.org/content/357/6355/1012.6

      • Greenhouses aren’t the real world! When are the people here going to learn that. In the real world plants must also deal with temperature increases and changes in precipitation patterns.

        More CO2 also means more weeds, and more insects. Look at the bark beetle problem in the West, devastating western forests because warmth means these beetles can reproduce more than once per year.

        I still want to know why, in your paper you cited below, you plotted total production and not yield (production per acre), and why you summed four different crops instead of giving the results for each. These are the kind of things that raise red flags.

        “We also find that the overall effect of warming on yields is negative, even after accounting for the benefits of reduced exposure to freezing temperatures.”
        — “Effect of warming temperatures on US wheat yields,” Jesse Tack et al, PNAS 4/20/15
        http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/05/06/1415181112

        There’s lots more but I’m not allowed to post it.

      • aporiac1960

        David Appell (@davidappell) wrote:-

        “In the real world…..”

        In the real world US agricultural TFP (total factor productivity) has grown at around 1.4% per annum on average since the end of WW2. Every year greater agricultural output is achieved with the same or fewer inputs in terms of land/water/energy/labour/etc. The numbers from China in recent decades are even more impressive, with massive gains in output at effectively zero cost (just better organisation and practices.) Your hypothetical climate doom and gloom is meaningless noise in the context of the real world as delivered by real people on real farms with real cultivation, plating, harvesting, processing, distribution, etc. Thankully some people devote their energies to such activities, from which real people in the real world benefit in real terms, rather than indulging in millenarian fantasies.

        What made the growth in agricultural TFP in the US since WWII possible was essentially a stable politics that went about its business without preventing these gains from happening. The same applies in Europe by-and-large, and China more recently.

        I don’t know South Asia from direct experience, but I have spent a lot of time in Africa. Anyone who has witnessed first hand typical farming practices on much of that continent will have some reckoning of the potential abundance that is waiting to be unlocked. The obstacles when examined carefully can be reduced to a single factor: politics. It is more than a little depressing, therefore, that so many of those who express concern for humanity and choose political activism as the vehicle for furthering that cause, direct their focus and efforts towards every possible topic and activity except those that will make a real difference in the real world.

      • Pretty much during every one of the 15 or more interglacial periods.

  10. So this explains why global atmospheric oxygen levels continue to fall.
    https://www.oxygenlevels.org/?theme=grid-light&pid=2degreesinstitute
    I would have thought more photosynthesis = more oxygen but this proves it dosen’t?
    Maybe all that photosynthesis is the result of huge dead zone in the rivers, lakes and oceans?
    2019 was a record year for oxygen depleted dead zones which has some correlation with cyanobacteria blooms.

    • Another interesting set of observations on the effect of higher CO2 levels in the Arctic.
      May 14, 2020
      “The revolt of the plants: The arctic melts when plants stop breathing”
      https://phys.org/news/2020-05-revolt-arctic.html
      …”the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration closes the pores (stomata) of plants in high-latitude areas and reduces their transpiration, which ultimately accelerates Arctic warming. The findings, which were studied through the Earth system models (ESM) simulations, were recently published in Nature Communications.
      Plants take in CO2 and emit oxygen through photosynthesis. During this process, the stomata of leaves open to absorb CO2 in the air and release moisture at the same time.
      However, when the CO2 concentration rises, plants can absorb enough CO2 without opening their stomata widely. If the stomata open narrowly, the amount of water vapor released also decreases. When this transpiration of plants declines, the land temperature rapidly rises under greenhouse warming.”

    • I am a lake monitor and have an ID card saying so. I monitor a shallow lake with some marshy edges. First the plants in it grow like Hades in the Spring and Summer. Then all that stuff dies and the process reverses. If first makes oxygen in the water as far as I know. Then all the dead plant matter sucks the oxygen back out. The books balance. My lake is Phosphorus loaded from past issues. The hippies were right. Phosphorus is the anti-Christ. But do not despair. The fish, birds and waterfowl are just fine with my lake.

      • Good to hear you are taking your local environment seriously.
        https://www.rollcall.com/2020/05/13/farmers-are-coming-around-on-climate-change/
        “The most harmful agricultural practices are still commonplace. The 2017 Census of Agriculture said that nearly 800 million acres are used for crop production or grazing in the U.S. Only 15.3 million acres were planted in climate-friendly cover crops, and farmers had adopted no till or less tillage on about 200 million acres.
        In 2019, the U.S. had 94.8 million head of cattle and about half of agricultural land was used to feed and house those cattle. The herd size fluctuates, but its lowest level since 1952 was 88.2 million head.”

        If humans end up causing ecological collapse in some part of the biosphere we will rationalize using technology to adapt to it. Smarter to use technology to prevent the damage first.

      • Liberals could win the Red States. Stop putting up wind turbines and give farmers money to improve their land. Wind turbines are corporate. We used to care about the little guy.

      • Wind energy creates 25,000 jobs in Texas.

        “As climate threat looms, Texas Republicans have a solution: giant wind farm everywhere,” USA Today 10/18/19
        https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/10/18/texas-wind-energy-so-strong-its-beating-out-coal-power/3865995002/

        Farmers typically earn $5.000/MW/yr from a wind turbine installed on their property.

      • “Farmers typically earn $5.000/MW/yr from a wind turbine installed on their property.”
        That is one factor in a many factored situation. Most states push these things with subsidies and mandates. After you do those two things, you get an artiificial situation. It’s as if Bernie Sanders made it true using government. The government sent me $2400. That’s not an argument for anything with value.

  11. I have a different perspective.

    Ice core extraction shows low pre-industrial co2 concentrations because they are all done using the dry technique. If the wet technique was used, co2 concentrations were much higher. The dry technique is kind of a fraud.

    The real primary reason for global greening is the rising temperature due to geothermal change.

    http://phzoe.com/2020/03/11/40-years-of-climate-change/

    http://phzoe.com/2020/03/13/geothermal-animated/

    Geothermal change + more through-cloud insolation -> Temperature rising -> more energy -> more co2 in the atmosphere -> more greening.

    Without extra kinetic energy, all of man’s co2 production would drop into the dirt and oceans.

    You need kinetic energy to suspend gas molecules above the surface. Without warming, less o2-replaced-co2 would have the energy to be suspended. Not surprisingly, most co2 is in the oceans at much higher concentration.

    Something to think about.

  12. Further evidence constraining carbon (sic) does not prevent global warming:

    Canberra is a model for using climate action to drive economic recovery, minister says

    https://reneweconomy.com.au/canberra-is-a-model-for-using-climate-action-to-drive-economic-recovery-minister-says-27075/

    “Latest data on the greenhouse gas emissions of the ACT recorded an 18 per cent fall in emissions during the 2018-19 year.
    The substantial year-on-year fall was primarily driven by strong progress in the ACT towards achieving its target of sourcing 100 per cent of its electricity from wind and solar.”
    ~~~~~
    Australia fires: Canberra escapes worst as fires rage on
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-51338314

    Canberra records its first sub-zero morning for 2020
    https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6744079/canberra-records-its-first-sub-zero-morning-for-2020/

    Science!

  13. Barn E. Rubble

    RE: “That should have been front-page news. Instead, at least according to google, there hasn’t been one story about this astounding paper.”

    Surprising no one. Perhaps if it opened with, “It’s worse than we thought . . .” it would’ve been mentioned somewhere.

  14. Patrick J. Michaels, thank you for this essay.

  15. ‘There are huge, non-climate effects of carbon dioxide which are overwhelmingly favourable which are not taken into account. To me, that’s the main issue, that the Earth is actually growing greener. This has actually been measured from satellites. The whole Earth is growing greener as a result of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, so it’s increasing agricultural yields, it’s increasing the forests, it’s increasing all kinds of growth in the biological world.’ ~Freeman Dyson

    • 1) Most plants don’t grow as well under hotter temperatures with altered precipitation patterns.

      2) Plants grown under higher CO2 usually lose nutritional value, and/or the CO2-growth feedback stops after some years.

      “Negative impacts of global warming on agriculture, health & environment far outweigh any supposed positives.” Smith et al. PNAS (2009)

      Click to access 4133.full.pdf

      “Crop yields expected to fall as temperatures rise,” Emily Morris, Science
      08 Sep 2017: Vol. 357, Issue 6355, pp. 1012-1013
      DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6355.1012-f
      http://science.sciencemag.org/content/357/6355/1012.6

      “Higher CO2 tends to inhibit the ability of plants to make protein… And this explains why food quality seems to have been declining and will continue to decline as CO2 rises — because of this inhibition of nitrate conversion into protein…. “It’s going to be fairly universal that we’ll be struggling with trying to sustain food quality and it’s not just protein… it’s also micronutrients such as zinc and iron that suffer as well as protein.”
      – University of California at Davis Professor Arnold J. Bloom, on Yale Climate Connections 10/7/14
      http://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2014/10/crop-nutrition/2014

      “Nitrate assimilation is inhibited by elevated CO2 in field-grown wheat,” Arnold J. Bloom et al, Nature Climate Change, April 6 2014.
      http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2183.html

      “During a 20-year field experiment in Minnesota, a widespread group of plants that initially grew faster when fed more CO2 stopped doing so after 12 years, researchers reported in Science in 2018.”

      • You think the satellite data is fudged? More likely those activists are fudging.

      • You ought to read those citations. They say the amount of hydrocarbonaceous material increases MORE than the nitrogen containing materials, diluting the N materials, so not a problem. Articles from “nature climate change” are from activists, and are not reliable science.

        Your first cite blabs about the impact of temperature and then:
        “Although this work points to worrying consequences of a warming world, it remains very difficult to predict the cumulative impact of multiple factors related to climate change, such as elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and precipitation.”

        Weak sauce.

      • There have been thousands of experiments with plants and CO2 enrichment.

        Mr. Appleman will only reference the tiny percentage that support his climate alarmism. The other 97 percent are ignored !

        CO2 is the staff of life on our planet and current levels are unusually low for C3 plants.

        The coming climate crisis is a 60 year old fantasy that gullible people like Mr. Appleman treat as their religion.

        Global warming since the late 1600s has been good news — most likely over 2 degrees warming since the 1690s.

        Leftists like Appleman don’t care about the past climate — living with pleasant global warming for the past 45 years, but too busy to notice — more important to Appleman are the always wrong computer game predictions, and the few studies that support his alarmist fantasy.

    • 1) Most plants don’t grow as well under hotter temperatures with altered precipitation patterns.

      2) Plants grown under higher CO2 usually lose nutritional value, and/or the CO2-growth feedback stops after some years.

      “Negative impacts of global warming on agriculture, health & environment far outweigh any supposed positives.” Smith et al. PNAS (2009)

      Click to access 4133.full.pdf

      “Crop yields expected to fall as temperatures rise,” Emily Morris, Science
      08 Sep 2017: Vol. 357, Issue 6355, pp. 1012-1013
      DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6355.1012-f
      http://science.sciencemag.org/content/357/6355/1012.6

      “Higher CO2 tends to inhibit the ability of plants to make protein… And this explains why food quality seems to have been declining and will continue to decline as CO2 rises — because of this inhibition of nitrate conversion into protein…. “It’s going to be fairly universal that we’ll be struggling with trying to sustain food quality and it’s not just protein… it’s also micronutrients such as zinc and iron that suffer as well as protein.”
      – University of California at Davis Professor Arnold J. Bloom, on Yale Climate Connections 10/7/14
      http://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2014/10/crop-nutrition/2014

      “Nitrate assimilation is inhibited by elevated CO2 in field-grown wheat,” Arnold J. Bloom et al, Nature Climate Change, April 6 2014.
      http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2183.html

      “During a 20-year field experiment in Minnesota, a widespread group of plants that initially grew faster when fed more CO2 stopped doing so after 12 years, researchers reported in Science in 2018.”

      • Pat Michaels

        Figure 1 in our 2020 paper in Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, “Climate sensitivity, agricultural productivity and the social cost of carbon in FUND” (Dayaratna, McKitrick and Michaels) shows the remarkably signfiicant exponential increase in production of the four major crops for nearly four decades, R-sq = .99 for the low-order exponential increase. If warming were causing a problem, you would see deviations from this line in recent years. You don’t.

      • Your graph (Fig 1) shows total production, not yield, so the increase could simply be because more acres were planted.

        https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10018-020-00263-w

        And for some reason it sums together four crop types when it could just as easily present the time series for each crop separately.

        And besides, many factors affect production and yields besides temperature and precipitation — improved techniques, improved technologies, improved fertilizers, etc. This study attempted to isolate them via multilinear regression and found:

        “For wheat, maize and barley, there is a clearly negative response of global yields to increased temperatures. Based on these sensitivities and observed climate trends, we estimate that warming since 1981 has resulted in annual combined losses of these three crops representing roughly 40 Mt or $5 billion per year, as of 2002.”

        — “Global scale climate–crop yield relationships and the impacts of recent warming,” David B Lobell and Christopher B Field 2007 Environ. Res. Lett. 2 014002 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/2/1/014002
        http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/2/1/014002

      • “In greenhouse production the aim of all growers is to increase dry-matter content and economically optimize crop yield. CO2 increases productivity through improved plant growth and vigour.” (Ministry of Agriculture, Ontario, Canada)

      • A greenhouse isn’t the real world.

      • The 2017 Census of Agriculture released yesterday shows an across-the-board drop in the number of farms, farmers, and farmland in the United States. Land in farms declined from 914,527,657 acres in 2012 to 900,217,576 acres in 2017, while the number of farms and “primary producers” decreased from 2,109,303 in 2012 to 2,042,220 in 2017.

        https://farmland.org/new-census-of-agriculture-shows-decline-in-number-of-americas-farms-farmers-and-farmland/

        The World Bank offers this chart showing the global decline: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/AG.LND.AGRI.ZS

  16. Greening also reduces the planet’s albedo, so is a positive feedback to CO2’s warming. What is the effect of that?

    • Start with the area of the Earth. How much of the total area by percentage shows what percentage decrease in albedo?

    • There probably is some albedo affect,
      but it’s also probably very small, because of clouds.

      Clouds are roughly 4 times as significant to planetary albedo as is the surface, and the oceans are roughly 2 to 3 times the area of land.

      Then the change of surface albedo from vegetation is not infinite, but a certain percentage increase.

      Of course, phytoplankton in the oceans also increases from CO2 fertilization, so the oceans might become very slightly more absorptive also.

      It is interesting how CO2 increases life on earth and some believe it is somehow bad for life on earth.

    • “Yes, that’s the question — what is the change of surface albedo from increased vegetation.”

      Once again, another pointy head emerges from ramshackle off-grid hovel back in the woods to make an assertion and then beg others to substantiate it for him.

      You, answer the question. Take a week off and think about it. Talk to the squirrels and butterflies.

  17. Greening Earth Society’s prediction from 20 odd years ago are coming true. You and I both worked with them, Pat. Congratulations to us all.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greening_Earth_Society

  18. Let’s do it up right – build affordable housing out of wood in the desert. Great sequestration and we can use nuclear energy to desalinate all the water needed for real greenhouses and to run the AC and maintain an indoor lap pools in all the homes.

    • So much we can do on this planet with all the money wasted on global warming BS… it’s crazy to me that people would consider spending billions to colonate Mars when we know so little about the ocean floor right here on Earth…

  19. “The paper predicts that the Earth is going to gain nearly three times as much green matter as was predicted by the IPCC AR5.”

    A verification of the old climate denier claim that the CO2 flow balance that shows a 50% “airborne fraction” of fossil fuel emissions is flawed. If they were wrong about the photosynthesis sink computation, the whole carbon cycle flow balance in the presence of fossil fuel emissions is flawed. Also the ocean acidification claimed by climate science exceeds the amount carbon available in fossil fuel emissions. Perhaps geological flows of carbon should also be taken into account. Details linked below.
    1. Implications of uncertainty in carbon cycle flows: https://tambonthongchai.com/2018/05/31/the-carbon-cycle-measurement-problem/
    2. Ocean acidification contradictions: https://tambonthongchai.com/2019/12/14/ocean-acidification-2019/
    4. Spurious correlations in the Tyler Vigen collection: https://www.tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations
    5. Spurious correlations in climate science: https://tambonthongchai.com/2018/12/19/co2responsiveness/
    6. Geological flows of carbon: https://tambonthongchai.com/2019/08/27/carbonflows/

  20. As the CO2 concentration goes up, do treelines on mountains go up?

    • Has the climate worms, ice recedes, forests flourish and, vice versa, irrespective of atmospheric CO2-content and so it was refreshing to hear: A piece of wood brought Christian Schlüchter Bernese geologists in conflict with climate research (see, the Christian Schlüchter interview in Der Bund last week, translated by Bing). Schlüchter learned that Hannibal didn’t cross the icy Alps: his army crossed a forest. Meanwhile, we all learned that glaciers come and go on a lot faster Earthly timetable than we realized (i.e., they were gone both 2,000 and 4,000 years ago not just 10,000 years ago) and, the reason for their demise obviously had nothing to do with us moderns injecting our CO2 into the atmosphere.

  21. There’s so much microclimatic variability in complex terrain that it’s very hard to find any consistent mountain signal except for a greening of the high latitudes of the northern hemisphere due to both CO2 and lengthening of the growing season.

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  23. Pingback: World is greening but the warmista ignore the good news

  24. I recommend caution with forecasts up to 2099. It is absolutely unknown how the world climate will develop up to that point. Nobody can predict when and whether the current trend will change and the world will gradually become colder again. Nevertheless, I think the approach is good because it shows that the one-sided focus on heating by CO2 is not justified!

  25. Patrick Michaels, you say:

    The paper predicted that the earth is going to gain nearly three times as much green matter as was forecast in the last (2013) IPCC report.

    And:

    It’s very reassuring when two radically different methods—satellite sensing (Zhu) and a biophysical model (Haverd) come up with pretty much the same answer: we are greening up the earth fast, especially in critical tropical ecosystems.

    Two other lines of evidence suggest that global warming and higher CO2 concentrations are beneficial for ecosystems – the geological record and biosphere productivity versus latitude (i.e. temperature).

    1. Optimum GMST for ecosystems

    Geological and palaeontological evidence suggests the optimum GMST for ecosystems is that which existed around the Early Eocene Climate Optimum [1] and during the ‘Cambrian Explosion’, i.e. ~25–28°C (i.e. ~10–13°C warmer than present).

    1.1 Mass extinction events:

    1. Most major extinction events [2] have been due to bolide impacts, volcanism and ice ages, not global warming

    2. The Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) was due to warming but it was less severe than most mass extinctions. “The most dramatic example of sustained warming is the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum, which was associated with one of the smaller mass extinctions.” [3]. The PETM occurred when GMST was above optimum for life on Earth.

    3. The Permian-Triassic Boundary mass extinction event has recently been reported to have been caused by extensive volcanism that caused acidification and an ice age, not global warming (Baresel et al., 2017) [4]

    4. There appear to have been no major extinction events that were due to global warming when GMST was below the optimum (approximately ~7–13°C above present)

    1.2 Rapid warming:

    5. Even very rapid warming is beneficial for ecosystems. Coxon and McCarron (2009) [5] Figure 15:21 shows temperatures in Ireland, Greenland and Iceland warmed from near LGM temperatures to near current temperatures in 7 years 14,500 years BP and in 9 years 11,500 year BP. Life thrived during these events.

    6. Biosphere productivity is increasing during the current warming – the planet has greened by about 14% during 35 years of satellite observations (Donohue et al., 2013) [6], Zhu et al. (2016) [7], Greening of the Earth and it drivers). GMST increased by about 0.4°C during the period analysed (1982–2010).

    2. Biosphere productivity is higher in warmer climates:

    7. Biosphere productivity is higher at low latitudes (warmer) than at high latitudes (colder). Gillman et al. (2015) ‘Latitude, productivity and species richness’ [8]

    Contrary to the recent claims, we found strong support for a negative relationship between latitude and annual NPP of forests with all datasets, and NPP was significantly greater in tropical forests than in temperate forests. Vascular plant richness was positively correlated with NPP.

    8. Biomass density (tC/ha) ~10 times higher in tropical rainforests than extratropical [9].

    Source: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.4155/cmt.13.77

    A rough calculation of biosphere and soil organic carbon density from charts A and B shows that carbon density decreases from tropics to high latitudes, as follows (tC/ha versus latitude):
    Soil Organic Carbon: y = -0.125x + 105
    Biomass: y = 110.31e-0.026x
    Total: y = -1.975x + 241

    9. The mass of carbon in the terrestrial biosphere has increased substantially during the warming from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Jeltsch-Thömmes et al. 2019 [10], find that the mass of carbon in the terrestrial biosphere increased by about 40% (850 GtC) from LGM to preindustrial times. This compares with 10%-50% (300-1000 GtC) increase from LGM to the pre-industrial inventory of about 3,000 GtC stated in IPCC AR4 WG1 Chapter 6 [11]. This also indicates that warming is beneficial for ecosystems.

    These points suggest that global warming is net beneficial for ecosystems when GMST is below the optimum (which may be around 7°–13°C higher than present GMST).

    References:

    [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eocene

    [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction_event#List_of_extinction_events

    [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleocene%E2%80%93Eocene_Thermal_Maximum

  26. Aidan Williams

    “‘These findings suggest a larger beneficial role of the land carbon sink in modulating future excess anthropogenic CO2 consistent with the target of the Paris Agreement to stay below 2°C warming, and underscore the importance of preserving terrestrial carbon sinks.’”

    Perusing article after article purporting billions soon to live in tropics turned desert, it’s refreshing to read some actual science on the subject. Challenging the logic of climate doomsayers is hard work. I have informed many regarding the geological record of the carbon cycle and how warmer temperatures actually lead historically to a tropical Sahara, not a desert, but politics prevent many from admitting the facts. Thus, I am not at all surprised this article has not gone viral, as it fails to support the Western media narrative. I recall a 1990s paper that said world food production will increase 40% by 2100 with then current CO2 projections, and your paper seems to inadvertently support this.

    Kudos.

    • The paper suggests another computer model. I think the authors should have validated the model on a single tree growth first before shooting long range at IPCC reports. We have so much tree growth data available. The work is neither transparent nor reproducible, It is therefore a worthless scientific paper. Not any different than than activists climate related publications.

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  28. A very interesting piece.

    Something else that dovetails into the greening theme; developing nations over recent decades have allowed less productive farmland to go back to nature as land productivity for crops have increased, I’d gave to look up the figure again, but it represents a sizable land footprint (The Breakthrough Institute delves into this here: https://thebreakthrough.org/journal/issue-5/the-return-of-nature ).

    Soil in “reclaimed by nature” lands consequently become undisturbed soil sinks for CO2, this also facilitates an increasing forest footprint, or savannah as the case may be. How much does the increasing footprint of returning land back to nature play into greening equations for the drawdown of CO2?

  29. A maximum 2 degree C rise is not all that is in the Paris agreement. There are also a lot of words around a strong desire not to exceed 1.5 degrees C.

    While 57 PgC of additional biosphere capture of CO2 by 2100, and 17 years leeway would be most welcome, it would not allow a temperature rise below 1.5 degrees C on the RCP2.5 pathway. So it should not be a cause for too much celebration.

  30. The Sahara desert will green. It’s starting already. The African monsoon is returning.

  31. In my paper titled Photosynthesis as a thermodynamic cycle, Heat and Mass Transfer, Springer, present efficiency of photosynthesis is between 0.23% and 0.28% annually. This is nearly 15% increase in surface greening since 1900. However, deforestation should not be neglected. It has been nearly 0.2% annually. They nearly cancel out. In order to take advantage of the greatest source of renewable energy, photosynthesis, We have to bring deforestation to a halt.

  32. Extra biomass means more solar energy has been converted to chemical energy.
    Can someone explain the effect this has on the earth’s top -of-atmosphere energy balance?

  33. Finally a hockey stick we can believe:

  34. So not only does CO2 increase water availability it also feeds symbiotic bacteria and fungi making nitrogen and phosphorus more available so there are many positive feedbacks. It also increases the success and heartiness of seeds allowing them to take the risk of terminating earlier sois also often confused with temperature affects.

    These feedbacks likely way CO2 increase and we should expect uptake to increase even more in the future.

    • Whoops, need to remember to proofread voice to text.

    • Aaron
      So not only does CO2 increase water availability it also feeds symbiotic bacteria and fungi making nitrogen and phosphorus more available so there are many positive feedbacks. It also increases the success and heartiness of seeds allowing them to take the risk of terminating earlier sois also often confused with temperature affects.

      That’s a very important (and interesting) observation about symbionts and nitrogen and phosphorus. It counters a major alarmist-dystopian argument that “raised CO2 might increase mass of crop plants but decreases their nitrogen content”. An argument that is an oversimplification and misleading.

      Another common alarmist-dystopian argument is to ascribe to climate warning changes that are in fact caused by CO2. This is also an purposeful misinformation.

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  36. Gautam Kalghatgi

    For David Appel – Real world data say crop yields kg/hectare have increased
    e.g https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/AG.YLD.CREL.KG

  37. lot of plant life seems to be taking off with every additional ppm… starting to wonder what will happen after emissions peak, by 2070 global cooling may again become the main concern

    distant observers viewing Earth as an exoplanet might well assume we spent the last 50-100 years adding CO2 to the atmosphere on purpose, given the planet’s current icehouse state

    • During the last decades of the Soviet Union (remember that?) its citizens and especially school children were subjected to endless political indoctrination. A big part of this was the story that “life here in the workers’ paradise is fair and equitable and prosperous, while by contrast the capitalist Wild West is a dreary wasteland of unemployment, poverty and discontent. The story carefully mixed truth with falsehood and exaggeration. In the days with no internet, rare international travel and state controlled media, it largely worked and people believed it.

      Then came the profound shock at the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall when people suddenly saw the reality, that the standard of living in the “West” was indescribably better than their own. There was an explosion of disillusionment and cynicism.

      Something similar to this might take place when people in large numbers start to realise that the story of climate doom and ecosystem collapse with which we have been endoctrinated forcefully for many decades, is equally false.

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  42. This is indeed a very important topic. Good article for analysis and understanding. Thanks for your work!

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