Back in the early 1970s, when there was a scientific consensus that the Earth was cooling and that cooling was not good for the biosphere, scientists were ranking human-generated pollutants in terms of their potential to do harm to the planet. At that time, CO2 was regarded as “the least objectionable or only beneficial addition to the atmosphere from industrial sources.”
FIFTY ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS OF TIMELY IMPORTANCE
WEATHER MODIFICATION BY CHANGING CO2 CONTENT OF ATMOSPHERE [p. 48]
American Scientist, January-February 1970, p. 18, “‘Though dire effects on climate of an increase in CO2 have been predicted, they are far from being established. The cycle is not really understood; carbon dioxide may well prove to be the least objectionable or the only beneficial addition to the atmosphere from industrial sources‘”
Then, 40-some years later, Scientific American writers have changed their minds, claiming that the worst human-generated pollution (of all the possible polluting emissions) is carbon dioxide.
Back in the 1970s, a warming planet was good, and a cooling climate was bad. Now, it’s the opposite. Warmth is bad, and cooling is good. And carbon dioxide, instead of being thought of as beneficial, is now considered a pollutant.
Fortunately, though, many modern scientists do not agree that warming and elevated CO2 are the scourge of the biosphere. In fact, there is a growing body of scientific evidence that humans, plants, and animals are much more likely to adapt to and thrive in a warming climate than a cooling one. For casual observers, this may seem obvious. But for those who are convinced that it is essential to alarm the public about lurking climate catastrophes, good news about warming and elevated CO2 levels are not welcome, let alone worth considering. It may be characterized as “anti-science” to even mention that (a) Gasparrini et al., 2015 “Cold weather kills 20 times as many people as hot weather, according to an international study analyzing over 74 million deaths in 384 locations across 13 countries”, or (b) Donohue et al., 2013 “[T]he 14% increase in atmospheric CO2 (1982–2010) led to a 5 to 10% increase in green foliage cover in warm, arid environments.” Dramatically reduced mortality rates due to warming, or a greener planet with enhanced crop yields and longer growing seasons due to CO2 rise…do not advance the humans-are-causing-climate-catastrophe agenda. So instead of reporting on them, tendentious journalists and activists for the cause largely ignore the “good news” about global warming and elevated CO2.
So let’s uncover some of these recently published “good news” papers. The below list of 20 new (2016) peer-reviewed scientific papers conclude that:
(a) modern mortality rates are lower with warmth they are in cooler environments;
(b) elevated CO2 ‘dramatically’ increases crop yields;
(c) elevated CO2 ameliorates the effects of drought and heat waves;
(d) elevated CO2 greens the Earth;
(e) elevated CO2 and warming lead to weaker hurricanes and storms and stabilize the climate;
(f) there is no significant evidence linking extreme weather events (hurricanes, floods, droughts fires, tornadoes)… to CO2 changes, but there is…
(g) evidence that cooling temperatures lead to a more unstable climate.
Mortality Rates Lower With Warmth, Higher With Cold
“Highlights: Cold spells seem to be more hazardous to human health than heat waves.
Heat waves and cold spells were identified during 1999–2007. Statistical analysis of mortality from all non-traumatic, cardiovascular, respiratory and all external causes among age groups 30–64 and ⩾65 allowed to obtain site-specific and then pooled estimates of relative increases in mortality separately for heat and cold waves. The evidence of impacts of cold on mortality was more robust than the same for heat.”
“Five studies examined the risk of cold. In contrast to the changes in heat related mortality observed, only one found a significant decrease in cold related mortality in later time periods. … There is evidence that across a number of different settings, population susceptibility to heat and heatwaves has been decreasing. These changes in heat related susceptibility have important implications for health impact assessments of future heat related risk. A similar decrease in cold related mortality was not shown.”
Elevated CO2 ‘Dramatically’ Increases Crop Yields
Elevated atmospheric [CO2] can dramatically increase wheat yields in semi-arid environments and buffer against heat waves
“Wheat production will be impacted by increasing concentration of atmospheric CO2 [CO2], which is expected to rise from about 400 μmol mol−1 in 2015 to 550 μmol mol−1 by 2050. … The Australian Grains Free Air CO2 Enrichment (AGFACE) facility was established to compare wheat (Triticum aestivum) growth and yield under ambient (~370 μmol−1 in 2007) and e[CO2] (550 μmol−1) in semi-arid environments. Experiments were undertaken at two dryland sites (Horsham and Walpeup) across three years with two cultivars, two sowing times and two irrigation treatments. Mean yield stimulation due to e[CO2] was 24% at Horsham and 53% at Walpeup, with some treatment responses greater than 70%, depending on environment. Under supplemental irrigation, e[CO2] stimulated yields at Horsham by 37% compared to 13% under rainfed conditions, showing that water limited growth and yield response to e[CO2]. Heat wave effects were ameliorated under e[CO2] as shown by reductions of 31 and 54% in screenings and 10 and 12% larger kernels (Horsham and Walpeup).”
- Effect of elevated CO2 and temperature on maize was studied using open top chamber.
- Grain yield and yield attributes increased with elevated CO2 in north–west India.
- Elevated temperature decreased yield but improved grain nutrient contents.
- Elevated CO2 reduced the negative effects of elevated temperature on maize yield.
“Elevated CO2 increased grain yield of maize by 53.7% and harvest index (HI) by 2.9% compared to ambient CO2. Stover yield and yield attributes such as cob length, cob diameter, grain weight cob−1, number of grains cob−1 and 100 grain weight also increased with elevated CO2.”
Elevated CO2 Ameliorates Effects Of Droughts, Heat Waves
“Extreme climatic events (ECEs) such as droughts and heat waves are predicted to increase in intensity and frequency and impact the terrestrial carbon balance. However, we lack direct experimental evidence of how the net carbon uptake of ecosystems is affected by ECEs under future elevated atmospheric CO2concentrations (eCO2). … Our results indicate that eCO2 [elevated CO2] not only slows down the decline of ecosystem carbon uptake during the ECE [extreme climate events] but also enhances its recovery after the ECE , as mediated by increases of root growth and plant nitrogen uptake induced by the ECE. These findings indicate that, in the predicted near future climate, eCO2 could mitigate the effects of extreme droughts and heat waves on ecosystem net carbon uptake.”
“Exposure of plants to elevated CO2 (eCO2) has a number of physiological effects, including increased photosynthetic carbon fixation and decreased stomatal conductance, resulting in greater growth and yield and also improved water use efficiency. Therefore, eCO2 [elevated CO2] is considered to ameliorate the adverse effects of drought. … Our results suggest that crops grown in areas with limited water availability will benefit from future eCO2 [elevated CO2], regardless of their metabolism. Drought leads to stomatal limitation of photosynthesis in both C3 and C4 crops, which is alleviated when the plants are grown under eCO2.”
Elevated CO2 Greens The Earth, Especially In Dry Areas
Elevated CO2 as a driver of global dryland greening
“While recent findings based on satellite records indicate a positive trend in vegetation greenness over global drylands, the reasons remain elusive. … Based on 1705 field measurements from 21 distinct sites, a consistent and statistically significant increase in the availability of soil water (11%) was observed under elevated CO2 treatments in both drylands and non-drylands, with a statistically stronger response over drylands (17% vs. 9%). Given the inherent water limitation in drylands, it is suggested that the additional soil water availability is a likely driver of observed increases in vegetation greenness.”
“Global environmental change is rapidly altering the dynamics of terrestrial vegetation, with consequences for the functioning of the Earth system and provision of ecosystem services. Yet how global vegetation is responding to the changing environment is not well established. Here we use three long-term satellite leaf area index (LAI) records and ten global ecosystem models to investigate four key drivers of LAI trends during 1982–2009. We show a persistent and widespread increase of growing season integrated LAI (greening) over 25% to 50% of the global vegetated area, whereas less than 4% of the globe shows decreasing LAI (browning). Factorial simulations with multiple global ecosystem models suggest that CO2 fertilization effects explain 70% of the observed greening trend, followed by nitrogen deposition (9%), climate change (8%) and land cover change (LCC) (4%). CO2 fertilization effects explain most of the greening trends in the tropics, whereas climate change resulted in greening of the high latitudes and the Tibetan Plateau.”
“Observations show an increasing amplitude in the seasonal cycle of CO2 (ASC) north of 45° N of 56 ± 9.8% over the last 50 years and an increase in vegetation greenness of 7.5-15% in high northern latitudes since the 1980’s. Modelled increases in greenness are primarily driven by warming whereas ASC changes are primarily driven by increasing CO2.”
“Significant land greening in the northern extratropical latitudes (NEL) has been documented through satellite observations during the past three decades. Our findings reveal that the observed greening record is consistent with an assumption of anthropogenic forcings, where greenhouse gases play a dominant role, but is not consistent with simulations that include only natural forcings and internal climate variability. These results provide the first clear evidence of a discernible human fingerprint on physiological vegetation changes other than phenology and range shifts.”
“Trees growing in a pure aspen stand were selected according to the CO-gas regime within their rooting zone. Five high [CO2] trees (10–25% CO2 in the soil) and five low [CO2] trees (up to 3% CO2 in the
soil) were sampled. Stem growth analysis of each trunk was carried out to study growth pattern in detail. High and low [CO2] trees significantly differed in a growth rate. At the age of 25 years, the basal area of high [CO2] trees exceeded low [CO2] trees by 39 %. The positive effect of CO2 on annual increment was pronounced particularly in the years with optimal growing conditions. Results suggest that trees can be fertilized not only by elevated atmospheric CO2 but also when fed with CO2 via the roots.”
Elevated CO2, Warming Weakens Hurricanes, Stabilizes The Climate
“Extratropical cyclones cause much of the high impact weather over the mid-latitudes. With increasing greenhouse gases, enhanced high-latitude warming will lead to weaker cyclone activity. Here we show that between 1979 and 2014, the number of strong cyclones in Northern Hemisphere in summer has decreased at a rate of 4% per decade, with even larger decrease found near northeastern North America. Climate models project a decrease in summer cyclone activity, but the observed decreasing rate is near the fastest projected.”
“‘Tipping points’ (TPs) are thresholds of potentially disproportionate changes in the Earth’s climate system associated with future global warming and are considered today as a ‘hot’ topic in environmental sciences. In this study, TP interactions are analysed from an integrated and conceptual point of view using two qualitative Boolean models built on graph grammars. They allow an accurate study of the node TP interactions previously identified by expert elicitation and take into account a range of various large-scale climate processes potentially able to trigger, alone or jointly, instability in the global climate. Our findings show that, contrary to commonly held beliefs, far from causing runaway changes in the Earth’s climate, such as self-acceleration due to additive positive feedbacks, successive perturbations [associated with ‘global warming’] might actually lead to its stabilization.”
“It is widely promulgated and believed that human-caused global warming comes with increases in both the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events. A survey of official weather sites and the scientific literature provides strong evidence that the first half of the 20th century had more extreme weather than the second half, when anthropogenic global warming is claimed to have been mainly responsible for observed climate change.”
No Significant Evidence That Elevated CO2, Warming Lead To More Hurricanes, Floods, Droughts, Fires, Tornadoes
“Neither a physically correct theoretical model nor a comprehensive climate model support the idea that seasonal mean monsoons will undergo abrupt, nonlinear shifts in response to changes in greenhouse gas concentrations, aerosol emissions, or land surface albedo.”
“[T]he observed record and historical model experiments were used to investigate changes in the recent past. In part because of large intrinsic variability, no evidence was found for changes in extreme precipitation attributable to climate change in the available observed record.”
“Time series of US daily heavy precipitation (95th percentile) are analyzed to determine factors responsible for regionality and seasonality in their 1979-2013 trends. …. Analysis of model ensemble spread reveals that appreciable 35-yr trends in heavy daily precipitation can occur in the absence of forcing, thereby limiting detection of the weak anthropogenic influence at regional scales. … Analysis of the seasonality in heavy daily precipitation trends supports physical arguments that their changes during 1979-2013 have been intimately linked to internal decadal ocean variability, and less to human-induced climate change.”
“Wildfire has been an important process affecting the Earth’s surface and atmosphere for over 350 million years and human societies have coexisted with fire since their emergence. Yet many consider wildfire as an accelerating problem, with widely held perceptions both in the media and scientific papers of increasing fire occurrence, severity and resulting losses. However, important exceptions aside, the quantitative evidence available does not support these perceived overall trends. Instead, global area burned appears to have overall declined over past decades, and there is increasing evidence that there is less fire in the global landscape today than centuries ago.”
“The combined spatial-temporal variability of U.S. tornado occurrence has remained nearly constant since 1950.”
Evidence That Cooling Is Associated With Extreme Weather Events, Instability
“Storms and tsunamis, which may seriously endanger human society, are amongst the most devastating marine catastrophes that can occur in coastal areas. … [T]hese extreme events occurred around 5250, 4000, 3600, 3010, 2300, 1350, 650, and 80 years cal BP. No comparable events have been observed during the 20th and 21st centuries. The results indicate little likelihood of a tsunami origin for these coarse-grained layers, although historical tsunami events are recorded in this region. These periods of surge events seem to coincide with the coldest periods in Europe during the late Holocene, suggesting a control by a climatic mechanism for periods of increased storm activity.”
“The highest dust fluxes in the Baie bog were recorded from 1750–1000 cal. BP to 600–100 cal. BP and occur at the same time as periods of high variability in the macrofossil record (i.e. successive layers dominated by Sphagnum or Ericaceae). The timing of these events in the dust and macrofossil records also corresponds to documented cold periods. These two [cold] periods have been identified as episodes of climatic instability, which could have been caused by changes in the wind regime.”