Thank The Gods for More Carbon Dioxide
At the beginning of the 20th Century, atmospheric CO2 levels were low. In 1900, the carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration in Earth’s atmosphere was approximately 295 parts per million (ppm). This estimate is based on data from ice core samples and other historical records.
The minimum level of CO2 necessary for plant life depends on several factors, including the type of plant, environmental conditions, and the growth stage. However, plants typically require CO2 concentrations ranging from 150 to 450 parts per million (ppm) in the surrounding air for healthy growth. So, on average, 200 ppm would be closing in on an extinction-level event where many plants would suffocate.
295 ppm was close enough for comfort. Commercial growers use CO2 enrichment techniques to increase CO2 levels in enclosed environments like greenhouses. Elevated levels, often in the 1,000 to 1,500 ppm range, can significantly enhance photosynthesis and boost plant growth and yield. Higher CO2 levels lead to more efficient carbohydrate production and faster plant growth. At 400 ppm, where we now are, we are talking about a green planet that we should wish was getting warmer. However, as the grand solar minimum bites hard in the decade ahead and sun spots drop to zero, we can expect a deep freeze.