How Does Carbon Dioxide Affect Plants ?

Climate change, with its rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it was thought once it was beneficial to plant life. The dioxide of carbon emitted by cars and factories has proven to be a valuable source of nutrients for the plants.

However, a condition that scientists once viewed as favourable for farmers, helping in the growth of certain crops, recently has been refuted. New discoveries confirm that rapid elevation of CO2 in the atmosphere, combined with other consequences of climate change, negatively affects the plants and their growth.

Growth retardation
A study conducted in 2002 by Stanford University has led researchers to rethink the idea of global warming. The results suggest that the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, when combined with high temperatures and increased rainfall or the presence of nitrogen in the soil, prevents the growth of plants. Plants regulate the emissions of fossil fuels through the amount of CO2 in the air filtering. If it inhibits the growth of plants, we are losing natural regulators of the contamination.


Decrease of evaporation
Plants emit water pores in their leaves. As well as sweating cools the body, this perspiration cools the plant. High levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes plant pores to reduce size, diminishing the rate of water that is released. Ken Caldeira, of the Department of Global Ecology of the Carnegie Institute says that this phenomenon greatly affects the cooling by evaporation, and regulation of the temperature of the air.

Failure to the sprout
Not only the increase of carbon dioxide slows the growth of plants, but it also inhibits the ability of plants to sprout. In a study conducted at the University of California in 2007, the seeds exposed to high levels of CO2 failed to germinate. The lack of germination decreases the amount of available plant life, once again, directly hamper the process of natural filtration of our ecosystem.

Global warming
The negative effects of carbon dioxide in plants starts a vicious cycle. Preventing the growth of the plant, reducing the potential evaporation and germination blocking capabilities, carbon dioxide wreaks havoc on plants and our land. As pollution increases and decreases the ability of the plants to thrive, our world continues to receive more heat. Many researchers believe that the elevated temperatures, together with the factors mentioned above, will lead us to a path of destruction.

Effects of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
Carbon dioxide is essential for the survival of plants and animals. However, too much can cause the end of life on Earth. Not only plants and animals need to eat carbon dioxide, but also depend on it to keep warm, since it is an essential component in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Greenhouse gas
Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that occurs naturally. Others are methane, nitrous oxide and water vapor. These gases will help keep the heat of the Earth to absorb the Sun’s energy and direct it to the Earth’s surface. An increase in the amount of carbon dioxide generated an excess of greenhouse gases that trap heat extra. This extra heat causes the melting of ice sheets that raise sea levels and cause flooding.

Plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in a process called capture and storage of carbon. Carbon dioxide is stored in biomass and then released by the plant. In the majority of cases, the released amount is less than the amount consumed by the plant. Farms, pastures and forests are considered to be sources or sinks of carbon dioxide, according to the practices carried out in these lands. For example, the cows produce methane, but farm pasture captures the gas.

Carbon dioxide is essential for the survival of animals. The oxygen is transported through the body tissue during respiration and carbon dioxide is released. The gas protects the blood pH level. However, too much carbon dioxide can kill animals. If carbon dioxide is limited, the amount of oxygen reaching the body may decrease. Any increase or decrease in the amount of carbon dioxide that comes to the body can cause kidney failure or coma.

Fossil fuels such as coal, gas, oil, vehicles and large industrial power plants are the largest source of carbon dioxide. Production originates from various elements such as iron, steel, cement, natural gas, combustion of solid waste, lime, ammonia, limestone, crop field, anhydrous sodium carbonate, aluminum, petrochemicals, titanium and phosphoric acid. Carbon dioxide constitute 85 per cent of all emissions and is produced when you use natural gas, oil and coal. The major areas where these fuels are used include the production of electricity, transport, industry and commercial and residential buildings.