Plants take up CO2 during photosynthesis for food. In glass greenhouses these have been found to grow more profusely and faster due to the high levels of CO2. A team of researchers from the Carnegie Institution for Science wanted to find if it is the same case at global levels. This was to address the uncertainty in climate change projections.
"The phenomenon of plants pulling CO2 out of the air has been included in climate change models for many years, but it has always been difficult to know whether the strength of this effect is being modeled in a realistic way” said Joe Berry, a researcher.
They found that today plants are removing more CO2 from the air than they did 200 years ago. Their findings confirm the estimates used in models of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
However, the results should not be interpreted as evidence that the earth’s dynamics are working to stabilize CO2 concentrations and climate naturally. The burning of fossil fuels cannot be sufficiently compensated through the increase in photosynthesis. So, it’s now left to us, the humans, to implement ways to reduce the atmospheric CO2 concentration.