Hooray for Carbon Dioxide! It’s Helping to Feed the World’s Hungry

Among the greatest challenges humankind has faced throughout its history, feeding the world’s hungry ranks at or near the very top of the list. And with the world’s population expected to top nine billion between 2050 and 2100, this issue will surely become even more important in the coming decades.

However, what many people may not realize is that the carbon dioxide humans have been pumping into the air since the middle of the 20th century has enriched plant growth, thereby contributing to record crop yields, which has helped to bring about the largest decline in hunger, starvation, and malnutrition in human history.

Most of the world’s plant life arose during times when carbon-dioxide levels were much higher than they are today. Over time, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere slowly declined, to the extent that during the most recent ice age, atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels fell to dangerously low levels — just 180 parts per million (ppm).

Plants begin to die when carbon dioxide reaches 150 ppm because they are unable to use sunlight to photosynthesize food from carbon dioxide and water. After humans emerged from the previous ice age, carbon-dioxide levels rose to approximately 280 ppm, still far below the levels existing when plant life began to colonize the land.

Let’s be clear: If plants die, humans and almost all other living beings on Earth will perish as well, so, historically speaking, higher carbon-dioxide levels are positive and associated with more life on Earth.

The addition of approximately 120 ppm carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by humans — through the burning of fossil fuels, slash-and-burn agriculture, and various other actions — is making plants grow stronger, more quickly and abundantly, and improving the efficiency with which they use water. (Under higher carbon-dioxide conditions, plants lose less water through their stoma during transpiration.)

Since the widespread development and use of fossil fuels, world poverty and hunger have declined precipitously. Despite adding 3.2 billion people to the planet since 1968, poverty and hunger have fallen at a faster rate than at any time in human history.

Contrary to the predictions made by 1968 Malthusian environmentalists such as Paul Ehrlich, who said in his woefully mistaken 1968 jeremiad The Population Bomb, “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now,” more people are better fed today than ever before.

Forty-four percent of the world’s population lived in absolute poverty in 1981. Since then, the share of people living in extreme poverty fell below 10 percent in 2015. And although 700 million people worldwide still suffer from persistent hunger, according to the United Nations, hunger has declined by two billion people since 1990. Additionally, research shows there is now 17 percent more food available per person than there was 30 years ago.

Read more at American Thinker

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Comments (5)

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    Spurwing Plover

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    If we did’nt have CO2 the planst would b die off then the plant eating animals would die off so would all the predators and humans then the planet would be a dead rock in space all those idiots who want CO2 banned or controled are idiots

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      David Lewis

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      If the asteroid theory of the extinction of the dinosaurs is correct, this has essentially happened. Humans were not here yet and instead of carbon dioxide, it was the lack of sun light. The theory says that dust from the impact blocked the sun for years. Plants died and most species on earth went extinct.

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    Sonnyhill

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    Humanity’s contribution to the current 410ppm of CO2 in air is unknowable. The carbon cycle is as complex as meteorology. Various crops respond differently to CO2 concentration. What has advanced agricultural productivity the most is capitalism. Incentive. That’s it.

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    Amber

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    Scratch a scary global warmest and most I’ve talked to quickly get to their closely held view that “there are just too many people anyways “.
    Better food production … bad . It only encourages babies that will eventually plug up their bike lanes .
    Green+ Antifa = Democrat .

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    Spurwing Plover

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    I hope this winter is extra cold and snowy and freezes these Global Warming wackos out of their tree they sit in and especialy airheads like Jessica Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio

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