Plants have become an unlikely subject of political debate. Many projections suggest that burning fossil fuels and the resulting climate change will make it harder to grow enough food for everyone in the coming decades. But some groups opposed to limiting our emissions claim that higher levels of carbon dioxide (CO₂) will boost plants’ photosynthesis and so increase food production.
New research published in Science suggests that predicting the effects of increasing CO₂ levels on plant growth may actually be more complicated than anyone had expected.
To understand what the researchers have found out requires a bit of background information about photosynthesis. This is the process that uses light energy to power the conversion of CO₂ into the sugars that fuel plant growth and ultimately provide the food we depend on. Unfortunately, photosynthesis is flawed.
Read the piece on The Conversation by a Senior Lecturer in Plant Biochemistry from the University of Westminster, Stuart Thompson - “Will rising carbon dioxide levels really boost plant growth?”