There is still time to repair our planet and rebuild the future for our children and the future generations, but we need to work together in order to achieve the changes necessary before it becomes to late to repair.
Industrial revolutions, driven by human ingenuity, have brought about the climate crisis. Every year, more than 40 Gigatons of CO₂ is released into the atmosphere. Pulling CO₂ from the air is key to mitigating global warming. The challenge is making CO₂ capture economically viable.
In photosynthesis, energy from sunlight drives the carbon fixation pathway. Oxygenic photosynthesis is used by the primary producers—plants, algae, and cyanobacteria. They contain the pigment chlorophyll, and use the Calvin cycle to fix carbon autotrophically.
Rising carbon dioxide levels have been boosting plant growth, but this “fertilisation effect” has been declining faster than predicted by computer models, according to an analysis of satellite records. This means plants will soak up less CO2 than forecast and we will need to make bigger cuts in carbon dioxide emissions than we thought to limit global warming.
Living organisms are made of chains of carbon, and plants get this carbon from the CO2 in the air. When plants have enough water and other nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere can be the factor that limits their growth.
The rising levels of CO2 since the start of the industrial age have boosted plant growth and led to a global greening effect. This fertilisation effect is why the land and seas have continued to soak up half of all the CO2 we emit even though we are emitting more than ever.
Studies involving raising CO2 levels at small test sites suggest that the fertilisation effect fades rapidly as other limits kick in. For instance, in eucalyptus forests in Australia low phosphorus levels limit the effect. The models that inform projections of future warming predict a slow decline in the fertilisation effect.
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