POINT/COUNTERPOINT - Is The CO2 Build-Up Really A Crisis?
Many scientists believe our future shows rising temperatures and sea levels, spreading deserts and shrinking forests. Most popular coverage of global warming (including that of WIT’s World Ecology Report) treats global warming as a present and future reality; one caused, in the main, by rapidly accelerating emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2).
A recent national Gallup survey of 400 atmospheric, climate and oceanographic scientists in the U.S. showed that while 60 percent of these scientists believed that average global temperatures have risen over the past century, fewer than one in five believe it was caused by humans.
There are, in fact, some scientists who believe that the CO2 build-up could be a real boom to plant life.
Certain research suggests that CO2 stimulates the growth of plants and crops. The Western Fuel Association, for example, has produced a half-hour video which makes a case that higher levels of CO2 will lead to higher crop yields, more forests, less water usage by plants and greater resistance to flooding. And, in fact, some studies have shown 60 percent increases in cotton yields and 200 percent increases in wheat yields in areas with high levels of CO2 emissions.
In what is an area of scientific research that is enormously complicated, the only certainty is that the issues relating to the causes and likely effects of CO2 build-up will continue to be hotly debated.
For a provocative and comprehensive analysis of the ongoing debate we refer our readers to Investors Business Daily (June 3, 1992) which contains a front page feature on the issue.
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