The Role of Carbon Dioxide in Increasing Food Production and the Productivity of Agriculture for the US and Worldwide

Climate scientists have long warned that global warming, even if by only a few degrees, would play global havoc, with devastating negative impacts on the entire planet. In the climate science world, there are no positive impacts of a temperature increase, only negatives. Climate scientists frequently blame global warming almost entirely on the steady increase in the use of fossil fuels by human beings as the world becomes ever more and more industrialized. Climate scientists generally believe that drastic and costly steps must immediately be taken to curb the burning of fossil fuels in an effort to reduce the pace of global warming, even if these drastic measures have only a minimal impact on atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, if at all.This paper takes an entirely different view grounded in both plant science and agricultural production economics. This has been largely if not entirely ignored by the climate scientists. The scientific basis is grounded both in agricultural production economics and the basics of plant physiology. The conclusion I reach states that to the extent the planet is warming, while there may be some measurable and reasonable costs, the same warming undeniably generates large benefits to agriculture. These benefits accrue to farmers and consumers. Farmers operating in the Northern Plains states have been and continue to be major beneficiaries. These benefits include not only the direct impacts of the carbon dioxide on plant growth, but also benefits such as increased rainfall associated with greater cloud cover, longer growing seasons allowing a larger diversity of high-value species to be grown, more lush pasture growth for livestock and warmer winters that allow more fall-planted and high-yielding plant such as winter wheats to thrive.


Issue Date:
Mar 22 2017
Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
PURL Identifier:
http://purl.umn.edu/254046
Total Pages:
25
JEL Codes:
Q54; Q56; Q57; Q58; Q51; Q18; Q02
Series Statement:
Special Research Report
3




 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-22

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