Now Reading
Fact Check: CO2, Is It A Pollutant Or A Plant Food?

Fact Check: CO2, Is It A Pollutant Or A Plant Food?

A screenshot of a tweet saying there is no climate emergency because CO2 is plant food and not a pollutant was shared with us via WhatsApp.

The link accompanied by the image led us to a Twitter post with over 11,000 views, 1,000 likes, 352 retweets, and 20 quote retweets. This tweet was posted on April 25, 2023, by Wide Awake Media.
Based on the account activity analysis with the aid of Truth Nest, the source of this claim is a climate change denier who joined Twitter on May 26, 2022, and is located in the United Kingdom.
While it is true that plants need CO2 to survive, the claim that CO2 is plant food and therefore there is no climate change emergency is a misleading oversimplification of the issue at hand.

It is important to understand that while plants do need CO2 for photosynthesis, they also require a variety of other factors, such as sunlight, water, and nutrients, to grow. Moreover, as CO2 levels rise, the additional CO2 can have both positive and negative effects on plant growth and development.
According to an article published by the Nature Journal, some plants have shown that increased CO2 levels can boost plant growth, while others have demonstrated that excessive amounts of CO2 can have negative impacts on their growth and yield.

“Under elevated CO2, most plant species show higher rates of photosynthesis, increased growth, decreased water use, and lowered tissue concentrations of nitrogen and protein. Rising CO2 over the next century is likely to affect both agricultural production and food quality. The effects of elevated CO2 are not uniform; some species, particularly those that utilize the C4 variant of photosynthesis, show less of a response to elevated CO2 than do other types of plants. Rising CO2 is therefore likely to have complex effects on the growth and composition of natural plant communities,” the article reads.
Researchers from the University of Washington report in a paper published on October 1, 2018 by the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles that plants under high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere thicken their leaves, which affects their ability to absorb carbon dioxide, hence affecting the photosynthesis process and threatening climate change.

According to a NASA study, higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide affect crops in two important ways: they boost crop yields by increasing the rate of photosynthesis, which spurs growth, and they reduce the amount of water crops lose through transpiration. “Plants breathe through their leaves, which have tiny pores called stomata that open and collect carbon dioxide molecules for photosynthesis and emit water vapor during the process, and as carbon dioxide concentrations rise, the pores don’t open as wide, resulting in lower levels of transpiration by plants and thus increased water-use efficiency.”
The effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) on the environment become more pronounced as its levels increase. According to a recent study published in Nature Climate Change, CO2 levels are significantly altering biodiversity and species composition. CO2 has been linked to ocean water chemistry changes, which decrease oxygen levels. Climate change and extreme weather events can also be caused by CO2, which contributes to global warming. Ultimately, an increase in CO2 levels can destroy biodiversity, ocean chemistry, and the global climate.

While it is true that plants need CO2 to survive, the claim that CO2 is plant food and therefore there is no climate change emergency is false and oversimplifies a complex issue. The negative impacts of climate change are numerous and far-reaching, and they will have significant consequences for both human societies and ecosystems.
This fact-check was produced by the Debunk Media Initiative with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck, the International Fact-Checking Network, and the African Fact-Checking Alliance network.

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2022 Debunk Media Initiative | All Rights Reserved.
Scroll To Top