Welcome to the Greening Issue: The Good Side of Carbon Dioxide

Despite a staggering $1.8 billion a year U.S. Global Change Research Program budget, three fundamental questions are being ducked:

1. How much has the increase in carbon dioxide levels contributed to feeding the world so far?
2. What is it likely to contribute in future?
3. How much of this benefit will be lost if the carbon dioxide increase is slowed or halted?

At issue is something called the Greening Theory. This is the concept that an increase in CO2 levels will lead to increased plant growth, because CO2 is the food of plants. This growth response is called the greening effect.

The Greening Theory has been pretty well confirmed. In fact the Clinton administration is asking for several hundred million dollars for "sequestration" research next year, much of it by the Department of Agriculture.This research will look at how changes in farming practices might cause plants to remove more CO2 from the air by growing more. The practice of sequestration assumes the truth of the Greening Theory.

But the U.S. government, as well as the United Nations, does not want to admit the beneficial implication of the Greening Theory: It is likely that some part of the world's incredible ability to feed itself over the past few decades, despite enormous population growth, is due to the increase in CO2 in the air. If this is true then it is likely just as true that a continued increase in CO2 will be needed to continue feeding the world, for the population is still growing rapidly.

The United States, and the United Nations, have taken the position that increasing CO2 levels are dangerous and must be stopped. But given the greening theory it might be even more dangerous to do this, because it could lead to mass starvation in the poorer countries of the worlds, where most people live. The U.S. and UN appear to be ducking this incredibly important issue because they have already made up their minds what they want to do.

On these pages we will explain this issue in more detail, including a sample greening effect analysis for Bangladesh, and provide links to other resources for further information and research. Detailed information regarding regional and national crop yields and use of agricultural technologies is available from the United Nation Food and Agriculture Organization.

FAO also provides an extensive online statistical database: FAOSTAT. The FAOSTAT database contains over 1 million time series records covering over 210 countries and territories and 3,000 items in the areas of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry and Nutrition.

Table of Contents

Carbon Dioxide -- The Miracle of Food.

Introduction to the Greening Theory.

The Green Revolution: feeding the global population.

Technology and the Green Revolution.

Government Policy Toward Carbon Dioxide: why is it negative?

A Huge Hole in the Climate Change Science.

The USDA Should Lead Greening Research, but it is doing nothing.

Outline of a Greening Effect Benefit and Risk Assessment.