In a surprising turn of events, new research published in the international journal “Science Advances” has provided an optimistic outlook for the planet. According to Dr. Jurgen Knauer and his team at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at Western Sydney University, plants may be able to absorb more atmospheric CO2 from human activities than previously expected.
Despite this promising news, environmental scientists behind the study caution that this should not be seen as a reason for governments to slow down on their obligations to reduce carbon emissions as quickly as possible. The study found that a well-established climate model predicts a stronger and more sustained carbon absorption by plants until the end of the 21st century when accounting for critical physiological processes that govern photosynthesis.
The process of photosynthesis was the focus of this scientific modeling study, in which plants convert CO2 into sugars, serving as a natural climate change mitigator. However, while the beneficial effect of climate change on carbon uptake by vegetation may not last forever, it is still unclear how vegetation will respond in the future to CO2, temperature, and precipitation changes.
In their research, Knauer and his team evaluated how carbon uptake by vegetation would respond to global climate change through the end of the 21st century under a high-emissions scenario. They found that more complex models incorporating plant physiological processes consistently projected stronger increases in carbon uptake by vegetation globally. The effects of these physiological processes reinforced each other, resulting in even stronger effects when taken into account together – an encouraging sign for those working to mitigate climate change.