Sept. 30th’s letter asked how increasing CO2 will harm plants and food.

Plants respond to higher levels of CO2 in different ways, in most cases by increased growth. But it does not translate that we get higher yield or nutrition in that process. Taller wheat is not a benefit, as it blows down easier and growers don’t want to put more straw through their harvesting machinery. Increasing CO2 causes some plants to grow thicker leaves, which later in the growth cycle absorb less CO2 and suffer more from heat, the opposite of what we want. Worse, larger plants need more water, which is already an issue in many places. But worse still, nutrients such as iron, protein, zinc and key vitamins decline in food crops as CO2 increases. This holds true for meat and dairy as well since animals also get their nutrition from plants.

On Oct. 12, 2015, at Kansas State University, Greg Page, executive president and CEO of the food giant Cargill, spoke of climate change harming family farms financially and putting Cargill’s supply chain at risk. His advice was to “tackle climate change head-on … it is already changing the way we farm, it will soon change farmers’ income.”

Several bipartisan bills are in Congress aimed at stemming harmful CO2 from burning fossil fuels and the subsequent injury to health and agriculture. Sen. Ben Cardin and Sen. Chris Van Hollen should look at the revenue-neutral Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763). I urge them to co-sponsor it when reintroduced in the Senate.

Darrel Hart


(10) comments

Jeff Wilson

Darrel, if you are a person of faith, you may be interested in a Frederick County organization called Multifaith Alliance of Climate Stewards. We have a Facebook page and a rudimentary web page:


Number of people who just fear monger about global warming: millions. Number of people who say we should do "something": thousands. Number of people with pie-in-the-sky "something"s: hundreds. thousands. Number of people with practical workable solutions: 0. Conclusion: Build dikes, buy bigger air conditioners, move to higher ground.


Sadly, in the Trump post-truth era, political pundit opinions matter more than scientist's. Too many people don't even believe science, much less embrace its lessons.


So true.


Thank you for a fact based, scientific analysis. We need more of that and less hyperbole. But I fear that greed and politics will outcompete science, at least until things get so bad that even hard core deniers begin to panic. By then, it will be too late.


It was nice in the good old days, when we didn't know or care about any of this.


Those of us who read science fiction have been on to this since the 40's. Nice to have company now.


I remember reading about the greenhouse effect circa 1970, when I was in elementary school. It is maddening that Republicans are only now beginning to accept it, but they are still mostly not willing to do anything about it.


If you’re saying this isn’t happening, then you’re reading the wrong books, Gary4.


Gary appears to me to be saying that it is happening and it is nice to have company in understanding that it is happening.

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