Scientific American 1920 – “Fertilizing the air with carbon dioxide to promote plant growth”

Scientific American 1920 – “Fertilizing the air with carbon dioxide to promote plant growth”

In 1920, Scientific American reported that the atmosphere was deficient in CO2, and that crop productivity could be greatly enhanced by introducing CO2 emissions from from smokestacks, and that earth was covered with luxuriant forests when CO2 levels were much higher.

“Fertilizing the air with carbon dioxide to promote plant growth

ONE of the principal constituents making up the body of a plant is carbon, representing about one-half of its organic substance. The opinion that this carbon is derived from the soil has long been abandoned, modern investigation having shown atmospheric carbonic acid to be absorbed by means 0’f the chlorophyll 0r green matter of the leaves and decomposed into its elements, the carbon, in conjunction with the root sap and atmospheric m0isture, being worked into organic compounds. Whereas atmospheric air at present is relatively poor in carb0nic acid, of which it contains only about .03 per cent, at an early period in the development of our planet, when this was covered with the luxuriant forests our coal deposits are derived from, it comprised incomparably greater quantities of this gas. This fact suggested the idea of heightening the fertility of the soil by increasing its carbonic acid content and thus producing conditions resembling those of antediluvian ages.”

November 1920 – Scientific American

Now they say –

Climate change’s negative effects on plants will likely outweigh any gains from elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide levels

Ask the Experts: Does Rising CO2 Benefit Plants? – Scientific American

In the 1920 article, they provide tens of millions of years of empirical evidence – luxuriant forests growing at much higher CO2 levels, but now they completely disregard the scientific method, throw all evidence out the window, and make nonsensical speculations based on climate models.

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April 4, 2021 at 01:27AM

One thought on “Scientific American 1920 – “Fertilizing the air with carbon dioxide to promote plant growth””

  1. That pathetic 2018 article not only wasn’t peer-reviewed, it’s not based on anything peer-reviewed. It’s not even written by a scientist. It’s by a free-lance journalist, named Annie Sneed, who didn’t even understand enough about her topic to know who to interview about it.

    It’s based on mere interviews, not on experimental measurements or peer-reviewed papers — and she didn’t even interview agronomists!

    The fact that @SciAm publishes such drek is proof of how far they’ve fallen from their glory days, as a once-prestigious scientific periodical. Over six years their circulation has declined over 29%, and over 13 years it declined 48% — and it’s easy to see why.

    My annotation of that pathetic article is here:–prCU0w/

    Click on each highlighted part of the article to read what’s wrong with it, in great detail.

    Agronomists have conducted THOUSANDS of rigorous studies, measuring the benefits of eCO2 for crops. All major crops benefit from eCO2, most of them dramatically. It’s settled science. The benefits of eCO2 for crops have been known to science for >100 yrs.

    Here’s a better-formatted copy of the excellent 1920 @SciAm article:


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