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Craig Idso on CO2 Benefits: A Summary

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 8, 2023

“Over the past quarter-century I have archived a number of studies on my CO2 Science website about the incredible benefit that the world is experiencing as the air’s CO2 content continues its upward rise. It will give you a whole new perspective on the many benefits of atmospheric CO2 enrichment.”

Dr. Craig Idso, chair of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, wrote a series of posts last year at MasterResource about how rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) benefits humanity and nature. These posts are linked and summarized below.

The Many Benefits of Rising Atmospheric CO2 — An Introduction (April 6, 2022)

“Atmospheric carbon dioxide: you can’t see, hear, smell or taste it. But it’s there—all around us—and it’s crucial for life…. Ironically, far too many demonize and falsely label this important atmospheric trace gas a pollutant. Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead of being shunned like the plague, the ongoing rise in CO2 should be welcomed with open arms.”

Increased Plant Productivity: The First Key Benefit of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment (April 21, 2022)

“Based on the numerous experiments listed there, I can tell you that, typically, a 300-ppm increase in the air’s CO2 content … will raise the productivity of most herbaceous plants by about one-third, which stimulation is generally manifested by an increase in the number of branches and tillers, more and thicker leaves, more extensive root systems, and more flowers and fruit.”

CO2 Enrichment Improves Plant Water-Use Efficiency (May 20, 2022)

“In basic terms, plant water-use efficiency is the amount of biomass produced by a plant per unit of water lost via transpiration…. Most plants experience water-use efficiency gains on the order of 70 to 100%–or more—for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 (see and read reviews of multiple peer-reviewed studies under subheadings of Water-Use Efficiency here on my CO2 Science website).

Elevated CO2 and the Enhancement of Plant Medicinal Properties (June 9, 2022)

“… elevated CO2 significantly increased the production of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and crude fibers in caraway, as well as organic and amino acids, regardless of growth stage (sprout or mature plants). Higher CO2 also enhanced plant mineral content, vitamins and phenolics, as well as antioxidant and antibacterial activities.”

CO2: Negating Ozone for Plant Productivity (June 28, 2022)

“Tropospheric ozone (O3) is a gaseous air pollutant that results from incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. It negatively affects plant growth…. However, the situation may not be as bad as it seems, especially when the positive effects of atmospheric CO2 enrichment on plant growth and yield are factored in, which typically reduce or fully negate plant cell damage from ozone.”

Elevated CO2 Reduces Temperature Stress in Plants (July 20, 2022)

“So when the next summer heat wave arrives along with all the negative spin stories demonizing CO2 as its cause, I hope you will remember this post and the numerous scientific studies proving rising CO2 levels helps plants better withstand and recover from temperature-induced stresses. And when you do remember this, please share it with others!”

Ocean Acidification Cut Down to Size (August 22, 2022)

“Ocean acidification and warming concerns, however, are vastly overstated and generally far out of touch with reality. In almost every instance, the predicted degree of harm is exaggerated due to improper scenario inputs that utilize the most extreme scenarios of future temperature and seawater pH. Furthermore, their projections fail to take into account the ability of species to acclimate and adapt, both within and across generations.”

Current and Rising Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations Pose No Threat to Human Health (October 3, 2022)

“Atmospheric CO2 is not causing, nor will it ever cause, a direct threat to your health or cognitive performance. CO2 levels would need to increase some 36 times above the present concentration before they would even begin to pose a mild health concern.”

The Dangers of Low Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations (November 1, 2022)

“CO2 literally is the ‘food’ that sustains essentially all plants (and animals who consume plants, including humans) on the face of the Earth. And when that food supply is diminished, nature begins to diminish.”


Also see a book review by Chip Knappenberger (“55 Positive Externalities: Hail to Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment)” of Sherwood and Craig Idso’s The Many Benefits of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment (2011).

Appendix: Craig D. Idso

Dr. Craig Idso is the founder and CEO of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, a non-profit public charity dedicated to discovering and disseminating scientific information pertaining to the effects of atmospheric carbon dioxide enrichment on climate and the biosphere. The Center produces CO2 Science online and maintains a comprehensive online collection of editorials on and reviews of peer-reviewed scientific journal articles relating to global climate change.

Dr. Idso’s research has appeared many times in peer-reviewed journals, including Geophysical Research LettersEnvironmental and Experimental BotanyForest Ecology and ManagementJournal of ClimatePhysical GeographyAtmospheric EnvironmentTechnologyThe Quarterly Review of BiologyEnergy & Environment, and the Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science.

He is the author or co-author of The Many Benefits of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment (Vales Lake Publishing, LLC, 2011); CO2, Global Warming and Species Extinctions (Vales Lake Publishing, LLC, 2009); CO2, Global Warming and Coral Reefs (Vales Lake Publishing, LLC, 2009); Enhanced or Impaired? Human Health in a CO2-Enriched Warmer World (Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, 2003); and The Specter of Species Extinction: Will Global Warming Decimate Earth’s Biosphere? (George C. Marshall Institute, 2003).

Dr. Idso received a B.S. in Geography from Arizona State University; an M.S. in Agronomy from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln; and a Ph.D. in Geography from Arizona State University.


  1. Bruce Bigham  

    CO2 is part of the carbon cycle that converts CO2+H2O+?+SOLAR ENERGY into sugar like molecules that build and are also ‘burned’ to POWER life. Even the energy to type this
    comes via CO2!
    This aspect seems forgotten?
    I have followed your work for years – like the 4 pine trees!


  2. Louis Davis  

    Hi, I am a private citizen. My family experienced, CO2 coming into our house in the spring of 2022.
    Our first indication was the pilot light on our hot water tank went out. We reached out to PADEP Air quality, which informed us that it might be CO2 due to old and recent mining near our house. Turns out it was. Govt. agencies have dismissed us both State and Federal. I hired a private company who assisted us with a reverse radon system. I have also installed an HRV system and keep a fan on in the basement weather permitting. The private contractor I hired works with PADEP and I no longer trust him.

    My question is there anyone who understands this issue. Who I could resource to tell me if I’m doing the right thing to keep my family safe. I know we are not the only ones who have experienced this. I’m guessing you do not deal with a private residence. When I searched expert, well you came up. Sorry if I have waisted your time.


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