A Free-Market Energy Blog

The Many Benefits of Rising Atmospheric CO2 — An Introduction

By -- April 6, 2022

Dr. Craig Idso, Chairman of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, and a new principal at MasterResource, invites readers to join him in a new series of articles discussing the many ways in which rising atmospheric carbon dioxide benefits humanity and nature.

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. Composed of one carbon and two oxygen atoms, this simple molecule serves as the primary raw material out of which plants construct their tissues, which in turn provide the materials out of which animals construct theirs. Knowledge of the key life-giving and life-sustaining role played by carbon dioxide, or CO2, is so well established, in fact, that humans—and all the rest of the biosphere—are described in the most basic of terms as carbon-based lifeforms. We simply could not and would not exist without it.

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.

How do I know this?

During the past three decades of my professional career I have performed countless hours of research, conducted multiple experiments, published a series of professional journal articles, written several books, created videos and feature-length documentaries, and authored thousands of commentary articles exploring the effects of CO2 on the biosphere (much of that work can be found at my CO2 Science website, www.co2science.org). In all those activities I have come to know that, far from being a pollutant, this colorless, odorless, tasteless and invisible gas benefits the biosphere in a multitude of ways. And I want to share that knowledge with you!

To accomplish this objective, over the next several months I will be publishing a series of articles describing several key benefits atmospheric CO2 enrichment provides to both humanity and nature. The articles will explore topics such as the effects of CO2 on plant growth and water use efficiency, a CO2-induced greening of the planet, the monetary benefits of rising CO2 on crop yields, and much, much more. Look for the postings at a rate of about two per month.

Sadly, most of the population remains woefully unaware of the many positive impacts of CO2 on the biosphere. This is no surprise, considering the constant and steady stream of misinformation our society endures from sources dedicated to demeaning and defaming CO2. What is more, world governments, non-governmental organizations, international agencies, societal think tanks, and even respectable scientific organizations attempting to assess the potential consequences of increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations have spent hundreds of millions of dollars writing and promoting large reports about it.

Yet, these endeavors have failed miserably because they have neglected to evaluate or even acknowledge the manifold real and measurable benefits of the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content.  As a result, many important and positive impacts of atmospheric CO2 enrichment remain underappreciated and largely ignored in the debate over what to do, or not do, about anthropogenic CO2 emissions. And that omission does not bode well for policy decisions.

I hope you will join me on this informative journey as we explore the many benefits of CO2 and I hope you will share what you read and learn with others. Societal change occurs as individuals become informed one by one. Together we can help make that happen!

-Dr. Craig Idso


CRAIG D. IDSO is the founder, former president, and currently chairman of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. The Center was founded in 1998 as 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 the online newsletter, CO2 Science, and maintains a massive 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.

Dr. Idso is the author or coauthor of several books, including 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). He contributed chapters to McKittrick, R. (Ed.), Critical Topics in Global Warming (Fraser Institute, 2009) and Encyclopedia of Soil Science (Marcel Dekker, 2002). Dr. Idso has also produced several short video works and three feature-length documentariesCarbon Dioxide and the Climate Crisis: Reality or Illusion? (2008), Carbon Dioxide and the Climate Crisis: Avoiding Plant and Animal Extinctions (2008), and Carbon Dioxide and the Climate Crisis: Doing the Right Thing (2008).

In 2009, Dr. Idso became the lead author and editor for the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), overseeing a team of internationally renowned scientists in the production of several major reports on climate change. Those reports include Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC)Climate Change Reconsidered: 2011 Interim ReportClimate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, and Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts. His most recent work with NIPCC is encapsulated in its 2019 report, Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels, where he contributed as a lead or contributing author on several chapters.

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, where he also studied as one of a small group of University Graduate Scholars. Prior work positions have included Director of Environmental Science at Peabody Energy in St. Louis, Missouri; faculty researcher in the Office of Climatology at Arizona State University; and lecturer in Meteorology at Arizona State University.

Dr. Idso’s professional associations have included membership in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Geophysical Union, American Meteorological Society, Arizona-Nevada Academy of Sciences, Association of American Geographers, Ecological Society of America, Geological Society of America, and The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Dr. Idso has also served as an adjunct scholar for the Cato Institute and he is presently a policy advisor for the CO2 Coalition, the Heartland Institute, and the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow.


  1. Keith Armstrong  

    Look forward to your contributions. Scary that scrubbing CO2 from the atmosphere is even being considered. What a cost!


  2. Robert Bradley Jr  

    Global greening


    “From a quarter to half of Earth’s vegetated lands has shown significant greening over the last 35 years largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change on April 25.

    An international team of 32 authors from 24 institutions in eight countries led the effort, which involved using satellite data from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer instruments to help determine the leaf area index, or amount of leaf cover, over the planet’s vegetated regions. The greening represents an increase in leaves on plants and trees equivalent in area to two times the continental United States.”


  3. Jim Elliot  

    We are farmers and graziers with properties in Central Queensland, Australia.
    I have just recently had the opportunity to read your Chapter 13 in the book Climate Change Facts, 2017, and your findings and observations agree with what we are experiencing in our area.
    We are subjected to a continuous barrage of misinformation which starts with the children at school and continues through the media and our ill-informed and self-interested politicians and bureaucracy.
    Is there some way that we can get your articles sent to us (such as Chapter 13 above) in an e-mail or other simple electronic form which we can distribute to our friends, family and neighbours in order to counteract this misinformation? We are not very smart with computers ourselves!
    Jim Elliot. “Koombooyana”, P.O. Box 4, Calliope, Qld 4680, Australia.


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