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 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

many skeptics also fail to mention the potentially most harmful outcome of rising atmospheric CO2 on vegetation: climate change itself. Its negative consequences—such as drought and heat stress—would likely overwhelm any direct benefits that rising CO2 might offer plant life.

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

  1. Dave Burton says:

    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:

    • Loco+Hombre says:

      Of course the thousands of non-peer reviwed, hoax posts by bogus agenda “journalists” sweep right under you nose.

      Go back to mommies bsasement, chump.

  2. Terry Shipman says:

    Tony, this one really had me ROFL. I love how you juxtapose these two articles. Contemporary science seems to have lost the ability to do simple research such as visit commercial greenhouses to see how elevated CO2 levels affect plants or look at satellite photos to see how the earth is greening. The holy pronouncements of the high green church MUST NOT BE CHALLENGED (bow down and repeat, “I will obey, master”).

    • Richard says:

      no one wants to do research or review history – they just print END OF THE WORLD crap to sell papers and get their 15 minutes of fame

  3. Bart says:

    Good find. Bookmarking for future reference.

  4. G W Smith says:

    Occasionally humans actually stumble across the Truth, but democrats usually go back and rail at it for being racist, kick it out out of the road, or else smash it flat.

  5. G W Smith says:

    Occasionally humans actually stumble upon the Truth, then democrats come along and rail at it for being racist, kick it out of the road, or smash it flat.

  6. arn says:

    Great find.

    Seems that the scientific american of the western pre Lysenko era was capable of basic logical observations and conclusions.
    (of course it is so much easier to have an hoenest opinion about co2 if you don’t get punished and as long you don’t get paid to have the politically correct opinion )


    CO2 injection systems in cannabis grow facilities is used to speed healthy growth of the plants. Huge dollars are spent to get more CO2 to those plants because increased yield equals increased profit.

  8. Greenhouse operators use about 1000-1100 ppmV CO2 as I recall. Weird that. It’s almost like CO2 is beneficial or something.

  9. Yanira says:

    The Key to achiever in tourist business organization is on the update ability, as demonstrated by the Hotel Vienna, which decided to attention deficit disorder raw facilities to its guests.

  10. Charles Straw says:

    I like music and enjoy reading about how music is made and played back on sound systems. This Scientific American article reminds me of the endless subjective audiophile tech talk that goes on in music chat rooms and in magazines. Usually the obviously simple act of listening is ignored, in favor of grand discussions about speaker latency, turntable wow and flutter and whether one should use rice paper or regular paper sleeves when storing LPs (audiophiles do not like “micro abrasions” on their vinyl albums)

    Essentially it’s all useless audio chatter unless it’s applied to a personal listening experience. The audio world is as full of mumbo jumbo as the climate change world

  11. Gabriel Cisneros says:

    Scientific American is absolutely terrible now. They have been taken over 100% by a woke madness. Just in the last few months they published “scientific studies” negating the physical advantages of trans males competing as females in sports
    [] and another on the “unbearable whiteness of environmental anxiety” which is hilarious but so embarrassing to find in a magazine that has “scientific” in its header. []

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