C4 plants take ATP-expensive routes to ensure photorespiration does not occur. They minimise oxygen concentration in cells where the Krebs cycle occurs and cart carbon dioxide into these same cells. To over-simplify, they increase the carbon dioxide concentration and decrease the oxygen concentration in these cells.

Despite the ATP this costs them they are enormously successful (in hot areas at least).

Considering this, would human-caused carbon dioxide emissions, i.e. increased concentration in environmental carbon dioxide, be beneficial to plants?

Considering @Cell's comment: I mean beneficial from the 'plant's point of view', i.e. the plant can grow faster-reproduce sooner or less photorespiration occurs; due to the higher level of carbon dioxide. I think we can disregard ocean acidification for now, climate change is relavent but perhaps it could be disregarded initially? Especially as climate change effects different areas differently.

Please note: I am not encouraging or supporting human caused carbon emissions; this is a genuine question asked out of curiosity.

  • $\begingroup$ Don't worry this is a standard question asked in most intro to biology classes. So you will find it welcomed here $\endgroup$ Jul 13, 2018 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ Except that it seems to show a lack of prior research. Google Scholar shows about 1.8 million hits on "CO2 concentration plant growth". $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Jul 13, 2018 at 18:16
  • $\begingroup$ I think it might be helpful if you describe in more detail what you mean by beneficial. Anthropogenic climate change entails more than just increase in CO2 levels, for example drought and ocean acidification. It would be like me eating nothing but cheesecake everyday. Sure it makes me happy and it's an energy source, but there are other factors that can make it an overall unhealthy habit. $\endgroup$
    – Cell
    Jul 14, 2018 at 0:23
  • $\begingroup$ I have made some minor corrections. Note especially 'Krebs', named after Nobel lauriate, Hans A. Krebs, is not a possessive. Krebs is a German singular noun meaning 'crab' (and also 'cancer'). $\endgroup$
    – David
    Jul 15, 2018 at 17:58


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