On Science and Climate .... William Happer Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics, Emeritus Intere | BRY Message Board Posts

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Msg  231327 of 267385  at  1/11/2017 3:58:38 PM  by

amstocks82


On Science and Climate .... William Happer Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics, Emeritus Interesting comments for anyone interested in the topic

Reading the comments or books by various authors, scientists and great thinkers like William Happer always make me feel humbled.
 
 
William Happer's comments are in response to questions and comments from the author at "theBestSchools". An example of one topic covered is listed below...
 
 

TheBestSchools

Now, you go farther than many other critics of the consensus view in stressing, not only that increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations and global warming will be no catastrophe, but that they will even be positively beneficial for humankind.

Please elaborate.

William Happer

We owe our existence to green plants that convert carbon dioxide molecules (CO2) and water molecules (H2O) to carbohydrates, with the aid of sunlight. One oxygen molecule (O2) is released for every molecule of CO2 incorporated into a carbohydrate. Plenty of oxygen is a boon for most animals. But because of the current low levels of CO2, oxygen seriously limits the photosynthetic efficiency of C3 plants, which include all trees and many important agricultural plants.

Land plants get the carbon they need from the CO2 in the air. Most plants draw other essential nutrients — water, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, etc. — from the soil. Just as plants grow better in fertilized, well-watered soils, they also grow better in air with CO2 concentrations several time higher than present values.

The current low CO2 levels have exposed a design flaw, made several billion years ago by Nature when she first evolved the enzyme, Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase, or “RuBisCO” for short. RuBisCO is the most abundant protein in the world, and the foundation of all life. Using the energetic molecules, mainly adenosine triphosphate (ATP), produced with the aid of sunlight, RuBisCO, converts CO2 to the simple carbohydrate molecule, 3-phosphoglyceraldehyde (3-PGA). The biochemical machinery of the plant subsequently reworks the 3-PGA molecules into sugar, starch, amino acids, and all the other chemicals of life. The letter “C” in the nickname RuBisCO stands for “carboxylase” in the full name, which reminds us of RuBisCO’s design target: CO2.

Geological evidence suggests that RuBisCO began to play its key role in photosynthesis some three billion years ago, when there was lots of CO2 and very little O2 in the atmosphere. At current low levels of atmospheric CO2, plants can use up much of the available CO2 in full sunlight. This CO2 depletion spells trouble for the plant. The letter “O” in the nickname RuBisCO stands for “oxygenase” in the full name, which reminds us that an alternate target of RuBisCO is the oxygen molecule: O2. If RuBisCO, charged with chemical energy from ATP, does not quickly find a CO2 molecule, it will settle for an O2 molecule and produce toxic byproducts — for example, hydrogen peroxide — instead of useful carbohydrates. This “photo-oxydation” is a serious problem. At current low CO2 levels and high O2 levels, it leads to a reduction of photosynthetic efficiency by about 25 percent in C3 plants, which include major crops: wheat, rice, soybeans, cotton, and many others. Since 3-PGA, the first molecule synthesized from CO2, has three carbons, such plants are said to have the “C3” photosynthetic pathway.

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231330 Re: On Science and Climate .... William Happer Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics, Emeritus Interesting comments for anyone interested in the topic us2u001 7 1/11/2017 5:18:06 PM


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