February 23, 2007

Other environmental effects of carbon dioxide

I wrote in a comment in Prometheus:
[C]arbon emissions affect other environmental processes besides climate. Carbon dioxide levels affect the relative competitiveness of different plant species (e.g. C3 vs. C4 plants), the interactions between animals and plants, natural decomposition, or ion balance in the seas. Thus, carbon emissions may contribute to the extinction of some species, to unwanted changes in natural landscapes, and to losses of some ecosystem services, even if they did not affect climate. I don't [know] whether anyone has attempted to quantify the economic value of these losses.
Jim Clarke rightly corrected me:
I can not argue with your statements. While they are true, so is the following:

Thus, carbon emissions may contribute to increased diversity in some environments, to desired changes in natural landscapes, and to gains of some ecosystem services, even if they did not affect climate. I don't know whether anyone has attempted to quantify the economic value of these benefits.

1 comment:

  1. You both have arrived to the central controversy: "wanted and unwanted". You may be right and he may be right as well. What's for sure it's that the World we see today is changing. Well, Could we have ever expected it not to change?. Darwin told us once that Nature was not immutable but in continuous evolution, and, of course, attempted against the prevailing Victorians principles of the time saying that. Shouldn't we start admitting that Nature is about to change at some point, and consequently another socio-political reality will appear, and that we, Victorian, must be opposed to that just because we don't want reality to change?.

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