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Global warming: Plants absorbing more CO2 than earlier thought

Global climate models may have underestimated the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) being absorbed by plants, finds a latest research. Climate models have failed to take into account that when carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere, plants thrive, become larger, and are able to absorb more CO2, the researchers said.

As part of the carbon cycle, plants utilize light to photosynthesise carbon dioxide, turning it into carbohydrate to grow and releasing oxygen as a waste product.

Researchers at Wyoming University have found that carbon dioxide remains in leaves longer than previously thought, acting as a fertilizer and accelerating plant growth.

The team estimates that climate scientists have underestimated the ability of plants to grow and absorb CO2 by as much as 16 per cent.

The finding might denote that it will be easier to fulfill the target of keeping global warming below 2 degrees since pre-industrial times. Currently, the earth has warmed 0.85?C from 1880.

Originally, it was thought that vegetation on earth currently removes 1 quarter of all human emissions, however the new study indicates it is far higher.

According to Dr. Chris Huntingford, Climate Modeller at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, this new paper indicates plants are slightly better at capturing carbon dioxide than we thought.

A final report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that the world faces severe effects of climate change unless it takes immediate action to restrict global warming by cutting back on burning fossil fuels.

The report has warned that extreme weather in the form of droughts, heat waves and floods are expected to become more common while climate change might even worsen the risk of violent conflicts.

United Nations has set a target of limiting global warming to 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels, however the experts said it seems increasingly likely that target will be missed, leading to more severe impacts.