Are plants slowing the rise of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere?

After steadily rising for decades, the rate at which carbon dioxide is increasing in the atmosphere remained at a steady 1.9 parts per million each year between 2002 and 2014.

A study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications attempted to figure out why the rate of CO2 increase had plateaued, concluding that this occurred because Earth’s terrestrial vegetation has been absorbing more CO2 from the atmosphere than in previous decades. The mitigating effects of trees and other plants cannot keep pace with the anthropogenic climate change and the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is still rising, but more slowly than previously thought.

“This highlights the need to identify and protect ecosystems where the carbon sink is growing rapidly,” Trevor Keenan, a research scientist in Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Climate and Ecosystems Science division and lead author of the study, said in a statement. READ MORE.