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Researchers discover that the planet’s forests could absorb more CO₂ than previously thought

Scientists unveil new mechanisms of photosynthesis that enhance the role of vegetation in combating climate change

Research published in Science Advances paints an unusually optimistic picture for the planet and the evolution of global warming. That’s because new, more realistic ecological models suggest that plants can actually absorb more atmospheric CO₂ than initially assumed. Despite this finding, the environmental scientists who authored the research are quick to stress that this should in no way be interpreted to mean that the world’s governments can take their foot off the accelerator to reduce carbon emissions as quickly as possible. Planting more trees and protecting existing vegetation is not a silver bullet, but research does confirm the multiple benefits of conserving such vegetation. “Plants absorb a considerable amount of carbon dioxide (CO₂) every year, which curbs the detrimental effects of climate change, but so far it is not known to what extent they will continue to absorb CO₂ in the future,” explains Jürgen Knauer, who led the research team led by the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at the University of Western Sydney in Australia.

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