Many greenhouse growers rely on CO2 generators to increase harvest yields. Manufacturers say these generators not only increase production but also improve plant quality.

Where plants that grow outside are exposed to just 400 ppm (parts per million) of carbon dioxide, a generator boosts that level to 1,500 ppm, and the results are bigger flowers, earlier flowering, higher fruit yields, stronger stems and reduced bud abortion in roses, among other benefits.

But while growers see CO2 as advantageous, some environmentalists classify carbon dioxide as a pollutant that contributes to global warming and hurts the planet.

There is no confusion, in the scientific community or anywhere else as to what CO2 is and how important it is to our environment and ecosystem. The overwhelming majority of CO2 in the atmosphere is produced naturally by ocean life. It is to plants what oxygen is to humans.

And yet we also hear a lot of talk about how important it is to reduce one’s “carbon footprint,” and the need to reduce greenhouse gases, which have nothing to do with greenhouses but do classify CO2 with many other substances that contribute to global warming (or, to use the current politically correct term, “climate change”).

The real objection here is to the burning of fossil fuels, which does release CO2 into the atmosphere, but also releases a number of harmful pollutants such as sulfur and mercury. The movement to switch from cleaner alternative energy sources is certainly laudable, and anything we can do to cut fossil fuel usage is worth doing.

But those who campaign against greenhouse gases could be a little more careful when classifying CO2 among those harmful substances emitted from factories and gasoline-powered vehicles. Their cause is worthy – but CO2 serves a useful and valuable purpose, and is also a great way for greenhouse growers to get the most from their harvests.

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