Early climate change assumptions were off the mark

When Catherine Potvin first came to Panama in the 1980s, climate change science was in its infancy. At the time, a dominant hypothesis was that plants would mop up increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. C02 is the fuel of photosynthesis, so plants would simply grow bigger with more carbon at their disposal.

"It was thought that the problem of climate change would resolve itself because bigger plants would take up all this excess carbon dioxide that humans are putting in the atmosphere," says the STRI associate scientist. "Well, actually, that’s not the case. The results have shown that is not happening."

See scientist profile

Learn More

Asner Wright Hall Muller Winter Potvin
Turner Detto Hubell Rubinoff Davies