Environment & Science

Climate change field test suggest Earth won't get greener

Foliage and flowers the extremely low waters of Lake Success in the wake of recent storms but rain totals remain insufficient to break the worsening drought on February 11, 2015 near East Porterville, California.
Foliage and flowers the extremely low waters of Lake Success in the wake of recent storms but rain totals remain insufficient to break the worsening drought on February 11, 2015 near East Porterville, California.
David McNew/Getty Images

Scientists have put future global warming to a real-world test. They grew California flowers and grasslands with extra heat, carbon dioxide and nitrogen to mimic a not-so-distant, hotter future — a post-2050 world simulation.

The results from that 17-year experiment on more than 1 million plants are in — and they're not pretty.

Plants like carbon dioxide, the main heat-trapping gas. Some people argue that because of that, climate change isn't so bad and will mean greener Earth.

But the experiment's findings contradict that.

At least in the California ecosystem, plants that received extra carbon dioxide, as well as those that got extra warmth, didn't grow more or get greener.

And, the study author says, they also didn't remove the pollution and store more of it in the soil.