C4 Plants, Climate Change, GMOs and Politics

C4 Plants: Aerial View of Sugarcanes
C4 plants, sugarcane, as seen from the air in Mauritius, Africa, 2011:0625. Photo: Hansueli Krapf (CC BY-SA 3.0)

C4 plants are a relatively new breed in the history of life on this planet. The fact that a great number of species evolved into C4 varieties gives us a prominent example of convergent evolution—like old world and new world cacti. Different species had similar ideas for evolution.

What are C4 plants? They are plants that have evolved a more efficient method of acquiring CO2 and converting it into food. C4 plants have an advantage over C3 plants in that they can acquire CO2 more efficiently without losing as much water.

I’m no plant biologist, but I love to learn more about such things. I have learned, for instance, that C4 plants evolved some time about 25–32 million years ago, during the Oligocene Epoch, when CO2 levels had been dropping steadily for millions of years since a relative peak at the boundary between the Jurassic and Cretaceous geological periods, about 146 million years ago. That’s 114 million years of carbon dioxide sequestration by plants and other processes before C4 seemed like a good idea.

Why would plants evolve this way? Well, there seem to be two key forces involved:

  • A growing scarcity of carbon dioxide, and
  • A growing scarcity of water.

The slide toward CO2 scarcity occurred for nearly 144 million years, up to the start of the current Ice Age. Plants around the world felt the need to get their carbon dioxide more efficiently. I suspect that C4 plants may have evolved along the edges of deserts, where C3 plants were stressed by both a growing lack of CO2 and relatively scarce water.

The other contributing factor needs a little explanation for those who are not familiar with physical processes in nature and particularly in climate. Since the Eocene hot spot, about 50 million years ago, temperatures had fallen more or less steadily until the end of the Oligocene. Falling temperatures mean less evaporation from the oceans and less water vapor available for rain. Less rain, of course, means less water for plants.

C4 Plants: Rain Over Phoenix, AZ
Even C4 plants need some rain. Here rain falls down on Phoenix, Arizona. Photo: Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Ironically, today’s climate change scam tries to convince people that we get less rain from global warming; but the opposite is true. We would never get rain from cold oceans. This should be obvious to anyone who has seen water being heated and steam coming off of it. We would get maximum rain from hot oceans. Yet, we don’t have to go that far to turn Earth into the most garden-like world possible. Only 10–20 °C of warming would give us the optimal temperature worldwide for the smallest deserts. Most of this warmth would go to the poles. In fact, one scientist’s graph of the Eocene showed that the equator may actually cool a bit, making the pole to equator gradient even more flat.

One huge side benefit from such a flat temperature gradient is the decreased tendency for wind to blow. Some people have the erroneous idea that heat causes wind (hurricanes and tornadoes), but they’re wrong. Temperature difference is what causes air movement, all other things being equal. Venus, for instance, has lots of heat, but zero wind, because there is zero temperature difference between poles and equator for that world.

Comparing C4 Plants to C3 in Modern CO2 Increase

C4 Plants: This is C3 Pampas Grass
Cortaderia selloana (C3 pampas grass). Photo: Kurt Strueber (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Our modern increases of CO2 are greening the Earth. Why? More CO2 means plants can thrive on less water. So, more plants are growing in marginal conditions at the edges of the world’s deserts. C4 plants have an even greater advantage in this area.

But C4 plants have evolved to take advantage of CO2 scarcity. As CO2 levels increase, C3 plants seem to benefit far more than C4 plants.

In one study comparing C3 Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) to C4 big bluestem grass (Andropogon gerardii), scientists found that, for a doubling of CO2, water requirements for the C4 plants were reduced by 41.6% and for C3 plants were reduced by 158%.

In correspondence with one NASA scientist, I learned that some scientists had discovered detrimental effects on wheat (a C3 plant) from increases in CO2. What was unclear was whether or not they had tested regular wheat or GMO wheat.

C4 Plants Made From C3 Stock—GMOs to Fight ‘Climate Change’

C4 Plants: Terrace Field
Rice terraces in Yunnan, China. If some scientists get their way, all kinds of rice might become C4 plants. Photo: Jialiang Gao (CC BY-SA 3.0)

I don’t usually like to use the term “climate change” in this manner. This is merely how some writers have chosen to couch the topic.

Udo Gowik and Peter Westhoff , for instance, wrote a paper called, “The Path from C3 to C4 Photosynthesis.” In that article, they discuss the genetic hurdles involved in converting C3 rice into a genetically modified C4 species.

The writers of Wikipedia claim, “Increasing the proportion of C4 plants on earth could assist biosequestration of CO2 and represent an important climate change avoidance strategy.”

What many in the “climate change” warming alarmist camp seem to ignore is that we currently live in CO2 scarcity from which nature was smart enough to have evolved C4 plants in order to deal with that shortage.

GMO C4 Plants — New Monsters?

I have to admit, modifying plants in this way does sound pretty cool. But the track record of corporations, so far, is pretty dismal.

Ironically, geneticists are diving into GMOs with such wild abandon that they don’t seem realize the potential dangers. Big corporations have plenty of money for PR campaigns, including Black PR and “astroturf roots” movements (fake grass roots).

If you step back and really think about corporations for a moment, you’ll realize that they are built for one thing and one thing only: Profits! They will produce “good” products only to the degree that profits are involved. They will decrease the “good” in products in order to maximize the profits. This should be obvious to anyone who has studied the behavior of corporations for the last century or more. Corporations continue to commit heinous crimes, destroy lives, commit reckless endangerment leading to millions of deaths, and no one goes to jail. They pay hundreds of millions in fines, but make tens of billions in profits. For them, the crimes are good, because they lead to more profits.

When GMOs first came out, Monsanto tested their product for 3 months and called it “safe.” Then, they approached the FDA (America’s Food and Drug Administration) for approval. The scientists there cautioned that such material needed far more testing before releasing into Mother Nature, but the execs ignored the warnings. Why would FDA execs do that? Could it be because they used to work for Monsanto?

C4 Plants: Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini
Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini, research scientist (2013:09). Photo: Thomas Jouanneau (CC BY-SA 3.0) cropped.

Independent researchers decided to test GMO crops for longer periods. The Gilles-Eric Séralini team studied GMOs and mice for two years—eight times as long as Monsanto’s test. Monsanto scientists found some cause for concern, but stated that it was insignificant. At four months, the Séralini team found significant health problems. After twelve months—roughly equivalent to human age of forty—they found alarming levels of cancer and other health problems compared to their control group.

Monsanto reacted, naturally. This was their flagship and Séralini had torpedoed it. A year later, the Séralini paper, and one other critical of Monsanto, were retracted. The reason? None of the standard reasons for retraction. Elsevier came up with a new reason—inconclusive results. But isn’t that what other scientists are for—to comment on such findings? Retraction was not a scientific action, but an economic one. Later, it was learned that Richard Goodman, a former exec at Monsanto had gone to work at Elsevier as an assistant editor. Conflict of interest? And months later, the Séralini paper was republished after far more stringent peer review. Vindicated, Séralini continues his research into the dangers of GMOs.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love science. But I steam under the collar when it comes to fraud, corruption, or the abuse of science.

How much study is required to prove something is safe for the environment? Certainly several lifetimes of a species such as mice. When you’re introducing something entirely new into the world-at-large, to depend only on a 3-month study by the manufacturer themselves, is tantamount to a High Crime against humanity. There are so many unknowns, anything less than a decade of study remains naive at best, and more likely criminal, because of the vested interests involved.

Because CO2 is good—a vital gas of life—which has remained in scarcity mode for several million years, ever since the evolution of C4 plants, the notion of CO2 biosequestration is worse than nonsense. That’s like taxing the poor 95% because they don’t contribute enough to society. Dumb!

Would C4 rice become an obsolete idea with greater increases in CO2 and better performing C3 plants?

C4 Politics and GMO Madness

C4 Plants: Heidi and Ted Cruz
Heidi and Ted Cruz (2015:0331), in Houston. If Cruz gets his way, we may have GMO C4 plants for crops. MaverickLittle (CC BY-SA 4.0)

For many months, one of my favorite politicians was Ted Cruz. He seemed to say all the right things about the Second Amendment and climate science.

Then, I learned that his wife worked for Goldman Sachs. This was an immediate red flag, because so many on Wall Street are guilty of High Crimes against the world for their contribution to the Housing Bubble of 2008. Rampant and unrepentant greed at the expense of millions of other people, including blatant fraud and other crimes which were never punished because someone said, “they’re too big to fail.”

Iceland handled their criminal bankers far more differently and their economy is thriving despite the doomsayers. Iceland jailed their criminal bankers. Good for them.

Ted Cruz is not his wife. Maybe he could be a good guy, after all.

But then I read an article where Cruz defended GMOs and called anyone who voiced GMO concerns to be “anti-science.”

On the one hand, Cruz is accused of being anti-science, because of his level-headed views on climate. And then Cruz calls others “anti-science” for their concerns about GMOs. Hypocrite? Perhaps not. Perhaps this merely reveals his true allegiance—to corporate America, rather than to the citizens of the country he is supposed to serve.

C4 Plants: Enviromentalists Patrick Moore
Patrick Moore (environmentalist). If Moore gets his way, GMOs could produce C4 plants from formerly C3 stock. Photo: TEDx Vancouver (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Another mouthpiece of what I call the Corporate Party is one of the founders and a former president of Greenpeace—Patrick Moore. After leaving Greenpeace, because it had become too radical and anti-human, he became a valiant champion for climate sanity, debunking many of the crazy ideas of the Biggest Oil Rockefeller “climate change” scam.

However, he infamously pushes GMOs, and found himself on one French talk show guaranteeing that glyphosate—the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup product—used on GMO crops, was perfectly safe for humans—safe enough to drink. He then refused an offer to drink glyphosate and stormed off the set when the host persisted in the offer. Oops! He became an instant laughing stock of the internet.

Not everyone in the climate debate is being entirely honest—and that goes for both sides.

Big Oil seems to be funding both sides of the climate debate. Why? Because this allows the globalists—who are pushing GMOs, mandatory vaccinations and global cooling—to control the direction of the debate. I’m afraid I’m not a friend to either side. I’m a friend to humanity and not the globalists (a claim I hope I can prove to you over time). So, I guess I won’t be getting that fat check from Exxon,… or the Rockefellers.

This article was originally published 2016:0330 on GlobalWarmth.org.

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