Normally, carbon dioxide exists ideally in the atmosphere at 0.03%. The percentage continues to increase because of combustion and emissions caused by man. Carbon dioxide is essential to plants because they need carbon dioxide to survive.
If carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were reduced to half, these living things would be the first to be affected.
Effects of Decreased Carbon Dioxide
Environmental changeA drastic decrease of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would cause environmental changes. Since carbon dioxide causes global warming, its reduction would cause changes in the temperature of the environment.
The climate would become colder because of the absence of the greenhouse effect, in which humidity or warmth stays in the earth’s environment. The atmosphere becomes more transparent, which would facilitate the escape of heat to space, leaving the atmosphere colder.
These environmental changes would affect every living thing existing in the ecosystem.
Plants would grow extinct
Plants undergo photosynthesis through sunlight and carbon dioxide, so without this important gas, plants would wither and grow extinct.
Even marine plants would be affected. Since plants are major sources of food, there would be scarcity of food for man and animals on land and at sea. The food chain would be disrupted; that could result to a complete reversal of the chain.
Man would then have only animals for food. This scenario would cause various problems to humans because of the major disadvantages of animal meat. Man needs a balanced diet to remain healthy and fit.
If plants grow extinct and animal meat is the only source of food for humans, it would shorten man’s life span.
Oceans would become more acidic
Decreased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would make the ocean become more acidic. This is because bicarbonate, formed from the combination of carbon dioxide and water, is also decreased in concentrations.
Most carbon dioxide gases are dissolved in water to establish equilibrium with the atmosphere, through diffusion.
The ocean helps in eliminating the toxic carbon dioxide produced by combustion. Aside from the above-mentioned major effects caused by reduced carbon dioxide levels, there are minor effects resulting from the major occurrences.
These include: complete freezing of some continents because of cold temperatures, more glaciers formed from bodies of water, and other detrimental results caused by cold temperatures.
Any variation in the carbon dioxide that affects the ecosystem would have an effect on almost everything existing in that system.