AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Photosynthesis and Climate

With the recent wild fires in Australia, climate change has been on everyone’s mind. According to the US Energy Information Administration, climate change is in part due to the excessive greenhouse gas emissions, 76% of which come from the burning of fossil fuels.

The greenhouse effect is when heat is trapped near the earths surface by greenhouse gases. There are natural green house gases like carbon dioxide from humans which raise the average temperature of the earth from around 0 degrees to 50, yet since we have continuously been burning more and more carbon dioxide through things like burning fossil fuels, the temperature of the earth keeps rising. Luckily, a group of researchers found a way to try to reduce that number.

A group of researchers tried to imitate photosynthesis by taking energy from the sun to generate chemical fuels, and were successful. Photosynthesis is the process that plants use in order to create food, and ultimately energy from the sun. In order to complete this conversion, H2O must be broken down and the hydrogen atoms must attach to carbon. Then eight electrons and four protons must be added to one molecule of carbon. Even with all these steps, the newly developed copper-iron based catalyst is what makes this process actually work. The carbon and iron “hold onto by their carbon and oxygen atoms“, which allows for enough time for hydrogen  to attach to the carbon.

The process would create a significant change in the amount of greenhouse gas emission if done on a large scale. For this to happen, a artificial photosynthesis panel would have to connect to a source of CO2. While this strategy would be financially costly, the reward for our earth would far surpass any monetary value.

To read more about this research and how it can help our earth, click here.

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  1. tayega

    This article is very important melaria. This brings me to the generally recent panic of the fires in the amazon rainforest. The fires created a similar sort of panic that the Australian fires did so maybe the method you proposed here could help on that front too as more and more carbon is released everyday. On this article ( you can see that the Amazon rain forest is a frequent source of burning and just like the Australian fires many animals lose their homes and habitats. Fires such as these are a good baseline for us to know that we must check our selves in order to curb all the gasses that are entering the atmosphere.

  2. devoxyribonucleicacid

    It’s amazing to see how scientists and researches are looking for interesting ways to solve one of the most harmful issues to our world. Artificial Photosynthesis is an astounding creation that I personally never thought would be discovered. I was very curious to see how scientists are looking for more solutions, so I found this article ( on the creation of artificial leaves. In this article, it explains how researchers have turned to leaves to develop a technology that basically replicates photosynthesis. This process could potentially provide clean and renewable fuel for the future. It’s truly amazing to see how we are turning to modern technology to solve issues regarding nature. As it states in the article, we are “building mother nature’s success!”

  3. Bacterina

    In an age where we are able to see the harmful environmental effects of climate change, I think we often feel that it is hard to reverse the effects. So hearing a study such as this provides some hope for a future with lowered carbon emissions. I found your article very intriguing because it illustrates the important role of photosynthesis in combatting CO2 emissions. On the other hand, an article by Annie Sneed from the Scientific American provides another point of view, that CO2 emissions are actually beneficial for plants. Rising amounts of CO2 will “correlates to a greater volume of food production and better quality food.” For more information click on the link below.

  4. angtigen

    I enjoyed your article melaria. Connecting photosynthesis to our climate is very interesting. It’s fascinating to see how research is being done to take artificial photosynthesis and apply it to large-scale, durable modules that use solar energy to convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into other compounds. With this approach it’s possible to reduce carbon emissions in ways like never before. For more information on this you should check out this link,

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