Stifling pollution has its benefits. Yes, that's a research finding from China. Plant life is more luxuriant in Beijing, one of the most polluted cities in the world.
The city's almost perennial and pestilential smog helps trees grow more quickly, the study finds. The vegetation thrives more robustly than under clear blue skies, the researchers have underlined.
Now, you might ask if this study was funded by the Chinese government. Yes, that's also true. The fabulous findings have been made by a government-backed study, the South China Morning Post has reported.
The interesting study was published in the journal Global Change Biology. The researchers analysed the growth rates of certain species of plants during 2012-2015, a time when the Chinese capital was reeling under the severest smog spell in history.
Tarry, now, don't rush to conclude that the next from China will be a government-funded report that finds that people love the suppression of human rights.
This climate analysis has some science to back it up. "Aerosol particles can increase the efficiency of photosynthesis by diffusing light, as observations over the past 30 years have showed," a doctoral student part of the study told the SCMP.
While the minute aerosol particles from soot and dust are harmful to the humans and cause the smog and pollution, they have a positive impact on plant life, the researchers say.
So, in effect, will the fight against pollution adversely affect the fight against climate change? The ridiculously simple answer, according to the Chinese, is YES. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and they help fight climate change. But the funny catch, as if it were, is that the growth will be stunted when there's less pollution.
"It suggests an even more challenging task in coping with climate change while fighting against air pollution in the future ... This is because trees that absorb major greenhouse gas carbon dioxide will grow slower than they did once the aerosol concentration decreases," said Liu Lingli, the study's lead researcher from the Institute of Botany at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.