Global carbon dioxide in atmosphere passes milestone level

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by Reader, May 12, 2013.

  1. Reader

    Reader New Member

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    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/may/10/carbon-dioxide-highest-level-greenhouse-gas

    For the first time in human history, the concentration of climate-warming carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has passed the milestone level of 400 parts per million (ppm). The last time so much greenhouse gas was in the air was several million years ago, when the Arctic was ice-free, savannah spread across the Sahara desert and sea level was up to 40 metres higher than today.

    These conditions are expected to return in time, with devastating consequences for civilisation, unless emissions of CO2 from the burning of coal, gas and oil are rapidly curtailed. But despite increasingly severe warnings from scientists and a major economic recession, global emissions have continued to soar unchecked.

    "It is symbolic, a point to pause and think about where we have been and where we are going," said Professor Ralph Keeling, who oversees the measurements on a Hawaian volcano, which were begun by his father in 1958. "It's like turning 50: it's a wake up to what has been building up in front of us all along."................

    "We are creating a prehistoric climate in which human societies will face huge and potentially catastrophic risks," said Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics. "Only by urgently reducing global emissions will we be able to avoid the full consequences of turning back the climate clock by 3 million years.".............

    More at link.......
     
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  3. Reader

    Reader New Member

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    Climate change 'will make hundreds of millions homeless'

    Carbon dioxide levels indicate rise in temperatures that could lead agriculture to fail on entire continents


    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/may/12/climate-change-expert-stern-displacement
     
  4. Gardenlady

    Gardenlady Active Member

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    Have been reading about this over the weekend. Scary. :(
     
  5. mysticrose

    mysticrose The key to change... is to let go of fear

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    This has been being talked about for years what we are doing to ourselves. No one wants to listen, calls it a hype all in the name of greed.
    Ten years from now my daughter will only be 16, my oldest 27 and my middle 23, what kind of life are they going to have ? It pizzs me off to even think about it. We do our part daily, to cut back on driving and energy use but we are only one family.
    Everyone was screaming and yelling about our pres. putting alot of money in to green renewable energy, everyone better wake up quick because this stuff is for real and our kids are going to suffer dearly....................
     
  6. Gardenlady

    Gardenlady Active Member

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  7. Herding Cats

    Herding Cats New Member

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    While I agree with the idea that there is a problem, and that we need to do a lot to forestall/prevent the changes that are coming...I *do* have an argument about if humans are responsible.

    And the article articulates why, perfectly (although I don't believe that was their intent).

    If the readings and science shows that these conditions existed 3 million years ago...as far as I can tell, humans didn't exist then (and if they did, they certainly didn't drive cars and fly planes)...and so this was a completely "natural" occurrence. And if so, then why are humans being blamed for something that has occurred naturally in the past, and indeed fluctuations have been studied that show things are in constant change, and are not human driven?

    I think that we need to make changes - I drive as little as possible, I grow my own veggies and fruit as much as I can, I keep a light touch on the ac and heat...I recycle, I shop local as much as I can, and so on. I've even got those weird light bulbs in all my lights.

    But I am not convinced this is a man-made event...especially when an article used to trumpet change (again, I believe we need it) or screeches doom and gloom to all mankind due to mankind's habits says that these conditions existed independently of any human contribution whatsoever.

    Besides all that...we could go completely green, and China alone would maintain the levels seen recently. Until everyone - and I mean everyone - is on the same page and doing the same thing, we have no chance of turning this around...and I honestly don't see China (or India, or Malaysia, or...or...or...) changing.

    Still, despite my debate as to what may be causing this, I still do what I can, and encourage others to do what they can, as well. It may be a drop in the bucket, but it's *my* drop, and indeed, the entire ocean is made of individual drops...

    Best-
    Herding Cats
     
  8. Reader

    Reader New Member

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    You bring up a good point, Herding Cats, about the comparison to the past climate...it led me to do a little research...lol....(ok, a lot!)

    Found a bunch of articles that were mostly the same, but then this one really explained it well to me, and I am not good at science:

    Hothouse Earth

    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/10/hothouse-earth/kunzig-text/1

    The conclusion as you said is that we still are in a bad fix and need to do something about it. Quote from the article:

     
  9. Herding Cats

    Herding Cats New Member

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    What a great article, thanks sooo much for posting it.

    It's interesting that the scientists don't know exactly what caused the precipitous rise in CO2 56 million years ago (or even the one 3 million years ago). They propose that something occurred that made the ice sheets melt, which released the CO2, which led to the methane release...but they don't know what. That is what I find intriguing...that they don't know what happened. They can just see the effects.

    What I noticed is one or two paragraphs of possible reasons. One reason given is that of huge continental movements, either via volcanoes or massive tectonic plate adjustments (paraphrasing). What I find interesting is that recently, we have experienced some of the most devastating eq's in recent history, along with a number of volcano explosions. While I don't believe that what we've experienced recently is along the same lines as 56 million years ago, I *do* believe that we are seeing some rather large "relocations" of crustal earth, and all the attendant issues therein.

    I think that this, *combined* with the rampant use of fossil fuels, is contributing to a natural cycle that the earth experiences over eons. I also know that the entire universe has "heated up", even to the farthest reaches of known and measurable space (I've read that Mars has warmed up, as well as the other planets...). As far as I know, we've not managed to get there yet, so there has to be some *other* factor(s) in play which contribute to the universal warming trend we're seeing.

    Again, yes, there are things we can do (and should be doing) to reduce our "carbon footprint", but in the end, I don't know how much individual (or even smaller corporations) can do that will affect the changing atmosphere. And again, unless *everyone* joins hands and does it together, it will not be as effective or perhaps even measurable in the end.

    This does NOT mean we shouldn't do it. Of course we should...we need to be very conscious of our effects on the earth. But I am reluctant to say that even if we all changed immediately and together (all = global), that there would be a reasonable response from the atmosphere...especially in light of the fact(s) that there have been previously recorded episodes of CO2 emissions that have, to date, no cause that has been identified.

    (And can I say that I really appreciate reasonable discourse on this topic? It's such a hot button issue for so many folks, and I've been so hesitant to post my thoughts in the past [not just here, but everywhere], but this is a great thread, and I very much appreciate the consideration and, well, reasonable-ness of a decent discussion...thanks!)

    Best-
    Herding Cats
     

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