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el-barteristo-escorpo, you’d be right to consider this totally unprecedented.

Let me put it this way: we’re entering a new era in Earth’s geological history. Carbon dioxide is now above 400 ppm. It hasn’t been this high ever in recorded history and even then we don’t think it’s been this high in millions of years.

Carbon dioxide is specifically the cause of climate change. When sunlight hits the Earth, the Earth’s surface heats up and re radiates the heat as infrared light. Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide block infrared light which causes the “greenhouse effect” i.e. the Earth heats up without any heat getting to leave.

Once we hit a point where we receive more heat than is able to escape, you hit what’s called a “runaway greenhouse effect”. To get an idea of what happens then get a good telescope. Then look at Venus.

It takes hundreds, if not thousands of years for carbon dioxide to leave the atmosphere which means we’re in it to win it. There’s no turning around now.

Humanity’s concern should no longer be about preventing climate change, we’ve already messed that up. Now it’s time to start preparing ourselves for what we think will happen in the next few decades due to our incredible hubris.

The effects will be large scale and seen everywhere. First the ice caps will continue to melt until they’ve totally rerouted currents which will force the weather to take on radically more extreme and unpredictable patterns.

The sea levels will then rise. As extreme as it sounds, there are cities (think New Orleans during Katrina) that are going to be under sea level and thus conceivably under water.

Due to the difference in weather, climate, average temperature and local ecosystems, food chains will change. Certain animals will face immediate threat. Say adios to any species reliant upon a delicately balanced environment. By this I mean say adios to animals adapted specifically to their exact environment. Polar bears will face endangerment. Everything on the Galapagos. All of the worlds oceans will be different. Animals that migrate with warm currents will adapt or die and we don’t know beforehand which will adapt. Anything that does adapt had better hope the things it eats also adapts or it doesn’t matter if they do adapt.

The cost of minimizing the changes on our lives will be ridiculous. The global economy already walks like a newborn doe and will likely be utterly upturned should the effects grow too extreme too fast (which we kind of just need to cross our fingers and hope doesn’t happen). Consider that historically humans have built cities near the water - now consider that all such places face immediate threat and will need to be either moved or somehow protected. This will cost lots and lots of money.

Consider the places that can’t afford (i.e. all of the Third World) to protect themselves from such a change. Global refugees will hit an all time high.

Climate change is the single greatest threat facing all life on Earth right now. People need to start taking it as seriously as it deserves to be treated.

This may sound like a conspiratorially dark post but we’re no longer talking about “maybe”. To an uncertain degree all of the above is definitely going to happen. That’s not under debate anymore. Not at all.

Any diversity and variety of intensity with regard to climate change effects is up for some debate. What’s not up for debate is that some will happen. Soon. What is not up for debate is that when carbon dioxide goes above 450 parts per million the effects will diversify and intensify. There’s a 100% chance guarantee. No refunds.

It’s also a misconception that people think it’s the fault of fossil-fueled cars. That’s a huge issue yes, but so is the meat industry and coal-powered electricity plants.

We’ve put ourselves and our children in a sorry position. We aren’t likely to start getting real-world answers in regards to questions like:

  • What country is under the biggest threat?
  • Where will the weather be the worst?
  • Are storms going to annually wipe out international cities?
  • What animals are going to go extinct because of us?
  • Will the economy be totally crashed from trying to deal with climate change?

until the right groups get research funding: ceilings need to be shattered in this regard. The same goes for alternate (green and sustainable) energy and the meat industry (specifically red meat).

For some information on what’s happened on the planet already due to man made climate change and what’s likely to happen soon, go to this NASA page on the effects of climate change. I took a screen shot of both diagrams and included them above.

Inexpensive Mini-Greenhouse

You can build this raised garden bed mini-greenhouse to extend your growing season with used railroad ties for the base and some scrap wood and sheet plastic for the cover.

By Robert Ford

The world pumped about 564 million more tons (512 million metric tons) of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009. That’s an increase of 6 percent. That amount of extra pollution eclipses the individual emissions of all but three countries — China, the United States and India, the world’s top producers of greenhouse gases.

It is a “monster” increase that is unheard of, said Gregg Marland, a professor of geology at Appalachian State University, who has helped calculate Department of Energy figures in the past.

— Seth Borenstein, “Biggest jump ever seen in global warming gases,” AP, 4 November 2011

The most dramatic case was the death of 17 cows within one hour from direct exposure to hydraulic fracturing fluid.
— 

Researchers at Cornell University have found anecdotal evidence of a link between fracking and illness in food animals. The technology behind fracking has radically transformed our energy economy. But given the preliminary evidence that fracking can sicken livestock, cause earthquakes and may contribute as much to climate change as diesel and coal, many activists are left to ask: Is it worth it?

Read our full story on the effects of fracking here.

Sure, change happened before humans. But we’re making these changes BIGGER and FASTER.

The world is made of an amazing web of connected processes and organisms. It’s a wonderful system that evolves and adjusts to small changes over time.

But when we as humans are changing and eradicating whole ecosystems and species in such short periods of time, the world’s cycles and processes can’t adjust quickly enough to compensate.

We are contributing to and making fast, large disturbances/changes.

Increases can also be seen in the greenhouse gases since industrialization (contributed to by burning of fossil fuels): see cycles of Carbon dioxide, Nitrogen, Methane, etc. 

Watch on newsfrompoems.tumblr.com

From the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Earth System Research Laboratory, an animated graph of atmospheric carbon dioxide for the past 800,000 years. See also: NOAA’s most recent update of the greenhouse gas index (spoilers: it’s still climbing). 

Human emissions of carbon dioxide will defer the next Ice Age, say scientists.

The last Ice Age ended about 11,500 years ago, and when the next one should begin has not been entirely clear.

Researchers used data on the Earth’s orbit and other things to find the historical warm interglacial period that looks most like the current one.

In the journal Nature Geoscience, they write that the next Ice Age would begin within 1,500 years - but emissions have been so high that it will not.

"At current levels of CO2, even if emissions stopped now we’d probably have a long interglacial duration determined by whatever long-term processes could kick in and bring [atmospheric] CO2 down," said Luke Skinner from Cambridge University.

Dr Skinner’s group - which also included scientists from University College London, the University of Florida and Norway’s Bergen University - calculates that the atmospheric concentration of CO2 would have to fall below about 240 parts per million (ppm) before the glaciation could begin.

The current level is around 390ppm, and other research groups have shown that even if emissions were shut off instantly, concentrations would remain elevated for at least 1,000 years, with enough heat stored in the oceans potentially to cause significant melting of polar ice and sea level rise.

Read more at Link

Greenhouse gas levels rising at fastest rate since 1984

A surge in atmospheric CO2 saw levels of greenhouse gases reach record levels in 2013, according to new figures.

Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere between 2012 and 2013 grew at their fastest rate since 1984.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) says that it highlights the need for a global climate treaty.

But the UK’s energy secretary Ed Davey said that any such agreement might not contain legally binding emissions cuts, as has been previously envisaged.

The WMO’s annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin doesn’t measure emissions from power station smokestacks but instead records how much of the warming gases remain in the atmosphere after the complex interactions that take place between the air, the land and the oceans.

About half of all emissions are taken up by the seas, trees and living things.

According to the bulletin, the globally averaged amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 396 parts per million (ppm) in 2013, an increase of almost 3ppm over the previous year.

"The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that, far from falling, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere actually increased last year at the fastest rate for nearly 30 years," said Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the WMO.

Atmospheric CO2 is now at 142% of the levels in 1750, before the start of the industrial revolution.

Continue Reading.

The global warming potential of a gas (GWP in the accompanying table) is a measure of how much a gas is estimated to contribute to the greenhouse effect. The global warming potential depends on both the efficiency of the molecule as a greenhouse gas and the length of time it remains in the atmosphere. Both factors are summarized in the table, in which CO2 is given an arbitrary value of 1 for the purpose of comparing it with other gases over a period of twenty years. The right-hand column in the table indicates that methane is 72 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than CO2 and nitrous oxide 289 times more powerful….

Carbon dioxide is the principal greenhouse gas villain because it is the gas produced most abundantly by human civilization in the modern era. Human activities produce eight billion tons of CO2 per year compared to the largest natural source, volcanic activity, which accounts for less than a third of a billion tons. During the cold times at the height of the last ice age, the CO2 content of the atmosphere was 180ppm. The concentration has since progressed from 280 ppm in the period preceeding the Industrial Revolution (the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries) to a present-day 390 parts per million—higher than it has been for 650,000 years (based on the study of air bubbles in ice core layers from Greenland). Based on measurements taken at the top of Mauna Loa in Hawaii, the rate of increase of CO2 is accelerating and now stands at about 2 parts per million per year.

Global Climate Change: A Primer, by Orrin H. Pilkey and Keith C. Pilkey, with batik illustrations by Mary Edna Fraser (2011), pp. 4-5.

"The Orbit Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO2) is Nasa’s first Earth-orbiting satellite dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide from space.

In 2013, concentrations of carbon in the atmosphere surpassed 400 parts per million for the first time in human history.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide is at its highest level in human history and is changing our climate before our eyes. NASA’s new Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 space satellite will probe the carbon cycle like never before, telling us where the carbon is going and giving us clues as to where we will end up.”

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