Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Warming Wednesdays: watch how CO2 heats the planet


The process needn't seem obscure. This BBC clip shows how it works.

And there is no doubt it is happening. The gray widget in the right hand column shows current global measures of CO2 in the atmosphere in parts per million. As I write this, it reads 396. But last week, the Christian Science Monitor passed on the news that local carbon dioxide concentrations in the Arctic had measured 400 ppm for the first time. Before the industrial age, the measurement would have been about 275 ppm. Scientists say that concentrations above 350 ppm will lead to climate conditions -- global warming -- that will fundamentally change the environment in which our species and all current life evolved.

Reductions of carbon dioxide emissions NOW could help stave off really dramatic effects of warming: droughts, famines, unprecedented storms and many unknowns. Can our cultures rise to the challenge to the life of the species? I'm probably too old to see much of the answer. But we better get on with it if we care about the future.

Despite every other legitimate concern, we cannot ignore that our economic and social system is rapidly making the planet less habitable. So I will be posting "Warming Wednesdays" -- unpleasant reminders of an inconvenient truth.

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