Monday, October 3, 2016

CO2 Levels Rise Above 400 PPM: You Will Never See Lower Again!

During the last few years, the levels of CO2 at the Mauna Loa Observatory reaches 400 parts per million (ppm) during a porton of the year, but now CO2 levels have risen so high that we have reached an historical milestone:  the concentrations of C02 will not drop below 400 ppm for hundreds of years or more.   In short, we have permanently crossed the 400 ppm "barrier".

CO2 levels are measured at several locations around the world, but the longest record is on top of a volcanic peak in the Hawaiian Island (Mauna Loa).  As you can see from the record there (kept by NOAA), the rise in CO2 has been going on since the last 1950s, when record keeping began there.
 If you look carefully, you will notice the CO2 concentrations have both a long term trend and an annual cycle.   Below is a plot for the last year.   During the warm season from late Spring to early fall, plants grow and take in CO2 for photosynthesis, which reduces CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.   In contrast, CO2 levels tend to rise in the winter as plants die and decompose, releasing CO2 back into the air.
As shown in the figure above, CO2 levels rose to about 408 ppm in May/June and now have dropped to roughly 400.5 ppm.   Since CO2 levels typically start rising again in October, there is little chance of sinking below 400 ppm.  Ever again.

But if you really want to be impressed, here are the CO2 levels for the last 800 thousand years, with the information before 1958 coming from the analysis of the CO2 concentrations of air trapped in ancient ice.  CO2 is higher now than at ANY time in the history of our species.  That gets you thinking.


With all the wind farms and solar collection units being put into service, surely the CO2 increases are slowing, right?   Unfortunately, as show by the figure below, the OPPOSITE is happening, with the rate of CO2 concentrations  increasing faster and faster.    We are not only losing ground, but we are losing ground more quickly.
 Why is this happening?  Because countries such as China have rapidly industrialized and worked hard to improve the lives of their citizens; to do that took a lot of energy, and particularly burning coal.   The figure below shows the story by displaying the CO2 emissions of China, US, Europe, and India.  The US and Europe have actually reduced their carbon emissions.
The rapid growth in CO2 levels has stark implications for global warming....it is going to happen in a major way unless we do something very dramatic.  To paraphrase the Donald:  We have to do something HUGE.

That is why I am supporting Washington State's I732 carbon tax swap, which will put a tax on carbon, but refund all the proceeds to WA State citizens.  I 732 is a bipartisan effort that could spread throughout the U.S.    This will not only reduce the emission of CO2 in the U.S., but will greatly foster the development of energy technologies that could be exported to the rest of the world.    Think of all the technologies that started in our creative country and then were exported abroad.  We can do it again with energy conservation and generation technologies.

Although passing the 400 ppm is nothing to celebrate, it does provide a reason to pause and think about what we have done to our atmosphere and the profound implications such a rapid CO2 rise has for our climate and survival as a species.

Unfortunately, some major environment groups such as the Sierra Club, the Washington Environmental Council,  and The Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, as well as carbon-loving business groups like the Association of Washington Businesses don't seem to understand the seriousness of the current situation.  Hopefully, Washington State voters will understand that the time for playing politics and self-interest are past and will vote for I-732 in large numbers.




51 comments:

Sysiphus said...

This is sad - 500ppm cannot be that far off. We don't really have a dog in this fight here in the PacNW. Other than some disappointing ski seasons, some relatively short-lived dry spells from time to time (and resulting wildfires) and, perhaps, beating ourselves up every once in awhile about not splurging for that AC unit, this probably won't have much of an impact on us. But, it will have a very significant impact on many places in the rest of the world, particularly the lower middle latitudes and the Arctic.

Why can't the Sierra Club and their ilk get a clue and figure out that the current initiative is their best chance of doing something about this? It is really disappointing.

Rob said...

What does the science say? Well, CO2 provides a more stable environment with longer growing seasons, more temperate space for humans to populate, more food to be grown without the need for chemicals, more ocean surface which will allow more rainfall through low depth evaporation... We need to WELCOME more CO2... Remember the ARCTIC was a place of very lush sub tropical areas at one time... For the island nations; don't waste money on global warming research, move up land by 12 inches, allow more shoreside wetlands to flourish increasing habitat and soil stabilization and like they do in the Gulf; throw a hurricane party! ....C..

strix27 said...

Sisyphus, I think your optimism is misguided. Seattle hasn't had a killing frost or snow for several years now. Plants are leafing out or blooming two weeks earlier than a decade ago. Next summer forests that haven't burned the last two years are liable to burn next summer. And how about no ski seasons at all as more precipitation occurs as rain. As a result Yakima irrigators are calling for building multiple dams, costing billions, but some in places where ancient forests would be cut down. You'll notice that the rains have started earlier than usual this year. That's partly due to a warmer North Pacific Ocean creating more atmospheric moisture. We could see more winter-time river flooding. So this may be the last, bet place in the United States but we're still going to see the impact of climate change, and are already.

ryamkajr said...

Yes, let us penalize our businesses and citizens, who are making actual efforts to improve the environment, lower CO2, and improve energy efficiency while not punishing the foreign countries doing the bulk of polluting with tariffs, etc.

Great idea there!!

Chris said...

Wait a minute. Your CO2 over the last 800,000 yrs chart is a bit disingenuous. It's like measuring the temperature on the shady side of the house for 20 yrs and then coming around to the sunny side and saying, "Wow! It got hot really fast in the last day or so!". Please use consistent data in a chart. I have no idea what an ice core sample might show from, say, 10 years ago, but i'm a bit suspicious that measurements taken on the top of a low latitude mountain just 'might' be different in general from some ancient ice at the poles. What you're saying may well be true but that chart is far from decent 'evidence'...

Michael Fagin said...

I really enjoyed your great talk last week on this. Certainly some alarming weather trends.

The Balise Family said...

Thank you Cliff.

Eric Blair said...

Instead of going back 800,000 years, why not go back to two million years:

http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/09/two-million-year-climate-record-sheds-light-on-change-in-ice-ages/

See how this works? If you want to cherry pick one number, someone comes along and goes you one better. Richard Feynman was one my scientific heroes back in the day, and what he said about science in general bears repeating today - "Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry."

Sysiphus said...

@strix27 Where did you get the idea that rains "started earlier than usual" this year? That is simply not true. September was a bit below average if anything (1.05 in vs. 1.50 in norm) and August was way, way below normal (0.17 in vs. 0.88 in norm). Thus far in October (just 3 days) we are, surprise, surprise, below normal, too (0.05 in vs 0.21 in). There is no proof that the "blob" has anything to do with global warming. In fact, the abnormal winds that bring it about are somewhat contrary to what most models are predicting with global warming. Anyways, the blob has eroded away in the past couple weeks and should be gone soon.

AGW proponents tend to blame just about every anomalous weather event on global warming. Doing so dilutes their overall message, which is very much correct. A complex phenomenon cannot be distilled down to a couple of sound bites, but for whatever reason they keep taking the bait and putting simple-minded cause and effect explanations into the media's hands in an attempt to "win the argument" (which they have already won).

Regarding the PacNW, I didn't say we won't have some adverse impacts - it's just that they will not be as serious as in places like the Sahel where a good vs bad rainy season can be the difference between eating or starving. A poor ski season sucks, but you can still fly to Calgary or Utah. Building dams is expensive, although much of that can be mitigated by better water management in agriculture. Wildfires are dangerous and expensive, although a lot of them might occur anyways because we are doing a crappy job of managing our forests. But these are not life-threatening changes.

Bryan Black said...

I will enjoy the few snow events remaining in my life here in the PNW lowlands even more now, given that they will be considerably fewer and far between.

WQR said...

Chris - I thought the same thing but the data at the end of the core samples lines up the the beginning of the air samples and shows a clear, consistent increase of 80 ppm over the last 56 years on top of the 1958 data which was already near a 800,000 year peak.

Russell Cunningham said...

Rob said:

"What does the science say? Well, CO2 provides a more stable environment with longer growing seasons, more temperate space for humans to populate, more food to be grown without the need for chemicals, more ocean surface which will allow more rainfall through low depth evaporation... We need to WELCOME more CO2... Remember the ARCTIC was a place of very lush sub tropical areas at one time... For the island nations; don't waste money on global warming research, move up land by 12 inches, allow more shoreside wetlands to flourish increasing habitat and soil stabilization and like they do in the Gulf; throw a hurricane party! ....C.."

The SCIENCE, good sir, indicates that everything you just said is completely false. Instead of a proliferation of life, we are going to see the onset of a global mass extinction event. We will see a 90-95% loss of all coral reefs in the oceans. We will see increased desertification across the entire globe. We will see the loss of ancient ecosystems as the water from mountain glacier runoff disappears completely. There are just a few of the profound changes.

I suggest Rob, that you kindly and gently, remove your head from your ASS.

Albyn Jones said...

Eric Blair: did you read the article you link to?

Gene Riddell said...

The Donald?

JeffB said...

And yet temperatures have remained nearly constant despite temperature/ model predictions. Especially when we look at how far off all the initial model predictions were during the early climate assessment reports.

Reasonable people conclude that maybe the computer based models are too limited to accurately predict something as vast and chaotic as world climate.

But at least the plants will be happy and we will have more food. One has to stay positive in a sea of doomsday chicken littles.
http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/

Eric Blair said...

Albyn - no, I just posted it for giggles.

Cliff Mass said...

JeffB.....the fact that global temperatures have been relatively stable for a decade does not mean much--that can happen due to natural variability. The models and basic physics are emphatic--increasing CO2 will lead to huge warming as we progress into the century. And it will not be good for agriculture in the subtropics where many people live....cliff

JeffB said...

Cliff,
I do not think the certainty over future warming is justified. Because if temperatures have been stable for the past couple decades with vastly increasing CO2, it is also possible that there is a negative feedback mechanism we do not fully understand, or that natural variability will simply continue. And there is also the possibility that natural variability will actually be a trend towards future glaciation and that we will experience much colder temps offsetting any warming.

But the confidence you have is unjustified. Because If the models are really that good, such that you an say the physics are emphatic, then they would have been able to factor in the natural variability and predict that the past 10 (actually even more) years would be flat for warming even as CO2 rose. But that was not the case.

At some point, theories give way to empirical evidence.

Pasha Stewart said...

Dumb question maybe but if C02 levels are a precursor to runaway temperature increases, how come the earth didn't turn into another Venus or Mercury back when C02 levels were allegedly north of 3000ppm for almost 250 million years?

Bruce Kay said...

JeffB says:

"Reasonable people conclude that maybe the computer based models are too limited to accurately predict something as vast and chaotic as world climate."

Actually, this is false. Reasonable people - that is, people who are governed by reason - can only conclude one thing: they do not possess the skill to judge something they know so little about, in this case either computer modelling or climate science. I do not mean this as an insult, only a substantive observation ( substantive by way of empirical evidence) that people (all of us) are in the habit of drawing conclusions based on what we know....

WITH LITTLE REGARD FOR THE VASTNESS THAT WE DON'T KNOW

This phenomena is what Daniel Kahneman calls WYSIATI (what you see is all there is) and if anyone is even slightly interested in how the climate "debate" is in the grossly dysfunctional state it is, look no further than his Nobel prize winning book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. Thats right, put down all the climate graphs, data and blog opinions that only serve to send the inadequately skilled down assorted rabbit holes, and learn how people (all of us) think. Then , to see how this is all doused in gas and lit on fire, read Jonathan Haidht's book: The Righteous Mind.

Good luck with it, as it likely won't make you any happier! Kahneman is very pessimistic about humanities ability to get their climate act together, and it has nothing to do with civilizations technical ability or availability of resources. He might be right, but that doesn't mean it isn't possible. There is in fact one simple and effective heuristic unskilled people can use to determine "best known": Just ask this one simple question:

What do the experts say?

Unfortunately, this one simple and proven heuristic is anathema to the ideology of the rugged individualist, upon which American mythology is based.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22329820-200-understand-faulty-thinking-to-tackle-climate-change/

Just AboveNOAA said...

Did you-all watch the vice-presidential debates last evening? Probably you didn't; if you had you would've heard Pence several times accuse Kaine of fomenting a "war on coal!" For the sake of swing state votes only, where coal mining is sensibly being quietly phased out, the republicans are insisting on the denial of reality. Science has forever been made the chattel of politics, but it would be far less depressing if that sorry state was scaled by the magnitude of issues involved.

Michael Snyder said...

I would caution anyone saying that we don't have interest in global warming here in the PNW. This will effect us in many other ways other than just bad ski seasons. As other regions suffer, food prices and food availability will suffer, as well as people having to move to new regions. There are many different reasons it will indirectly effect us here. Salmon runs, invasive species, mosquito born disease increasing. Depressing...

Thanks for the updates as always Cliff

Russell Cunningham said...

JeffB said:

"Cliff,
I do not think the certainty over future warming is justified. Because if temperatures have been stable for the past couple decades with vastly increasing CO2, it is also possible that there is a negative feedback mechanism we do not fully understand, or that natural variability will simply continue. And there is also the possibility that natural variability will actually be a trend towards future glaciation and that we will experience much colder temps offsetting any warming.

But the confidence you have is unjustified. Because If the models are really that good, such that you an say the physics are emphatic, then they would have been able to factor in the natural variability and predict that the past 10 (actually even more) years would be flat for warming even as CO2 rose. But that was not the case.

At some point, theories give way to empirical evidence."

Jeff, my question for you is, are you an atmospheric scientist? What experience do you have in the field of statistical methods and weather modeling? For that matter, have you exposed yourself to the peer-reviewed research on ice core and sea sediment data in regard to past climates, and their correlation to atmospheric CO2 concentrations?

There are many, many flaws in your logic, but the most critical flaw, is the fact that you don't seem to understand the concept of buffering:

There is chemical buffering, and then there is physical buffering. Think of this as a global "shock absorber". Just because the Earth hasn't warmed beyond about 1.5 degrees F, does NOT mean that it can't and won't warm upwards of 8-10 degrees F because of anthropogenic emissions. The pollution humans released 40-50 years ago is just now starting to have a warming impact, and the pollution we're releasing now will exert its impact in another 40+ years. The problem is that not only have we continued to release greenhouse gasses, its that the rate of emissions release is accelerating.

Your final comment about theories giving way to empirical evidence is also ignorant and misguided. These "theories" that you are referring to are now predicting weather patterns to an incredible degree of accuracy. The physics on what happens to atmospheric temperatures in response to increasing CO2 et al. greenhouse gasses is extremely well documented, and there is over a century of empirical evidence in support of these concepts.

If continue to listen to people like you, and quite simply do nothing, the Earth will experience profoundly more warming than it is already projected to.

I suggest more education on the matter before you claim expertise, because "how you feel" about a subject is entirely irrelevant. The only thing that matters it the data, and the data clearly indicates that unabated CO2 increases will lead to devastating consequences.

Organic Farmer said...

To me it is clear burning hydrocarbon in the form of fossilized plants that thrived on earth's previous carbon rich atmosphere, will only create a carbon rich atmosphere again, which in turn will be sequestered by plants yet again.

This is not the first time a species has created an extinction event either. Evolution is based on many "booms and busts". As a species I am confident we can survive and thrive in this extinction event. As a society/culture though, I am deeply worried we will kill ourselves off in the pursuit of money and power. Greed, and our desire to come out on top is our biggest threat.

IMHO I732 is not the answer to what threatens the masses of working poor, in Washington, this country and around the world.

Greed will kill us before climate!.

I735... Now that's a good idea! YES




JeffB said...

Bruce,
Clearly you believe yourself to be very knowledgeable with respect to climate change. So please explain why the IPCC said that it was extremely likely, (>95% confidence that we would have one full degree celsius of warming by 2017, but the data shows this has not occurred. The statements from the IPCC were based on 73 models. I do not understand how predictions could be that far off, and for two decades, and yet 95% confident. How can the composite of models be both emphatically accurate (Cliff's word) for the future 20 years, and wrong for the past 20 years? The same models also predict about 1.3 degrees of warming by 2023.

And also please explain exactly how will we get from 1 full degree of warming from where we are today, in less than 10 years, if we did not warm anywhere near that quickly over the last 20 years? Please enlighten us with the physics.

Eric Blair said...

I find it interesting that those who disagree with any commenters here who do not fully agree with their conclusions about atmospheric warming are called the following disparaging terms - "ignorant, "misguided," and so on. This kind of response betrays a lack of confidence in their own assertions, or else they wouldn't have to resort to ad hominem attacks. This article will no doubt make their heads explode, just by cognitive dissonance alone:

http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/3/9/160384




Unknown said...

Jeff, when did the IPCC say, with 95% confidence, that we would have 1 full degree celsius warming by 2017? I don't believe that's true, 2017 is two months from now. Also, to wrap your mind around what's actually happening globally, stop using 1998 as your temperature baseline. No thinking person is really fooled by that trick.

sunsnow12 said...

The "you are not an expert" is an appeal to authority argument that is not remotely valid in a discussion as complex as this.

Empirical evidence does matter. How would anyone in science claim it not? The fact that models and predictions have been wrong is absolutely valid, in fact it is essential to science.

Oh and also, this: "Seattle hasn't had a killing frost or snow for several years now. Plants are leafing out or blooming two weeks earlier than a decade ago. Next summer forests that haven't burned the last two years are liable to burn next summer. And how about no ski seasons at all as more precipitation occurs as rain. As a result Yakima irrigators are calling for building multiple dams, costing billions, but some in places where ancient forests would be cut down. You'll notice that the rains have started earlier than usual this year. That's partly due to a warmer North Pacific Ocean creating more atmospheric moisture. We could see more winter-time river flooding."

Can you please support that with evidence?

We have gone plenty of years without snow here. Killing frosts? How about 25 degrees on January 2nd. But you said the last "several" years, so lets go to February 6, 2014, when the high was 29. (Low was 21). Set a record for lowest high that day by 8 degrees.

Do you know the (lengthy) history of Yakima valley water use and irrigation? It is complicated (and litigated) and has gone on for generations. Do you understand the changes in forest management re: fires that have transpired over time? Did you ski last winter when the snowpack was above average? "Rains have started earlier this year": Seatac Sept 2016 rainfall actual: 1.05"; Avg 1.5" 70% of average.

More importantly, I would like to know why JeffB is attacked for engaging in a civilized debate on this subject when there are comments on the other side of the argument, containing easily provable falsehoods, that go ignored. Why is that?

Bruce Kay said...

Jeff if you had paid close attention to my post, you would not conclude that "clearly you believe yourself to be very knowledgable with respect to climate change".

Look at it again. When I say "all of us" I include myself. Do yourself favour (if you dare) and for a solid week forget all the climate charts and data and go find yourself a copy of Danny Kahneman's book. Or if that is too daunting, try this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YU9djt_CQM

Bruce Kay said...

Sun snow -

Jeff is not being "attacked". Criticism of his conclusions is valid. It would be unethical not to bring this to his attention.

As well, I suggest your own statement of "an appeal to authority argument that is not remotely valid in a discussion as complex as this. " is also incorrect.

When the problem is complex, in this case so complex that professionals with decades of dedicated experience are still uncertain in their predictions, an appeal to authority is a damn sight more reliable than an appeal to anyone else, who is, by definition, incompetent. Common sense applied to uncommon problems is known empirically to be unreliable. When you go in for brain surgery, I really doubt you would start lecturing the surgeon on how to proceed. In that case you would respect and even defer to authority, if you are smart.

Why a very great number of people assume the opposite in terms of climate science is an interesting question. It might be because a gun is not held to their head - there is no immediate consequence so they can safely "play doctor". Unfortunately, the choices these "doctors" make very much influence the gun held to the head of their children and grandchildren, not immediately but off in the future.

"an appeal to authority" is often denigrated as a logical fallacy - an evasion of a logical analysis. This is only valid if all involved in the argument actually have the skill required to argue the points of contention. The vast majority of citizens have no more skill in climate science than they do in brain surgery or anything else outside of their expertise domain. Common sense is not only worthless, it is usually deceptive in uncommon domains.

JeffB said...

I will also point out that I am not personally claiming anything as a scientist, but instead restating what I have read from scientists. I know it might be hard for some to believe that there are scientists who do not agree with the conclusions stated by Bruce, Cliff and others, but that does not make them go away, nor their criticisms and questions, and that's the whole point of science.

Unknown said...

How about a sea level rise of fifteen feet by 2100? Entirely within the realm of possibility, with many experts believing it to be a near certainty. Florida is already experiencing a seal level increase of one inch per year on the Atlanitc coast.

John Franklin said...

Cliff Mass says "global temperatures have been relatively stable for a decade"

But according to NOAA's summary of global temperatures "14 of the 15 highest monthly temperature departures in the record have occurred since February 2015" and "August [2016] globally averaged land surface temperature was 2.32°F above the 20th century average of 56.9°F. This value was the highest August land global temperature in the 1880–2016 record.

https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/

Cliff Mass said...

Unknown..... 15 ft rise by 2100? That is WAY too much. Maybe one tenth that amount-- 1-2 ft in our area...cliff

Aaron said...

Cliff,
Please explain why the models have been wrong for the last 10 to 20 years, and why they should be believed going forward.

"... Because If the models are really that good, such that you an say the physics are emphatic, then they would have been able to factor in the natural variability and predict that the past 10 (actually even more) years would be flat for warming even as CO2 rose. But that was not the case..."

nutso fasst said...

Sea level at Neah Bay has been falling steadily since 1934. Sea level at Port Angeles has been steady since 1975. Sea level at Seattle has been rising steadily since 1899. No sign yet of any change in those trends.

Was there a faster sea level rise at Seattle between the mid 18th century and early 20th, when 800 cubic miles of ice covering Glacier Bay melted into the Pacific Ocean? Sadly, there were no tide gauges to measure it. But the isostatic rebound from that great loss is still occurring at Skagway, where sea level has been falling steadily at 6.9 inches per decade since 1943.

Placeholder said...

I think it's sad that the "progressives" of Washington State want to further reduce the middle class standard of living for absolutely no reason other than to boost their self-esteem. What is it with you people? Why do you need to constantly remind yourselves how "good" you are at the expense of the working middle class who you so obviously hate?

strix27 said...

Reply to Pasha Stewart re why Earth wasn't cooking when CO2 levels were 10X higher than now: 1) beyond a certain point added CO2 cannot retain additional heat, so adding times as much CO@ doesn't cause the temperature to rise ten times, 2) it's the rate of change that matters as much as the total amount. In the middle and late Jurassic the climate was hot and humid but it took millions of years to get there. Life forms adapted and major extinctions occurred as a result of major geological events: e.g., continental lava floods and collisions with asteroids.

iamlucky13 said...

"and the profound implications such a rapid CO2 rise has for our climate and survival as a species."

Cliff, you are generally very reasonable in your assessments of climate change, in particular about events can or can not be attributed to it, and what the regional impacts will be in the Pacific NW.

The phrase "survival of our species," however, is an exception to your normal science-based treatment of the subject. There is no remotely credible model, either from the IPCC or elsewhere, that predicts conditions which would threaten the survival of humanity. We're used to this kind of rhetoric from the likes of Al Gore and Jay Inslee, but I'm more than a little shocked to read it from you.

I respectfully request that you correct your post to accurately reflect the challenges climate change will present to future generations.

Bruce Kay said...

Iam lucky -

If Cliff had framed the statement more precisely, such as " As a species we may survive, but as a civilization it will become ever more doubtful"

would you be satisfied as to its merit?

Remember, while some may well survive, possibly even thrive in relative terms, most will not, including your grandkids who the odds are, will find themselves on the wrong side of the Trump walls that the few islands of good fortune will be building. This last years Syrian refugee crisis is just a mere dress rehearsal. Already, climate refugees are leaving California and migrating north but they are ahead of the game. The vast majority of the coming migration will occur under duress, and they will be coming by the boat load.

If we wait to see "how things turn out" there is a distinct probability that things are not going to work out well, certainly not in the lower latitudes and unless you like the idea of Trump walls, not so great up here either.

There is substantial evidence for this, based in ecological sciences, the term being ecological instability, something modern history has only ever experienced on small, localized and limited scale. Civilization requires ecological stability, which is all that civilization has ever known.

ecologically speaking, this is unprecedented, if you discount major meteorite strikes. The term "catastrophic global warming" is not, as you might think, mere hyperbole. There is substantive science to support it.

JeffB said...

Iamlucky13: ditto. Cliff, that's not a reasonable or scientific statement from someone who is usually both.

strix27 said...

Our goose is cooking, folks. The sky really is falling. If you add energy to a system that energy will do work: heat things up, evaporate and expand water, make physical systems go faster. If you add CO2 to a semi-closed system that CO2 will acidify oceans and lakes, increase erosion and, yes, make some plants grow faster until they're limited by nutrients. The result is that undernourished and starving people, people driven off disappearing islands, people without the means of production, will try to go somewhere better if they can even if it means they may lose their lives in doing so. As a result we've been seeing economic migrations of millions of people. Most wars are resource wars, even those started with religious justifications, and wars cause migrations as well. Social disorder, including wars, on a major scale results

Increasing severity and frequency of meteorologically and climatologically events are already costing billions of dollars annually to repair. At some point rebuilding becomes too expensive and people will move to where people already are. We cannot afford to build dikes around all our coastal cities against rising sea levels and storm surges.

Arable land is disappearing as water is not replenished or becomes polluted. Where will all the crops that used to grow in the California Central Valley be grown instead? In the midwest, displacing soybeans, sugar beets and corn grown for ethanol in gasoline and high-fructose sugar in food? Can dependent industries adapt or will workers start to migrate?

Meanwhile, methane locked in melting permafrost in the Arctic and melting "methane ice" in warming ocean sediments is being released at an increasing rate into the atmosphere, acting as a shorter-lived but more powerful green house gas than CO2. The process will increase exponentially as the atmosphere and oceans warm, reducing what little time we have left to adapt.

It's hard to believe, but the party's over . . . .





Eric Blair said...

To Bruce Kay and strix27 - ok, I'm convinced, were all doomed. So to set an example for the rest of us, will you rid the earth of your pestilent presence? I'm completely serious, if you have the courage of your convictions, put on your big boy pants and man up, RIGHT NOW.

Bruce Kay said...

Eric Blair -

I really have no idea how anyone can jump to the conclusion That the best way to advocate for a deliberate and well resourced effort to arrest the causes of AGW is go commit suicide. I mean, I suppose that is certainly one way to avoid a risk, but I'm sure you'd have a hard time convincing the average motorist on a highway to pursue that line of logic.

You said you were serious. That is my serious reply. Can I interest you in an amusing reply?

iamlucky13 said...

@ Bruce Kay:

"If Cliff had framed the statement more precisely, such as " As a species we may survive, but as a civilization it will become ever more doubtful"

would you be satisfied as to its merit?"


It would only be slightly closer to scientifically justifiable. The Syrian refugee crisis is about war, not climate change. The California refugee crisis (I jokingly call it a crisis, but to be sure, Washington is losing a lot of its appeal as it gets more and more developed) is driven by decades of policies that have driven the cost of living far beyond what is reasonable for the middle class. They are not in either case fleeing the 1 degree change in temperature so far.

The degree of ecological instability forecast does not threaten civilization. Increased storm severity, shifting precipitation patterns, reduced snowpack, etc. are primarily economic problems that pale in comparison to, for example, WWII (especially on an annualized basis, although those costs definitely add up long term). There is additional consideration to be given to the fact that increased temperatures in areas that already experience high temperatures, can affect mortality among those in poor health, as every heat wave in our present world already demonstrates.

Ozoner said...

Why isn't the root cause of anthropogenic CO2 emissions acknowledged-the logrithmic rate of population increase of humans on earth? There's a hockey stick for you. A new movement of Childless by Choice is something marketers should work on.

strix27 said...

Ozoner, I totally agree, only something more direct and faster is needed. Bill Gates could spend a few billion on having condoms and birth control pills included in every aid package.

Bruce Kay said...

Iamlucky -

As you well know, I never claimed any connection of climate with the Syrian War. It should be apparent to anyone that I use it as an example of mass migration under duress, which is an entirely logical outcome of un-restrained AGW.

There are numerous reasons for northward migration from California, one being anxiety about current and forecast climate trends.

Looking ahead, forecasts are inherently uncertain as to precise regional effects but the general trend of the unprecedented ( in the history of human civilization) rapid warming is inherently destabilizing to ecologies. We don't know precisely how that will play out, but global wide ecological instability presents a high risk to systems (civilization) that are constructed upon expectations of ecological stability.

Unknown said...

I can't take an article seriously when it headlines with some unproven sensationalism. "We'll never see lower again!" We're coming up with lots of technology to pull CO2 out of the air. You're going to see an increase in these processes. I like that it has graphs and stats to pour over. That's when I notice a slap in the face of progress. The author thinks that feeding the statist tax machine is actually going to help. I call B.S.

Dennis Nelson said...

So this article in Scientific america seems to contradict you article.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/rise-in-global-carbon-emissions-slows/?WT.mc_id=SA_TW_ENGYSUS_NEWS

strix27 said...

Unknown & Dennis, there is no current or probably future technology for removing CO2 from the atmosphere; it's too expensive and with fossil fuel prices so low, there's no incentive to work on the process. There may be even less since Mr Trumps policies call for less globalization and world-wide trade, especially with China.

But the CO2 currently in the atmosphere will remain for a long time, continuing to increase global temperatures and affecting weather and climate. If the rate of increase in atmospheric CO2 slows down, the oceans will continue to absorb some of it, increasing ocean acidity, which is also already affecting biological processes.