There’s No Turning Back

9 02 2009

CLIMATE CHANGE IS IRREVERSIBLE! According to a report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, effects caused by the current amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will be present for the next 1,000 years. Even if CO2 emissions were completely halted, immediately, the greenhouse warming effects would still be apparent until the year 3000.

Susan Solomon of the University of Colorado presented this report on Jan. 27, 2008. She said the heat caused by excessive CO2 is absorbed by the oceans, but over the next 1,000 years that captured heat will be released into the air, prolonging the warming process.

Carbon dioxide, carbon cycle, emissions

Carbon Cycle

So this case study could be used as fodder for oil and car companies; urging consumers to go ahead and pollute because “what’s done is done.” But Solomon does not see it that way.

“I guess if it’s irreversible, to me it seems all the more reason you might want to do something about it,” she says. “Because committing to something that you can’t back out of seems to me like a step that you’d want to take even more carefully than something you thought you could reverse.”

While we cannot change these “irreversible” effects for the better, we do have the power to accelerate and worsen them.

In her report, Solomon projected dust-bowl-like conditions if the amount of CO2 reached 450-600 parts per million. Today the CO2 concentration is about 385 parts per million. A recent global climate treaty cited 450 parts per million to appear in the year 2100.

Also, other greenhouse gases do not linger in the atmosphere as long as CO2 does, so it is possible to reverse the effects caused by excessive methane, nitrous oxide and human-made gases.

Greenhouse Gases

Greenhouse Gases

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3 responses

10 02 2009
Rick Hancock

Excellent, excellent, excellent! Did I mention I liked your post?

25 02 2009
Carbon Offsetting… « Green Watch

[…] is a myth. The damage we’ve caused to our atmosphere by emitting CO2 is irreversible. Climate change is here to stay. The Reality of Carbon […]

8 03 2009
Clothcap

Sure, CO2 is not a pollutant by any standard except political. It is a trace gas essential for life. More of it means more life, i.e. more biomass especially trees (+1% approx. every 3 years). Less means exactly the reverse. With the population set to increase by ~50% by mid century, we need all the extra biomass we can get. Biomass appreciates a bit of extra warmth too not least because it rains more when it is warm.
CO2 has around 1 deg C warming capability left no matter how much we add due to the (lack of) availability of infrared, unless talking in terms of many 1000s ppm.
CO2 has an aerial lifetime of ~5 years.
Water vapour is the main GHG with around 30 – 40,000 ppm contrasted with CO2 around 375ppm (not well mixed).
If lies made noses grow, many in the IPCC, EU and most media outlets would be immobilised by them.
Science can’t even tell us what the volume of emissions or their effects from the tropical rainforests with regard to either CO2 or water vapour, why should we believe biased opinions based on guesswork and wishing? And notably, in recent times and in the 1940s-70s, CO2 and temperature had opposite signs. Some correlation.
When are we going to see some truth in the media?
It seems the Sun is the biggest climate influencer and now it has cooled and moved away due to gyre, we are cooling too. There is no heat in the pipeline either according to Pielke Snr, March 5 2009 – http://climatesci.org so the 20 – 30 year cooling looks to be on track. Tax refunds?

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