Climate Change
May 15, 2019

As Climate Alarms Continue to Sound, Some Governments Prefer to Move Slow and Break Things

Like some unprecedented mass shooting, it’s the kind of record-breaking news one tends to think twice about discussing at the breakfast table.

As reported by Popular Science, among many other media outlets, late last week the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii measured carbon levels in the atmosphere at 415 parts per million. That’s more than 100 ppm higher than any point in almost 1 million years’ worth of atmospheric data available.

For nearly a million years, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have maintained an average of about 280 ppm, not going above 300 ppm or below 160 ppm…the latest human-caused warming event is occurring over just a couple of centuries, which is so quick in comparison that the trend line appears vertical as it approaches today.

Do we actually still need to wonder why this is happening?

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Really, today’s news is no surprise at all:

Global concentrations of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere surpassed 400 parts per million this past spring for the first time, breaching a symbolic barrier set by climate scientists and policy makers, according to a report released Monday. …
“There is nothing magic about 400, it’s nothing better than 399 or 401,” said Oksana Tarasova, chief of the W.M.O.’s Atmospheric Environment Research Division. “This is like our obligation to ourselves, we’d like to not go over 400. It’s symbolic.” She said that surpassing the threshold “only shows that our commitments are not there.”

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So we can argue about a symbolic number.  But not this one:

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Nor, likely, this:

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Which means that a Gulf city like this – Dubai – has a realistic lifespan of  … what?  Less than a century.

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