Thoughts On: Climate Change

The climate is changing, it’s not for the better, and it’s man made.

CO2 is a proven green house gas. This is irrefutable. The more green house gases present in an atmosphere, the more solar energy that is trapped, and the more global climate changes. We were all taught this is grade school.

CO2 Levels: Pre-1950

source: https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/carbon-dioxide/

The Earth has a natural cycle of carbon dioxide fluctuations, and it’s amazing consistent; spiking approximately every 100,000-150,000 years. Climatologists use air bubbles trapped in ancient ice to see what the atmosphere and climate were like in the past. Historically, ice ages have a CO2 ppm (part per million) of around 180. Warmer times have a CO2 ppm closer to 300. This fluctuation is normal, and not dangerous to the planet.

CO2 Levels Post-1950

source: https://climate.nasa.gov/climate_resources/24/

What is abnormal is the CO2 levels since 1900 and the introduction of automobiles and coal burning power plants. CO2 levels have NEVER gone above 300ppm in the last 400,000+ years (see the graph above). As of March 2017, CO2 levels have reached 405.6 ppm, over 100ppm higher than recent recorded history (see the graph to the right). CO2 levels have increased 22+ppm in the last 10 years alone.

All this leads me to my next point: the Earth’s temperature is rising. According to NOAA (via the Washington Post), “The latest one-, two-, three-, four- and five year periods — ending in March — rank as the warmest in 122 years of record-keeping for the Lower 48 states.” Climate.gov adds, “global average temperature is now higher than it has been for most of the last 11,300 years.” You’ll notice in the graphic to the right that Earth’s temperature has dramatically and abnormally increased since the industrial revolution. This can be directly matched with the increase in CO2 levels in that same time period.

We must not also overlook the effects of CO2 on the oceans. We learned in school that the oceans play an important roll in stabilizing the environment by absorbing CO2 in the air. According to National Geographic: “relatively new research is finding that the introduction of massive amounts of CO2 into the seas is altering water chemistry and affecting the life cycles of many marine organisms… When carbon dioxide dissolves in this ocean, carbonic acid is formed. This leads to higher acidity, mainly near the surface, which has been proven to inhibit shell growth in marine animals and is suspected as a cause of reproductive disorders in some fish.” They also add: “Over the past 300 million years, ocean pH has been slightly basic, averaging about 8.2. Today, it is around 8.1, a drop of 0.1 pH units, representing a 25-percent increase in acidity over the past two centuries.” If man-man CO2 emissions continue at their current rate, they project that the ocean’s pH may fall by another 0.5 units by the end of this century, reeking havoc on the oceans eco system.

Increased global temperatures will melt polar ice, ruin our ability to grow food and livestock, increase ocean levels, and devastate the oceans delicate ecosystem. It’s not an exaggeration to say that billions of people may die. These are just a few of the examples of how climate change will impact us and generations to come. It’s not #FakeNews, or an Alternative Fact, or a hoax invented by the Chinese. This is real, and this is dangerous.

The current administration wants to significantly slash the EPA, decrease fuel efficiency standards, and de-prioritize clean energy like solar and wind in favor of coal and oil. This cannot happen. We must invest in carbonless energy, increase fuel efficiency, push for electric and hydrogen powered cars, and protect our environment.

Our planet is hanging in the balance, and as of right now, it’s the only one we have.

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