Saturday, November 11, 2006

Tipping Point?

Interesting follow up in light my recent post below that partially discussed James Lovelock's prediction that the Earth is reaching a carbon tipping point of sorts much faster than previously anticipated.

From the Independent:

The growth in global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels over the past five years was four times greater than for the preceding 10 years, according to a study that exposes critical flaws in the attempts to avert damaging climate change.

Data on carbon dioxide emissions shows that the global growth rate was 3.2 per cent in the five years to 2005 compared with 0.8 per cent from 1990 to 1999, despite efforts to reduce carbon pollution through the Kyoto agreement.

Also - interesting follow-on to point number 6 in previous post.
Much of the increase is probably due to the expansion of the Chinese economy, which has relied heavily on burning coal and other fossil fuels for its energy.
And just in case you need historical context in order to not sleep tonight.
Based on current trends, carbon dioxide concentrations are likely to increase to 500ppm this century. The last time the planet experienced levels as high as 500ppm was about 20 or 40 million years ago, when sea levels were 100 metres higher than today.
I'm reminded of a line from a recent gawdawful Wall Street Journal op-ed. They had a slightly different perspective...minor, almost semantics really...
The second point is that the Stern report barely mentions the potential benefits from warming in the world's cold-weather regions. Al Gore and others warn about the damage from coastal flooding and changing weather patterns, among other horror scenarios. But the world is large and its climate diverse, and a longer growing season in Siberia or Canada is at least one possible benefit of warming.

No comments: