World Needs to Aim for Near-Zero Carbon Emissions

If we really want to combat climate change, how much carbon can we reasonably generate? How much will still push temperatures up? The current presidential candidates are all calling for serious carbon reductions over the next 40 years, but according to researchers at the Carnegie Institution for Science, it’s not enough. To really stabilize our planet’s climate, we need to get away from carbon forever.

In a recent article, published in latest issue of Geophysical Research Letters, climate scientists used a detailed Earth system model to simulate what might happen to the Earth’s climate at various levels of carbon emissions.

What’s the most carbon you can generate and not warm the planet?

“Most scientific and policy discussions about avoiding climate change have centered on what emissions would be needed to stabilize greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” said Ken Caldeira. “But stabilizing greenhouse gases does not equate to a stable climate. We studied what emissions would be needed to stabilize climate in the foreseeable future.”

They ran various scenarios through the climate model, each time reducing the amount of carbon emissions. Even at the lowest levels, there was an increment of warming. In other words, until humans generate next to zero carbon emissions, there will be increased warming. There’s no amount that the planet can absorb on a regular basis.

Once the carbon emissions in the simulation hit zero, the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere finally started to drop, getting absorbed into various carbon sinks such as the oceans and land vegetation. Even so, global temperatures remained high for at least 500 years after the end of carbon emissions.

The big worry are the climate tipping points. These are temperatures that might cause runaway processes that can’t be stopped, such as the melting of the Arctic sea ice. If the world hits some point of severe climate instability, people might need to cut their carbon emissions to the absolute minimum.

And according to this research, that’s essentially zero.

Although eliminating carbon dioxide emissions seems like a radical idea, the researchers see it as a reasonable goal.

“It is just not that hard to solve the technological challenges. We can develop and deploy wind turbines, electric cars, and so on, and live well without damaging the environment. The future can be better than the present, but we have to take steps to start kicking the CO2 habit now, so we won’t need to go cold turkey later.”

Original Source: CIS News Release

61 Replies to “World Needs to Aim for Near-Zero Carbon Emissions”

  1. I think this article just blew the top off the Chicken Little meter… But assuming that environmental alarmists are serious about giving up “the CO2 habit” (which, between wood, coal, and oil, has been the basis for human energy needs since the dawn of civilization) will they convince the left-wing elites to drop their objections to nuclear power, and massive unsightly wind farms off the coast of Cape Cod?

  2. Funny that it’s always those “left-wing elites” who are blocking the chances of real climate rescuing reforms. Last I heard barely anyone on the political right will even more than grudgingly agree that anything has to be done, at best. John McCain risks being ostracized by Republicans because he’s willing to take the problem of global warming seriously. All I have ever heard from your side is denial, avoidance, and deflection.

    Tell you what, you get all the rightists just to agree that something needs to be done before it’s too late and we’ll see that our own foot-draggers come into line. Deal?

  3. Every breath I take…We are all carbon emitters. Also, I have always wondered how much CO2 is emitted from every soda pop can? How is soda pop CO2 created? What about beer? Maybe we need a way to mine CO2 or heat from the atmosphere. Just thinking out loud.

  4. What are effects of removing radioactive isotopes from the earths crust? We live off minerals from rocks, whether via microbial degradation, weathering or radioactive decay. Radiation plays a major part in lithosphere evolution not only on terra firma, but on many planets we’re prone to cast our gaze upon.
    Whoever villified wind power? I adore the sight of windmills, turbines, windsox, kites, boomerangs or evencelestial wind carillons!
    How about Iceland as a paradigm: hydro, geothermal, wind & <1% fossil*

  5. Great, add Universe Today to the list of media jumping headlong into realm of junk-science. Can’t even read an article about gamma ray bursts or black holes without them slipping in some garbage reference to global warming. Al Gore and his merry band of enviro-socialists must be loving life.

    When did Universe Today become a political website?

  6. Among the greatest carbon emitters on the planet are living organisms of all kinds. Those that use oxygen breathe out CO2 — and even plants use oxygen at night to process the sugars they’ve stored up during the day, breathing out CO2 as exhaust. Then there are all those coal mine fires burning out of control here and in several other countries — nobody talks about putting them out, but they *should* be put out, as qucikly as possible, preferably using recycled waste water from cities and perhaps desalinized sewater. We could use safe modern safe nuclear reactors, which emit no carbon, for all our power needs — but the Greens veto that, even though it’s the only feasible solution. So what do we do, kill off all life on Earth to get rid of carbon emissions? That would do it — but it’s a rather more draconian solution than even the radical Greens would be willing to implement. Time for a rethink, folks . . .

  7. That’s just the problem, isn’t it bill. that people still consider this a political issue, and not one of our species’ survival.. you think the resource wars we’re fighting now in the mideast are bad, think about what it will be like when we actually need those resources for survival.. dark ages, here we come.

    wake up and smell the.. well, CO2.. but you cant smell that, so yeah, smell this! *farts* (…oops, that was a greenhouse gas too)

  8. One other thing, Manking WILL NOT exist without CO2 emissions!!!! Fossil fuels IS the existance of this world today, and it will not change. If it goes away, so do we! To think we can get rid of fossil fuels with turbines, corn and sun, is quite rediculous and close minded, if not just plain stupid.

  9. I guess people will finally learn when the ice caps are gone in 50 years.

    “Ignore it and it will go away” doesn’t work anymore.

    Surely you don’t pretend that smog doesn’t exist either, do you?

  10. Solar power, maybe great for the USA, Australia, Africa, if you don’t mind the cost. The rest of the world? Oh, they don’t need it do they since they are already largely nuclear.

  11. Those who want to be read will refrain from ad hominem attacks. The effect of name-calling is an immediate jump to the next response. I’m surprised Frasier keeps the nonsense.

  12. The Ice Caps have been gone before and Man had Zip Zero Zilch Nada…
    to do with it..

    And the farce that is Global Warming IS only politics.. and it is a religion as well…

    It is rather pompous to believe you CAN change the world, but that is what the flower children on the left want to force everyone to believe..

    I am actually amazed this article was put forth on Universe Today since it shows that there is not squat you can do, no matter how much money you pour on the issue.. Why??? Man did have squat to do with the problem!!!.. Why?? Because there is no problem, except that people who would listen to Algore…

    There have been five major Ice Ages (defined as there being Glacial Ice on the planet, WHICH IS NOT A NORMAL STATE..) and they all started without Man.. What caused the Cooling??

    What about the Glaciers that melted and formed Yosemite??

    What about the Glaciers that were in Missouri 16,000 years ago???

    Face it.. there is only one fact in this whole deal.. We are coming out of an Ice Age..
    Why?? The Sun and the orbital parameters of the Earth..

    The rest is Poppycock!

  13. All the global warming advocates use the phrase “WE are the cause of global warming”. Oh, the guilt.

    I don’t believe any of it. The meterorologist that started the Weather Channel stated last week that there is no proof of global warming, and he’s studied weather all his life.

    At the NCRAL convention in 2005 amateur astronomer and top notch imager Don Parker stated that Mars is warming because of the increasing frequency in its global dust storms.

    If there is warming going on at all, I’m inclined towards a solar cause.

    Cutting carbon emissions to zero is NEVER going to happen so quit dreaming.

  14. Bolton, I would suggest you actually make an effort to look at the climate literature (realclimate is a good entry point to a wide range of published articles). Carbon isotope ratios in biomass, oceans and the atmosphere provide clear evidence that the increase in atmospheric CO2 during the 20th and 21st centuries is not only mostly attributable to humans, we’re responsible for virtually all of it. Once you add the CO2 to the atmosphere, you need only look to well established physics to reach the perfectly reasonable conclusion that humans are mostly responsible for the increasing trend in global temperature. (So that’s TWO bits of evidence right there)

    >How did the ice age end?

    Which one? There are known mechanisms for the ends to various ice ages based on natural factors that AREN’T PRESENT TODAY – eg solar output and orbital variations. Climate scientists are well aware of past natural explanations for climate variations, and they’ve ruled out natural causes as a major factor for the current warming.

    >And who says that the current temp is … perfect?

    We’ve built our civilization around the ‘current’ climate; seriously, artificially changing it is unlikely to be in our best interests.

  15. I see such irrational responses all the time. You read something harder to get than 2+2=4 and instead of asking why it is accepted being 4, they are more interested to find political views of people doing the math and degrade them – as it could change the sum to 5.

    Here is a part of my response to them:
    As to the existence of black holes – if Sam is real (Descartes would disagree,) he just demonstrated one inside his had. JamesB seems real, but he failed to read IPCC reports. Here is an easier text: “A guide to facts and fictions about climate changeâ€?

  16. How about a society, something like “Good Enough for Samâ€? – and nominate few members who demonstrated their privilege to belong?

    I nominate Matt Blackman for managing to contribute, in less than five lines of response, the following info: “blew the top off the Chicken Little meter�, “environmental alarmists�, “left-wing elites�, and “unsightly wind farms�.

  17. I nominate BillG for not realizing that “jumping headlong into realm of junk-science�, “slipping in some garbage reference�, and “Al Gore and his merry band of enviro-socialists� IS a political statement. Funny that he concludes with, “When did Universe Today become a political website?�

    I nominate Bolton for his comments in their entirety. Hope he will not fall asleep reading what I suggested to JamesB.

    OK, I have to give others a chance. Free speech does not come with protection from being laughed at. Go on, guys, please.

  18. >Among the greatest carbon emitters on the planet
    >are living organisms of all kinds. Those that use
    >oxygen breathe out CO2

    Yael, although I can’t quite decide where you stand on the climate change issue, the above statement did sound like an argument along the lines of “natural sources dwarf human sources, so humans aren’t to blame”.

    It should be noted that while natural sources of carbon emissions do indeed dwarf human emissions (I believe the current state of affairs is about 400 gigatonnes for nature, and about 9 gigatonnes and rising for humans), nature has a corresponding 400 gigatonne carbon sink to absorb its emissions. As a result, nature is approximately carbon neutral, humans do not have that luxury (actually we’ve been getting away with our emissions to some extent because ocean sinks have been able to absorb several gigatonnes of our emissions each year, but there is evidence to suggest those sinks are now reaching capacity, hence a greater proportion of our emissions will be added to the atmosphere in the future).

    In addition, regarding mitigation and solutions, I’m not a “radical Green”, and believe that a combination of new nuclear, solar, wind turbine, etc and even coal plants with carbon capture in the short-term, along with lifestyle changes, is the way forward until we achieve the major technological breakthroughs (hydrogen economy, fusion etc).

  19. DBreit:

    You ask the question? “What caused the Cooling??” Then further down you answer your own question, stating… “We are coming out of an Ice Age.” Why?? “The Sun and the orbital parameters of the Earth.”

    Your correct, and it’s true that the earth has jumped into and outta’ ice ages over the span of time before Homo erectus (lol… always liked that label) walked the planet. Ah yes, and the oceans have risen and fallen 30+/- feet, apparently, making these transition very quickly.

    However, with that said and with the earth’s orbital positioning at present in relation to the sun, the scientists over the span of some 50+ years (until recently) have pretty much agreed that the earth was in a temperate reversal state within an overall cooling cycle. In other words… we’ve been heading for another ice age. However, something has upset that trend… not just slightly… but, overwhelming.

    Yeah, it’s political… and yeah, there is a lot of money to be made for the greedy (lets not forget them). Everyone wants to blame SUV’s and American bashing has become the most popular of verbal sports. But automobiles only account for 0.23 percent of the CO2 problem, and industrial pollution makes up the majority of the problem.

    This problem can ONLY be solved by relying on those that can come up with a fix. And the way I see it… that responsibility rests with the Scientists and the Economists. And they better get crackin’, or we homosapiens will become the fossil fuel for planet earth in a couple millions years from now.

    Do nothing, and if the Al Gore’s and tree-huggers of the world are right.. then we forgot to pay the piper and must accept the consequences. Impose a yearly human tax (say $100 each) to combat the problem, and hope the funds are used effectively, and possibly there will be a break-through… if not, consider that we’ve ALL been ripped-off… so, what’s new?

  20. I don’t understand what makes some people so angry when it is suggested that human activity might be a cause to climate change? Increased taxes to combat pollution? Is that it?

    One of the most ignorant statements of anti-GW movement is that it’s arrogant of people to think that humans are capable of changing the planet’s climate.

    The core of the problem is that, right now there is too many humans on the planet. We all want our lives to be easegoing and secure and our children to have even better lives and technology allows this. There’s a strong motive to disregard the fact that we have grown beyond any measure found in nature.
    If there were, for instance, 6 billion wolves living on this planet and you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing a pack of them, wouldn’t you find that unnusual and unnatural?

    Ofcourse, a large body of people believe it is our god-given right to exploit everything and anything within a visual range. If that is not arrogance in it’s purest form, then nothing is.

    In this day of age, the only thing that survives on this Earth is what we allow to survive. Everything that is not directly beneficial to us is destroyed or secluded in reserves if deemed mostly harmless.

    I don’t know if we truly affect climate change or not. I do know that we pretty much changed the face of the Earth in every other aspect.
    Just take a look at Earth-at-night from a POV of a sattelite, as beutiful as it may seem, it is a clear indicator of the extent of human activities, a testament to our power to change the planet.

  21. all i have to say is watch this video, and you’ll will know what your view on “global warming” is:

  22. The global warming problem is clearly genuine. However nothing worhwhile will get done until there is a full blown world crisis. Unfortunately, crisis recognition will most likely come too late. It may take a war or two over resources, cultivated land, etc., to get a positive solution in motion. Sound crazy? Take a long look at what is happening with current international discourse. The greatest powers on the plant refuse to yield anything more than a pittance that will negitively impact their economy. Too much political-lip service and not enough sincere action. I hope the world doesn’t reach “the point of no return” before world governments finally wake up.

  23. I am glad that someone mentioned the sun.
    What about the active volcanoes above ground & under the oceans.
    It seems reasonable to assume that they effect the climate much more than our use of fossil fuels.
    Climate is change & we don’t know what influences it one way or the other.

    Chaos is the order of things in our Universe.

  24. Okay…got tired of reading everyone yell at everyone else for pages and pages and pages…

    Take a step back…everybody. Those on the ‘left’, those on the ‘right’, everybody. Step back…and shut up.

    The best science that the faithful can provide are YouTube videos and news articles from the Onion. That is not enough to sell most people on the planet…we need some science, som facts…not just ideas and speculation.

    The best arguements that the un-believers can offer are “we’ve had ice ages” and “Al Gore is stupid”. Both may be true statements, actually, but put up or shut up. Again, where is the science? Where are the facts? Where is the smoking gun?

    It seems to me, a reasonably educated person, that there is as much evidence to support either side as there is to support or disprove the existence of God.

    I’m willing to be a lot of you who have posted behind this article are from all different parts of the world, of different races, colors, and religions. You believe (or choose not to believe) in YOUR god, and you pretty much leave the rest of us along about it.

    What stops you from doing the same thing when it comes to unproven sciences? I don’t want you pushing your god(s) on me any more than I want you pushing your opinion about science on me.

    See the comparison? Unitl you come up with some proof…not a bunch of numbers combined to look like science (or a shroud with what looks like jesus on it)…keep it to yourself.

    Finally, I want to agree with a few of the initial posters in that Universe Today is becoming a hot-spot for global warming and other eco-articles, whether or not they have solid science or not. Can we stick to scientific discoveries and leave the eco-science to a different site (after all, this is Universe Today, not TreeHuggers Today or Environment Today).

    But…as with most of the posts I find myself compelled to write on UT…I feel the need to remind everyone here to get over themselves. We are just borrowing time, and its very short time at that, so let’s not get so full of ourselves that we think this planet, over 4 billion years old, was put here just for us.

    We are not the first to live on Earth…and we are definately not going to be the last.

  25. I am not a convert to the idea that global warming is man made. I firmly believe it is part of a natural process. I am however an advocate of recycling and keeping my own back yard clean.

    I would like to ask a question, prompted by the picture accompanying this article.

    Where do YOU work?

    Many years ago, nobody had cars because they didn’t need them. Their workplace was at the bottom of their street and they walked there each day. Their shops were local and the same price as each other shop.

    Then along came a Government Plonker who said. Lets move all the factories out of town and make everyone have to buy a car to get there. While we are at it lets move the shops out of town as well, to the opposite side of town. Now everyone needs two cars so that Mr and Mrs can do their work and shopping.

    All this meant lots of tax revenue for the government, so it was done.

    Maybe we should now be moving our shops and factories back into town where they are needed.

    I live in Derby, UK and without trying I can think of one massive shopping complex with a bus service for the park and ride (not for shoppers) and another with no bus service. There are also three industrial estates with no bus service at all. This is just on one side of Derby. This is just one large town in the UK which is actively encouraging the use of cars.

  26. I just don’t buy the idea that global warming is a politically motivated idea.

    What could “they” possibly have to gain?

    Supporters of fossile fuels have a FAR greater political and monetary reasons to resist hard science.

    Just take a look at the average tempuratures of cities vs the surrounding relatively unpopulated areas. Or look out the window next time you fly into a city. The air is brown (even in small industrial towns like mine).

    These alone proves that humans affect the environment..

  27. The Human activities cause the climate’s change . It is an irrefutable fact . Unfortunately, so many people don’t want to accept it . They mention things such as ice age , sun , natural processes , bla bla bla … . But all of them are nonsense . Please think much more and deeply about this poor planet . We have been being exhausting it every second , haven’t we realized yet ? .
    Don’t cause mistakes like an adult and face to them like a child .
    I still hope that you will change your mind with many good things you will do to this Earth .

  28. Do anything you can . You just keep breathing , but buy a bicycle . Maybe it is late for today , but it won’t late for tomorrow . Do the right thing for our posterity .

  29. Plant some trees. Lots of trees. They can at least help reduce some of the CO2 levels closer to the ground.

    Any little bit helps.

  30. It is a sad prospect when something as catastrophic as our home planets destruction be turned into a platform for political spectrum analysis. Come on! Grow up and smell the emissions!

  31. Studies like this do not help the debate on the sources of warming. The proposed solution is too radical. I would prefer, instead of what I see as a sensational article, an analysis of the model that they used, the predictions that it makes and are proven and analysis of its base assumptions. I still read a lot of dissent from reputable scientists on the causal link between co2 and warming (ie which comes first). Neither side should sieze on any announcement without further review.

    And make no mistake, there is big money on both sides of this issue, be it big oil or research grant money. The physics are what is important. If you must resort to questioning motives or name calling, you are not paying attention to the science.

  32. BillG:
    “When did Universe Today become a political website?”

    when monkeys started to have an opinion about Global warming..

    I hate it when people just DON’T SEEM TO GET the importance of the climate situation.

    -maybe its not about politics
    -maybe its not about money
    -maybe its not about fame

    -maybe its JUST REALITY we have to face at some point. The planet can no longer deal with us. END OF STORY.

    now, whoever wants to argue, has simply no idea as to what PREVENTION actually means.

  33. I’m by no means a tree hugger. In fact I drive a large displacement American V8 and love it! However it is easy to see that our actions have greatly affected the planet we live on.

    I know that my opinion is as meaningless as everyone else that posts here for one underlying fact. Whoever has the gold makes the rules. Record oil profits will continue along with setbacks for any new cleaner form of energy that threatens them.

    For all those that are serious about changing the future of Earth for the better I suggest organizing your efforts and raising some capital. I would gladly contribute….. but I need the money to fill my gas tank.

  34. Hey All,

    Ironman’s video is quite interesting.

    It doesn’t matter what side you are on you should still check it out.

  35. Hey folks, I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be disappearing ad hominem attacks and other un-friendly behaviour – from either side of the conversation. So, if you call someone a bozo, your post is going to disappear.

  36. I thought this was a science newsletter? When did it become a religious newsletter??

    Random responses:
    Yes, Mars is not warming at the rate Earth is it’s farther away and gets less energy from the sun. That’s why it’s colder, too.

    If any human emission causes global warming then, the last ice age ended because Grog discovered fire?

    The Earth has been hot, tropical, as far north as Washington State (ever heard of the redwoods?) and it will be again. The Earth has been cold, very cold (ever heard of glaciers?) and it will be again. I t has been both in the past and all without Homo Sapiens and their technology. Maybe the previous climate changes were caused by dinosaur emissions.

    Universe Today has dropped significantly on my opinion meter. It may soon drop below the threshold where I won’t want to waste the storage and bandwidth on a subscription.

  37. Back in 1977, the enviro-socialists were screaming that global cooling was going to kill us all. They claimed that pollution was blocking the sun, evidenced by the coldest winter in the 20th century. It was also very commonly said that earth would be uninhabitable in the next 25 years. Here we are 30 years later, still breathing, so it just goes to show what they know.

    The enviralists invent a new crisis every time the weather patterns shift. I’m sure they’re staying up late dreaming up new explanations for the next cold pattern. Better hurry, my locale was 10 degrees below average this winter.

    As for Al Gore and his ilk: every time he flits across the country in his chartered jet, he burns more fuel than my car does in 15 YEARS. He shows what a hypocrite he is every time he pays his $2,500/month utility bill (his annual 221,000 kW-hour usage is 20x the national average). Practice what you preach before telling us we need to conserve. I guess conservation is only for the little people that work for a living.

    Studies “proving” global warming are the only ones that get govt. funding and press coverage. When only one side of the debate is presented 24/7, no wonder people can’t see it for the lie that it is.

  38. “The core of the problem is that, right now there is [sic] too many humans on the planet. ” by Fenring, and “The Human activities cause the climate’s change. It is an irrefutable fact.” by Phan An are just two of the many unscientific but well-worn platitudes pulled from the nether regions of global warming alarmists’ bodies. Sadly, since they’ve made their unscientific beliefs a matter of faith there will be no convincing them otherwise.

  39. When I see people drop in the weight of their title instead of the substance, I wonder what is their specialty.

    So I googled “Dr. Francis T. Manns”. Here is the 1st link: Lots of things are said about him there, including, “A past company of his, Mann Oil Resources Inc had a CTO (cease trade order) slapped on him in Canada. A CTO ‘prevents specific individuals and companies from trading in securities.’ Oil? That would explain this one too, “…I can tell you he knows nothing about climate or marine science — or science in general. He disputes that oceans are becoming more acidic — just go out and measure and compare to past measurements and, hey guess what, it’s more acidic.�

  40. “enviro-socialists�
    — It would help to define words that are not in an online dictionary but limited to particular radio-talk stations. Surely a great source of scientific info, including Gore’s jet, etc. I am trying here to imagine a ‘non-enviro-socialist’. Perhaps somebody isolated from environment in all aspects of living, including breathing. Oxymoron, I guess.

  41. “Universe Today has dropped significantly on my opinion meter.�
    — I read it daily. Started about since Fraser decided to share this talent of his with us. It only gets better every year IMO. One has to be able to split the point and recognize what UT publishes and what some readers write in response as they are free to express their opinion.

  42. Yeah, the “Universe Today has dropped significantly on my opinion meter.â€? was abit of hyperbole – along with the wasted bandwidth and subscription dropping.

    Were I able to add an eye-rolling emoticon, I would have.

  43., click Newsfront, Look for article entitled “Global Warming? New Data Shows Ice Is Back”.

    “A NOAA report shows that ice levels which had shrunk from 5 million square miles in January 2007 to just 1.5 million square miles in October, are almost back to their original levels.”

    “Moreover, a Feb. 18 report in the London Daily Express showed that there is nearly a third more ice in Antarctica than usual…”

    “…scientists are saying the northern Hemisphere has endured its coldest winter in decades, adding that snow cover across the area is at its greatest since 1966.”

    Anecdotal, yes. But coupled with temperature data showing 4 years of downward trending global temps and correlating that to what could be another Maunder Minimum and solar minimum there is much evidence correlating glabal temps to solar activity rather than homo sapien activity.

  44. Wow, it’s OK to talk about climate change on every other planet, but as soon as Earth is mentioned, it’s a political conspiracy. 😀

    Again, no one addresses that if global climate change is a natural event, then human pollution is only adding to the problem. Not to mention other things, like the ozone layer holes, which are absolutly the result of man-made pollution.

    We will not be able to cope as easily as the cavemen did. – Our food supply and economy depends on the climate, and if we can do anything to preserve it, then we should, or at least try not to affect it.

    If there is a way to produce energy without polluting so much, then it is our responsibility to do so. Do we need another massive oil spill to remind us of the environmental costs?

  45. OK guys – here’s my comment –
    I do recycle –
    I drive a hybrid –
    I like trees –
    This article tells me that the climate ‘model’ shows that no matter how much we turn down the human CO2 use it doesn’t help the climate change – (measurably)
    Well — Duh!
    So that tells me that there’s some other factor in play –
    I think one good volcano eruption would just about negate the emission savings of 250,000 Hummers at full throttle for 100 years!! (yeah 24/7) !!
    So let’s just all use as little fossil fuel as possible and hope for a long time between volcano actions!
    Sound right to you?

  46. Here’s my take on Global Warming:

    Global warming my indeed be present, maybe, but in Earth’s vast history (and long, long before man was to be seen), the planet has been much warmer, and much colder, apparently several times over for each extreme. Clearly, humans didn’t cause those.

    If the planet is currently warming, did humans cause it this time? Maybe, maybe not; regardless, (listen carefully, and I’ll type this slooooowly for everyone) HUMANS, WE OURSELVES, ARE PART OF NATURE. I’m completely offended when people insinuate that I and other humans do not belong here, and/or that we have no right to exist or use the resources here.

    We are here, we have every right to be here (after all, we didn’t pick Earth, Earth picked us!) And we are doing what *every* other organism on earth does: survive. Our survival requires vast resources due to our size and numbers, and our intelligence, desires, and curiosity (unique in nature) require even more resources. But we are we, and we are here.

    *IF* we are causing global warming, then as long as we’re here and living, there is probably nothing we can do to stop it. If so, we should stop wasting money and money and more money and use our brains to deal with the changes instead of trying to stop the inevitable.

    In reality, that is probably the crux of this whole global warming scare: many people are terrified of change, and will spend extreme amounts of money and effort in a vain attempt to stop it. We may or may not be able to cause global warming, be we almost certainly are powerless to stop if from happening regardless of the cause.

    To those who feel guilty about being here and being human, well, a lot of them seem to become environmentalist, and they think I should feel guilty too (sorry, but no).

    I’m all for using less of everything and keeping our water and air clean, but I’m going to use up stuff and emit carbon dioxide while I’m here. And I won’t be made to feel guilty for being human, being here, or eating when I’m hungry. And I belong here as rightly as any other animal, regardless of the consequences. Live with it. And if the planet warms up or gets colder (and it will), I’ll deal with that. What will you do? Shrill finger-pointing and speeches, or prepare to live with the changes? Use your time wisely…

  47. Oh, and one more thing: we can’t destroy the earth, not with nukes, not with pollution, not with carbon emissions nor GW. We might harm ourselves, but not Earth. It was here long before mankind, likely to outlive us, and is amazingly capable of repairing itself and any damage we may cause.

    Global warming? No big deal for the planet. Ice ages? Paleeze… There is nothing we can do that will sterilize this planet.

  48. The less people read and know the more often they proclaim, “I have a theory!� And
    without studying the issue exhaustively, some here are very certain that most scientists are wrong. Here is from the simplest source:

    “The atmospheric concentrations of CO.sub.2 and CH.sub.4 have increased by 31% and 149% respectively since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the mid-1700s. These levels are considerably higher than at any time during the last 650,000 years, the period for which reliable data has been extracted from ice cores.�
    THAT PERIOD IS WAY OVER SOME OF THE ICE AGE CYCLE PERIODS. Got it? If not, align CO.sub.2 and temperature curves.

  49. “In 1999, 2,244,804,000 metric tons of CO.sub.2 were produced in the U.S. as a result of electric energy generation.� THIS IS ONLY ONE INDUSTRY IN ONLY ONE COUNTRY. COMPARE TO “volcanoes release about 130-230 million tonnes (145-255 million tons) of CO.sub.2 into the atmosphere each year.�

    P.S. Also, be careful with your common sense, as what we can or cannot do. FYI, Sir Arthur Clarke in “Profiles of the futureâ€? (1962) described “The Failure Of Nerveâ€? and “The Failure Of Imagination.â€? (BTW, it was only a year ahead of Fitch’s paradox of knowability 🙂

  50. You can provide all the evidence you want, but the naysayers will still say they don’t believe it.

    They will say that even though we caused the problem, we can’t fix it, or that it was inevitable.

    Stubborn? Lazy? Apathetic?

    Who knows. Alex is right though. It’s not planet we are trying to save.

    It’s ourselves.

  51. Cannot win them over – I know otherwise educated, smart people denying that Earth going about the Sun is settled, etc. based on their religious text. If there a question, I may try to answer if I can. However, when they write a distorted opinion, the rest of us become responsible, so “let the record showâ€? the facts.

  52. Apparently the current US presidential candidates have agreed that whoever gets into power beginning 2009, they will aim to build giant space ships and fill them with ‘naysayers’ and then eject them into space to fend for themselves …. on another planet if they can find one.

  53. For me, news about the planet is incredibly relevant to a site like Universe Today. I’m really glad Fraser includes this news. It’s amazing to me that some other readers don’t see knowledge about our existence on Planet Earth as an inherant and central part of the study of the Universe.

    Of all the planets and places in the Universe we have to study, the place we have by far the best opportunity to know and learn from is right here. More imporantly this is the ONLY place right now we have to exist and thrive on. Whether or now humanity will be successful enough to be able to colonise other planets in the future in unknown. How can we theorise about that before knowing about, and getting involved with our ongoing colonisation and existence on this here planet?

    I live in Japan, and EVERYONE here – companies, local and national government, and normal citizens, are very concerned about the environment and what’s happening around the planet. The recycle rigorously, but also think rigorously, which is exactly what the naysayers are not doing, I cannot help but feel.

  54. I won’t say anything about climate’s change . I’m focusing in protecting the inviroment where I live in. I don’t know how much it could help for today , but every little thing I do is very important to tomorrow.

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