photo credit: (c) 2019 Peg Hunter Sunrise Movement demo, San Francisco
Greenhouse Gas Concentrations in Atmosphere Are Accelerating
by Richard Hunziker [excerpts from Counterpunch: httpss://www.counterpunch.org/2019/05/21/custers-last-stand-meets-global-warming/
A recent article in Arctic News on the outlook for global warming foresees a frightening scenario lurking right around the corner. Hopefully, the article’s premise of impending runaway global warming (“RGW”) is off the mark, by a lot. BTW… the worst-case scenario happens within one decade!
Here’s a snippet: “… such a rise in greenhouse gas levels has historically corresponded with more than 10°C or 18°F of warming, when looking at greenhouse gas levels and temperatures over the past 800,000 years….” (Source: Greenhouse Gas Levels Keep Accelerating, Arctic News, May 1, 2019)
It is important to mention that mainstream science is not warning of imminent Runaway Global Warming (“RGW”), as outlined in the Arctic News article. Still, the article does have credibility because it is the product of academic scientists.
The Arctic News article would not be out there if the US Senate had taken seriously Dr. James Hansen’s warnings about global warming in 1988. The NY Times headline June 24, 1988 read: “Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate.”[In response] no solar initiatives were suggested for the country. In fact, since Dr. Hansen’s warning 31 years ago, Congress is MIA, not even one peep about efforts to contain global warming. [Thus the] Children’s Climate Crusade, originating in Sweden, is stewing about the global warming crisis, addressing a long list of failures by “the establishment.”
The Arctic News article is a haunting commentary on the status of global warming; [it] describes a powerful combination of greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrogen oxide (NO2), and nitrous oxide (N2O) [that] in combination with oceans and ice taking up less planetary heat, threaten life on Earth within a decade.
“So, how fast and by how much could temperatures rise? …rapid warming of the lower troposphere could occur very soon. When including the joint impact of all warming elements … abrupt climate change could result in a rise of as much as 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026. This could cause most life on Earth (including humans) to go extinct within years,” Ibid.
That can’t possibly be true, or can it? Nobody knows for sure. Some really smart scientists think it could happen. According to the article, the setup for the worst-case scenario is falling into place faster and sooner than thought possible. Read the entire article: httpss://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/05/greenhouse-gas-levels-keep-accelerating.html.
The oceans as well as glacial and ocean-bearing ice have been absorbing up to 95% of the planet’s heat, minimizing atmospheric global warming. However, those two huge natural buffers are losing their mojo. Ocean stratification and loss of ice minimize the effectiveness of those two crucial buffers, forcing the atmosphere to take up more and more planetary heat.
One of the primary [signs] of upcoming acceleration of global warming [is] a recent study about nitrous oxide, N2O, which is 300xs more potent than CO2 and has a lifetime of 120 years, found in huge quantities (67B tons) in Arctic permafrost: “The study by Wilkerson, et al httpss://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.8b02271 shows that nitrous oxide emissions from thawing Alaskan permafrost are about twelve times higher than previously assumed. A 2018 analysis (httpss://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.8b02271) by Yang et al points at the danger of large nitrous oxide releases from thawing permafrost in Tibet. Even more nitrous oxide could be released from Antarctica,” Ibid.
In addition to N2O as a powerful greenhouse gas, it’s also an ozone depleting substance, which brings to mind the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer of 1987. For those who missed class back in the day, the ozone layer of Earth’s stratosphere (10-30 miles above ground level) absorbs most of the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation! Without it blindness, skin cancers and other will increase, and some life forms will go extinct.
According to James Anderson (Harvard professor of atmospheric chemistry), co-recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work on ozone depletion, speaking at the University of Chicago about global warming in 2018: “People [think] we can recover from this state just by reducing carbon emissions, Anderson said in an appearance at the University of Chicago. Recovery is all but impossible, he argued, without a World War II-style transformation of industry—an acceleration of the effort to halt carbon pollution and remove it from the atmosphere, and a new effort to reflect sunlight away from the earth’s poles… This has do be done, Anderson added, within the next five years.” (Source: Jeff McMahon, We Have Five Years To Save Ourselves From Climate Change, Harvard Scientist Says, Forbes, Jan. 15, 2018).
Based upon that gauntlet as laid down by professor Anderson, only 4 years remains to get something done to “save us.” Sadly, there is no “WW-II style transformation of industry” under consideration, not even a preliminary fact-finding mission.
But, there is a very active ongoing Children’s Crusade prodding adults to do something. At Katowice, Poland, COP-24 (Conference of the Parties) in December 2018, Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old from Sweden, addressed the UN secretary general António Guterres. “For 25 years countless people have stood in front of the UN climate conferences, asking our nation’s leaders to stop the emissions. But, clearly, this has not worked since the emissions just continue to rise. So I will not ask them anything. Instead, I will ask the media to start treating the crisis as a crisis.
“Instead, I will ask people around the world to realize our political leaders have failed us. We are facing an existential threat and there is no time to continue down this road of madness… So we have not come here to beg the world leaders to care for our future. They have ignored us in the past and they will ignore us again.
We have come here to let them know that change is coming whether they like it or not.”