In these blogs I’ve tried to provide data that readers could implement, personally. Dealing with CO2 levels is a global issue – and one that may actually imperil life on our planet. However, at a personal level, too high an amount of CO2 may lead to difficulty in breathing, and getting insufficient oxygen into our lungs. Here’s the research data, then some suggestions about what you can do, personally, to improve your situation.
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Carbon Dioxide Emissions Near Level
Not Seen in 15 Million Years,
New Study Warns
Jul. 10, 2020
As a United Nations agency released new climate projections showing that the world is on track in the next five years to hit or surpass a key limit of the Paris agreement, authors of a new study warned Thursday that increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is nearing a level not seen in 15 million years.
For the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom examined CO2 levels during the Late Pliocene about three million years ago “to search for modern and near future-like climate states,” co-author Thomas Chalk explained in a series of tweets. Chalk told the Guardian:
“A striking result we’ve found is that the
warmest part of the Pliocene had between
380 and 420 parts per million CO2 in the
atmosphere. This is similar to today’s value
of around 415 parts per million, showing
that we are already at levels that in the
past were associated with temperature and
sea-level significantly higher than today.”
When CO2 levels peaked during the Pliocene, temperatures were 3ºC to 4ºC hotter and seas were 65 feet higher, the newspaper reported. Chalk said that “currently, our CO2 levels are rising at about 2.5 ppm per year, meaning that by 2025 we will have exceeded anything seen in the last 3.3 million years.” The Guardian noted:
“We are burning through the Pliocene and
heading towards a Miocene-like future,”
warned co-author Gavin Foster, referencing
a period from about 23 to 5.3 million years
ago. It was during the Miocene, around 15
million years ago, when “our ancestors are
thought to have diverged from orangutans
and become recognizably hominoid.”
Reporting on the study elicited concern and calls for action from environmentalists and advocacy groups.
“Every kilo of CO2 we emit is one we
have to sequester later, provided
the food doesn’t run out first,”
Nathaniel Stinnett, executive director of the U.S.-based Environmental Voter Project, also responded to the report on Twitter, saying, “Big Oil and Gas are killing us.”
A new report released Thursday by the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) about global temperatures likely coming in the next five years provoked similar alarm and demands.
“It’s still not too late to avoid the worst
effects of the #ClimateEmergency. But
governments need to act NOW,”
The WMO report projects that the annual global temperature is likely to be at least 1°C warmer than pre-industrial levels in each of the next five years. Although it is “extremely unlikely” the average temperature for 2020–2024 will be 1.5°C warmer than pre-industrial levels, WMO warned certain periods could hit that temperature.
Specifically, there is about a 70% chance that one or more months during those five years will be at least 1.5°C hotter than pre-industrial levels and about a 20% chance that one of the next five years will be at least that warm, according to WMO’s Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update, led by the United Kingdom’s Met Office.
In a statement Thursday, WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas also pointed to the coronavirus pandemic—which prompted global lockdowns that briefly caused planet-heating emissions to drop—as an opportunity to pursue bold recovery plans that incorporate policies that combat the climate crisis, such as rapidly transitioning to renewable energy worldwide. Taalas said:
“WMO has repeatedly stressed that the
industrial and economic slowdown from
Covid-19 is not a substitute for sustained
and coordinated climate action. Due to
the very long lifetime of CO2 in the atmo-
sphere, the impact of the drop in emissions
this year is not expected to lead to a reduc-
tion of CO2 atmospheric concentrations which
are driving global temperature increases.”
“Whilst Covid-19 has caused a severe inter-
national health and economic crisis, failure
to tackle climate change may threaten hu-
man well-being, ecosystems, and economies
for centuries. Governments should use the
opportunity to embrace climate action as
part of recovery program and ensure
that we grow back better.”
Taalas added that:
“This study shows — with a high level of
scientific skill — the enormous challenge
ahead in meeting the Paris agreement on
climate change target of keeping a global
temperature rise this century well below
2°C above pre-industrial levels and to
pursue efforts to limit the temperature
increase even further to 1.5°C.”
While some scientists and activists have criticized the 2015 Paris climate agreement as not ambitious enough, it is backed by nearly all nations on Earth. U.S. President Donald Trump began the one-year withdrawal process in November 2019 but former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, has vowed to rejoin the accord if he wins this year’s election.
• • • • • • • •
Even with the change in the U.S. Presidency, political leaders, globally, may not be able to do enough to change this major trend in CO2 increases … at least, other than rhetoric, they haven’t yet demonstrated their ability to do so. Again, I turned to D, the entity my wife channels, for suggestions.
“Here’s what you can do …
“Let’s start within your house.
“Putting in plants will give you more oxygen in your home. Using less volatile chemicals – and using items such as vinegar, essential oils, and water to clean – will increase the oxygen levels even further, and will help your lungs.
“Around your home, keep planting more trees. Trees are an amazing source of support to hold excess water and absorb CO2.
“Next, transportation …
“Take public transport when possible. Move to an electric vehicle as soon as you can. The #1 sources of CO2 are cars and power plants. Photovoltaics (or wind machines) will give you a more personal sustainable power source that can use to power an electric vehicle.
“Our frustration is that most people think they are helping the environment. Our question is:
“What are you doing to change
from your daily fossil fuel habit?”
Habits are difficult to change … even when there’s abundant proof that what you’re changing towards is better. Better for the environment, to be sure. But also better, and even less expensive, for you. Changing habits is the real challenge.