Navigation Links
Carbon dioxide already in danger zone, warns study
Date:11/18/2008

A group of 10 prominent scientists says that the level of globe-warming carbon dioxide in the air has probably already reached a point where world climate will change disastrously unless the level can be reduced in coming decades. The study is a departure from recent estimates that truly dangerous levels would be reached only later in this century. The paper appears in the current edition of the Open Atmospheric Science Journal.

"There is a bright side to this conclusion," says lead author James E. Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, part of Columbia University's Earth Institute. ""By following a path that leads to lower CO2, we can alleviate a number of problems that had begun to seem inevitable." Hansen said these include expanding desertification, reduced food harvests, increased storm intensities, loss of coral reefs, and the disappearance of mountain glaciers that supply water to hundreds of millions of people.

The scientists say now that CO2 needs to be reduced to the level under which human civilization developed until the industrial ageabout 350 parts per million (ppm)to keep current warming trends from moving rapidly upward in coming years. The level is currently at 385 ppm, and rising about 2 ppm each year, mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels and incineration of forests. As a result, global temperatures have been creeping upward. The authors say that improved data on past climate changes, and the pace at which earth is changing now, especially in the polar regions, contributed to their conclusion. Among other things, ongoing observations of fast-melting ice masses that previously helped reflect solar radiation, and the release of stored-up "greenhouse" gases from warming soils and ocean waters, show that feedback processes previously thought to move slowly can occur within decades, not millennia, and thus warm the world further. Once CO2 gas is released, a large fraction of it stays in the air for hundreds of years.

The scientists, from the United States, United Kingdom and France, are optimistic that current atmospheric CO2 could be reduced if emissions from coal, the largest contributor, are largely phased out by 2030. Use of unconventional fossil-fuel sources such as tar sands also would have to be minimized, they say. They predict that oil use will probably decline anyway as reserves shrink. So-called "geoengineering" solutions that would remove CO2 from the air have been proposed by others, but the group is skeptical; they estimate that artificially removing 50ppm of CO2 from the atmosphere would cost at least $20 trillion, or twice the current U.S. national debt. They suggest that reforestation of degraded land and use of more natural fertilizers could draw down CO2 by a similar amount.

"Humanity today, collectively, must face the uncomfortable fact that industrial civilization itself has become the principal driver of global climate," says the paper. "The greatest danger is continued ignorance and denial, which would make tragic consequences unavoidable."


'/>"/>

Contact: Kevin Krajick
kkrajick@ei.columbia.edu
212-854-9729
The Earth Institute at Columbia University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. PNNL leadership in carbon sequestration featured at international conference
2. MIT: Safe storage of greenhouse-gas carbon dioxide
3. UI researchers help to improve carbon measurements in global climate studies
4. Corralling the carbon cycle
5. Engineer to present leak-proof method for carbon dioxide storage at international conference
6. Revised theory suggests carbon dioxide levels already in danger zone
7. Global warming predicted to hasten carbon release from peat bogs
8. Earthworm activity can alter forests carbon-carrying capabilities
9. Diatom genome helps explain success in trapping excess carbon in oceans
10. Study: Tropical wetlands hold more carbon than temperate marshes
11. UNC study on properties of carbon nanotubes, water could have wide-ranging implications
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/16/2016)... Nov. 16, 2016 Sensory Inc ., ... security for consumer electronics, and VeriTran , ... retail industry, today announced a global partnership that ... to authenticate users of mobile banking and mobile ... software which requires no specialized biometric scanners, ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has announced the ... report to their offering. The ... to grow at a CAGR of 12.28% during the period ... an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report ... years. The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors ...
(Date:6/20/2016)... 20, 2016 Securus Technologies, a leading ... for public safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring announced ... it has secured the final acceptance by all ... Managed Access Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, Securus will ... be installed by October, 2016. MAS distinguishes between ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... Opal Kelly, a ... device-to-computer interconnect using USB or PCI Express, announced the FOMD-ACV-A4, the company's first ... a small, thin, SODIMM-style module that fits a standard 204-pin SODIMM socket for ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... their exceptionally efficient human mesenchymal stem/stromal cell (hMSC) expansion medium. This ... products engineered to radically streamline culture processes, minimize processing time, significantly decrease ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016  HedgePath Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ... discovers, develops and plans to commercialize innovative therapeutics ... of common stock were approved for trading on ... trading on the OTCQX, effective today, under the ... the OTCQX market, companies must meet high financial ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... San Diego (PRWEB) , ... December 07, 2016 ... ... safety data from its phase I/II dose escalation and expansion clinical trial for ... 2016 in Vienna, Austria. The purpose of the trial was to determine the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: