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Current Carbon Dioxide Emission Highest Ever in Earth History

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Every time there is concern raised about the alarming increase in greenhouse gas levels, caused by human activity, someone, somewhere is going to toss out a comment that it's nothing to worry about, and the world went through something similar back during the PETM. Well, nevermind that the PETM marked a mass extinction of between 30% and 50% of ocean sea creatures, our present civilization is dependent on the weather we have now, and new evidence from carbon isotope research is indicating that NOW is in fact the era of the largest, most dramatic rate of increase in carbon levels:

The present rate of greenhouse carbon dioxide emissions through fossil fuel burning is higher than that associated with an ancient episode of severe global warming, according to new research. The findings are published online this week by the journal Nature

Around 55.9 million years ago, Earth experienced a period of intense global warming known as the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), which lasted for around 170,000 years. During its main phase, average annual temperatures rose by around 5°C.

Based on their carbon isotope measurements and computer simulations of Earth system, the researchers estimated that the rate of carbon emissions during the PETM peaked at between 300 million and 1,700 million metric tonnes per year, which is much slower than the present carbon emission rate.

"Our findings suggest that humankind may be causing atmospheric carbon dioxide to increase at rates never previously seen on Earth, which would suggest that current temperatures will potentially rise much faster than they did during the PETM," concluded Dr Harding.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110607121525.htm

Edited by WIP

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Every time there is concern raised about the alarming increase in greenhouse gas levels, caused by human activity, someone, somewhere is going to toss out a comment that it's nothing to worry about, and the world went through something similar back during the PETM.
You forget that the PETM cannot be explained with CO2. Something else caused it. We don't know what but there are several theories:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleocene%E2%80%93Eocene_Thermal_Maximum

Furthermore, all paleoproxies are low pass filters which means high frequency changes simply do not appear in the record. This means it is not possible to do meaningful comparisons between a period of 100 years and any paleoproxy.

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You forget that the PETM cannot be explained with CO2. Something else caused it. We don't know what but there are several theories:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleocene%E2%80%93Eocene_Thermal_Maximum

Furthermore, all paleoproxies are low pass filters which means high frequency changes simply do not appear in the record. This means it is not possible to do meaningful comparisons between a period of 100 years and any paleoproxy.

The wikipedia article notes isotopic evidence of a spike in carbon levels at the start of the PETM; what other explanations do we need? I've seen a few convoluted arguments that rising CO2 levels only increase air temperatures to some sort of equilibrium level, but I see no reason why the effects shouldn't continue, or why it hasn't worked this way in the past.

The other carbon problem that doesn't get enough attention is ocean acidification...which is presently bleaching corals and killing many species of crustaceans; the problem of ocean acidification during the PETM must have been the significant factor in a die-off of ocean life. Even without the problem of increasing global air temperatures, this problem is also an important reason to reduce carbon emissions -- since about half of the carbon we put in the atmosphere ends up absorbed by the oceans.

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Based on their carbon isotope measurements and computer simulations of Earth system

The problem has always been the computer models and simulations. They've always been horribly flawed. Anyways, why don't you help emission levels WIP? Stop driving, and stop using your computer, which runs on electricity generated from coal, and is made from parts composed of oil.

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The wikipedia article notes isotopic evidence of a spike in carbon levels at the start of the PETM; what other explanations do we need?
I realize that this stuff is more of a religion than a science for you, however, CO2 rises in response to warming. It does not necessarily follow that the warming was caused by CO2.
The other carbon problem that doesn't get enough attention is ocean acidification...which is presently bleaching corals and killing many species of crustaceans;
This science on this front is mixed as well. Personally, I find claims that a slight decrease in pH will have a long term effect on ocean wildlife to be less than credible because the change in pH is less than the seasonal variation and these life forms evolved in seas with lower pH than we have now. Edited by TimG

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Here is a CH3 Headlines thread full of links showing that Ocean acidification,is not a concern to worry about.

Based on "peer reviewed" research.

The phrase Ocean Acidification" is misleading.The Oceans are currently strongly Alkaline and have been for a very long time.

Edited by sunsettommy

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All life emits waste and it is all CO2. We do not realize that there should be limits on ambition. For instance imagine that every car in rush hour traffic is an oil soaked rag --- and imagine those cars at a stand still - no imagine that each bundle of rags is set ablaze...that's a lot of little oil campfires buring...Now imagine this in and around every major city on the planet - all at the same time...Human beings have never had so many camp fires buring all at once all over the planet ----and THAT example concernes personal luxury like a car - this wrap around mechanical shell that we all assume we need - to go some where fast to do nothing.

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I always admire how WIP stands up and tries to point out what we are doing is wrong. Keep speaking truth to power!

However in this case please forgive me for allowing my cynicism to come through.

our present civilization is dependent on the weather we have now

Good, because we're on a rocket ride to hell and there's not one of us who can stop it. So let nature take its course. The great equalizer. Here is Darwinism on a grand scale, taking out the top predator! Since there is nothing else that can kill us, we have to do it ourselves. And we will, intentional or not.

Then the meek shall inherit the earth. As a guy who always roots for the under-dog, I love that kind of justice...

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I always admire how WIP stands up and tries to point out what we are doing is wrong. Keep speaking truth to power!

However in this case please forgive me for allowing my cynicism to come through.

Good, because we're on a rocket ride to hell and there's not one of us who can stop it. So let nature take its course. The great equalizer. Here is Darwinism on a grand scale, taking out the top predator! Since there is nothing else that can kill us, we have to do it ourselves. And we will, intentional or not.

Then the meek shall inherit the earth. As a guy who always roots for the under-dog, I love that kind of justice...

Being on of the meeks is tedious...It's one hell of a waiting game. The duty of the meek is simply to out live the preditors..those way on on the food chain who when they go down insist on taking us with them. So it's not so much being meek but shrewd enough to go around all the lions and tigers and bears.

You are right about human beings being the only ones capable of killing themselves - for instance all though my youth I led a dangerous and daring existance - had all the bad habits and destructive thrills that came with them - I thought to myself one day ..."If I can not kill myself than no one else can" seeing I am in close proximity to said target. I guess what I mean is that some of us are plain and simple SURVIVORS....

The big aggressive dogs that run the world are not that good at surviving. When a guy who flips billion dollar deals questions me an old welfare parasite....."are you GAINFULLY employed" - it makes me thing - this guy does not get it...and I who am more meek will be around after he is gone - all I have to do is wait.

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The problem has always been the computer models and simulations. They've always been horribly flawed. Anyways, why don't you help emission levels WIP? Stop driving, and stop using your computer, which runs on electricity generated from coal, and is made from parts composed of oil.

And you're supposed to be no.1 of some sorts on this forum? Atmospheric CO2 levels have gone from 280 to almost 400 ppm in the last 150 years, and this has no connection to warming, such as the 40% loss of ARctic sea ice over the last half century according to the deniers.

For what it's worth, I don't drive....my wife drives our car a couple of times a week, but that's another issue. If it's a matter of what policies would have a real impact, I want carbon (from oil, gas, coal, tar sands or whatever source) to be taxed at the proper level that matches the externalized costs burning carbon leaves behind for everyone to pay for collectively -- so put the full price on the label and see what happens to market forces that you rightwingers always tell us are so important! Compared to North America, pricing carbon has enabled Western Europe to enjoy a better standard of living on half the carbon footprint that we put out.

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I always admire how WIP stands up and tries to point out what we are doing is wrong. Keep speaking truth to power!

However in this case please forgive me for allowing my cynicism to come through.

Good, because we're on a rocket ride to hell and there's not one of us who can stop it. So let nature take its course. The great equalizer. Here is Darwinism on a grand scale, taking out the top predator! Since there is nothing else that can kill us, we have to do it ourselves. And we will, intentional or not.

Then the meek shall inherit the earth. As a guy who always roots for the under-dog, I love that kind of justice...

We are the only species of animals on this Earth to develop the capacity to be aware of our situation and change it; so if we can't, as a species, use those higher cognitive functions to override our basic, primal instincts and emotions, then that is a waste of what this Universe is capable of. Complex, intelligent life forms that develop self-awareness, are likely extremely rare events in this vast, empty universe.

We don't know if there have been any other places in the Universe where life has reached our present level -- why waste the chance we have to just do what comes naturally for animals? Maybe intelligent life develops until it reaches the point where it destroys itself and never makes the leap to Type Two Civilizations that physicist - Michiou Kaku writes about in his pop science books. That would explain why we have gone 40 years without finding an alien radio signal at SETI.

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All life emits waste and it is all CO2. We do not realize that there should be limits on ambition. For instance imagine that every car in rush hour traffic is an oil soaked rag --- and imagine those cars at a stand still - no imagine that each bundle of rags is set ablaze...that's a lot of little oil campfires buring...Now imagine this in and around every major city on the planet - all at the same time...Human beings have never had so many camp fires buring all at once all over the planet ----and THAT example concernes personal luxury like a car - this wrap around mechanical shell that we all assume we need - to go some where fast to do nothing.

I see that YOU hate CO2 so much.

Then you should tape your mouth and nose completely shut.

:lol:

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I always admire how WIP stands up and tries to point out what we are doing is wrong. Keep speaking truth to power!
Then you must admire Revend Camping as well because there is not bit of difference between the two. Both never stop talking about how we are all sinners and doomed unless we repent now. Such rhetoric is great at getting belivers people fired up (which you appear to be) but absolutely useless when it comes to finding real solutions to problems that people face.

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I realize that this stuff is more of a religion than a science for you, however, CO2 rises in response to warming. It does not necessarily follow that the warming was caused by CO2.

There have been warming periods in the past caused by Milankovitch cycles, or possibly changes in solar output, since we are finding that the Sun is not as steady and reliable as previously believed, but if we accept that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, then our present situation of continually adding to atmospheric CO2 levels will inevitably force changes to the environment. Unless, I see some evidence behind some claims that CO2 has no effect beyond a certain level, discounting CO2 makes no sense.

During some of the past warming events, CO2 could lag temperature increase if, as many climatologists believe, oceans release CO2 into the atmosphere, but that in turn, amplified the warming trend because of CO2's greenhouse effect, which led to more CO2 being released. There's no reason why CO2 can't be both the cause and effect of further warming, if we take positive feedback cycles into consideration. It's not likely, according to the same people who study these things, that shifts between glacials and interglacial periods could be explained by changes in the amount of solar radiation alone. And, positive or negative effects would also be a factor in the changes from ice sheet cover to vegetation and open water.

The big point that climate skeptics are missing in the arguments that CO2 will lack warming, is that our present situation is unique. There has never been a species dominate and alter the planet's ecosystems as we have today, and no previous time in Earth's history has experienced such a rapid increase in greenhouse gas levels as we are creating at the present time - 10 Indicators of a Human Fingerprint on Climate Change

This science on this front is mixed as well. Personally, I find claims that a slight decrease in pH will have a long term effect on ocean wildlife to be less than credible because the change in pH is less than the seasonal variation and these life forms evolved in seas with lower pH than we have now.

Nevermind the effects on reefs and crustaceans for a moment, here's an interesting article from Discover Magazine that illustrates why it's not a good idea to be [email protected]#$%% around with the environment when we don't understand all of the consequences: Ocean Acidification Could Leave Clown Fish (Like Nemo) Lost at Sea

Ocean acidification, the second part of the one-two punch packed by global warming, has been shown to disorient young clown fish and prevent them from finding their way to their natural habitats. A new study found that dropping the pH of seawater interfered with the fish‘s ability to sniff out environmental cues. Most research on the environmental impacts of acidification has focused on the vulnerability of shellfish, corals and crustaceans, whose shells are weakened and dissolved by acidic waters. But the latest findings show that fish may also be directly and profoundly affected

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Then you must admire Revend Camping as well because there is not bit of difference between the two. Both never stop talking about how we are all sinners and doomed unless we repent now. Such rhetoric is great at getting belivers people fired up (which you appear to be) but absolutely useless when it comes to finding real solutions to problems that people face.

First, you need to understand the problem before you can provide solutions! You don't even recognize a problem, so what solution is there?

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There's no reason why CO2 can't be both the cause and effect of further warming, if we take positive feedback cycles into consideration.
Of course, seperating the effect of the CO2 from the effect of all of the other amplication factors is next to impossible. All the methods to date simply assume that CO2 has effect X and they adjust their estimates of the other numbers to make the calculations work. The result is internally consistent junk science that tells us nothing about how the real world works.
Nevermind the effects on reefs and crustaceans for a moment, here's an interesting article from Discover Magazine...
Quoting the popular science press on Co2 is equivalent to quoting the tobbaco executives weekly on the effects of smoking. Both have an adgenda and are not shy about abusing science in order to promote it. As I said before, I do not find the claims on ocean CO2 to be credible since we are talking about small changes which are well within the normal range of variability. Edited by TimG

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Of course, seperating the effect of the CO2 from the effect of all of the other amplication factors is next to impossible. All the methods to date simply assume that CO2 has effect X and they adjust their estimates of the other numbers to make the calculations work. The result is internally consistent junk science that tells us nothing about how the real world works.

No, junk science is Roy Spencer declaring that rising Co2 levels will have no greenhouse effects, or they will be mitigated by other factors, but not having any explanation for why that did not happen in the past.

Quoting the popular science press on Co2 is equivalent to quoting the tobbaco executives weekly on the effects of smoking. Both have an adgenda and are not shy about abusing science in order to promote it. As I said before, I do not find the claims on ocean CO2 to be credible since we are talking about small changes which are well within the normal range of variability.

I first heard this story on the latest episode of Quirks and Quarks on CBC Radio....you ought to listen some time....there are published research studies indicating that common fish species...can't get much more common than Clown Fish...are adversely affected in a way that had never been considered before. Consider how so many fish species are dying off for reasons not presently understood, or why bees, and many other species of insects and amphibians are also becoming extinct, and we have reasons not to be screwing around with the environment -- since the full implications won't be realized until decades later!

Edited by WIP

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Climate scientists have an agenda; liberals have an agenda; environemntalists have an agenda; and now, we see, that the popular science press is part of the (presumably similar) agenda. Lots of agenda going on. Thank Godzilla for the agenda-free sceptics and deniers. They're a little too good for this fallen world.

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Climate scientists have an agenda; liberals have an agenda; environemntalists have an agenda; and now, we see, that the popular science press is part of the (presumably similar) agenda.
Why is it so difficult to accept that bias exists in all sources? They have actually done studies that show that science that grabs the most headlines is more likely to turn out to be wrong (yes I am aware of the circular logic). Also having an agenda does not necessarily mean someone is wrong. It just means claims that seem to support the agenda must be examince closely before they can be taken seriously.

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Why is it so difficult to accept that bias exists in all sources? They have actually done studies that show that science that grabs the most headlines is more likely to turn out to be wrong (yes I am aware of the circular logic). Also having an agenda does not necessarily mean someone is wrong. It just means claims that seem to support the agenda must be examince closely before they can be taken seriously.

It's not hard to understand; but by your definition it must go both ways.

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It does.

That bias is exactly why I am cynical that we can ever solve anything, at all.

Too many selfish assholes seeking to promote their agenda, and to many deluded dum dums easily motivated by fear.

So my new philosophy is, just party on brothers! Heh heh heh

Edited by Sir Bandelot

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I see that YOU hate CO2 so much.

Then you should tape your mouth and nose completely shut.

:lol:

I grow plants and have a roof top garden...I love co2....and I like oxygen just as much... my plants and I have an agreement - I breathe out carbon dioxide and they breathe out oxygen ----except at night when the plants reverse the process and try to smother me in my bed.

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Environmentalists are anti-nature. They go on and on about things they are disconnected from...all their rhetoric is political and they miss the point - that you have to LOVE the natural world and it will love you back....if you want to save the world...learn to love it instead of hate it and believe that nature is a place that is a garbage dump --- I have young people come over and ask - "where did you buy your plants, they are really beautiful" - I don't buy them - I grow them. People do not know how to grow things any more. They are seperated from this ancient act.

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That bias is exactly why I am cynical that we can ever solve anything, at all.
That is one of the reasons why I am libertarian (as opposed to conservative or a republican). I figure that the safest approach given the various competing agendas is to take power to impose agenda driven solutions away from government and just let the chips fall where they may. That includes staying out foreign military entanglements as well as staying away from climate regulation.

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