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Record-Breaking CO2 Levels, Tax Cuts, and Catastrophe: What You Don’t Know Will Hurt You


Record-Breaking CO2 Levels, Tax Cuts, and Catastrophe: What You Don’t Know Will Hurt You

John Atcheson

On March 10, 2017, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced some bad news. Humans were hurtling toward unknown territory with regards to global warming.

Concentrations of CO2, the main greenhouse gas (GHG),averaged 405 parts per million in 2016, up 3 ppm from 2015; which was up 3 ppm from 2014. Both are the fastest increases since NOAA began keeping records.


With republicans in charge of all branches of federal government, there is no hope until the next Presidential election. My hope is that the US and world will eventually truly work at limiting GHG and possibly have a chance to stay under 600ppm.


The sink data might be dated because there was a recent study which found a tremendous increase in plant growth due to increased CO2 levels and it was conjectured that this increase in plant growth explains why CO2 levels in the atmosphere are not higher then they are. In other words, increased plant growth has been a powerful negative feedback although not strong enough to counter emissions. However, scientific studies indicate that once CO2 reaches somewhat higher levels this will no longer increase plant growth so this negative feedback will fade away. And to make matters worse strong powerful feedbacks such a thawing permafrost are likely to really kick in. Even though we are seeing some bad effects of climate change already right now we are probably in the lull before the storm. Fast forward a few decades and climate change seems set to really take off and be devastating around the globe. One reason this problem is so difficult to address is that it remains a story the media cannot cover well for a number of reasons. There is lack of journalists who really understand this issue. The most dramatic effects remain a least a couple of decades in the future. It has to compete with important stories that are unfolding quickly at the present. While scientists know the cause of climate change there are many uncertainties about exactly what is going to happen years from now. Everything is adding up to utter disaster during the second half of this century.


You are a wealth of misinformation yet you pretend to be a fount of wisdom! You make statements as if they are scientifically authoritive but which are little more than poorly researched opinion on your part! You mention a supposed study but don't cite the study nor its authors, so that people can check the info. Cute that!

For example, maybe in your opinion it will take a few decades yet before 'climate change is set to really take off' but maybe you should try doing some detailed research before stating your unscientific opinion or at least try to figure things out on your own first before making your projections. In reality your projections are highly conservative and misleading. 410ppm not high enough to be considered 'taking off'? You try to convey that the 'most dramatic effects remain at least a couple of decades in the future' as if you are being scientific. You are a hidden troll actually. The dramatic effects you mention are the visible signs that it is too late to avoid the worst. Of what use is your projection that climate chaos will begin in the middle of the century? What is dramatic for you? Vast areas of melting permafrost (that I can't see but which is already happening) is horribly dramatic to me. Acidifying oceans that have reached a tipping point in being able to sequester CO2 is dramatic to me though it isn't visible etc.

If people listen to you they will be faced with a 'too late' situation. A few decades at a minimum is 30 years. 30 years of climate change at this rate is catastrophic climate change! You want to pretend that you know but instead you do more harm than good by transmitting inaccurate information.

Do some homework!


Professor Josep Canadell did have a paper in Nature Communications which mentioned a slight pause in atmospheric uptake _measured year to year and attributed it to enhanced plant growth. But that's not a trend, necessarily, and measured against the time we've been keeping the Keeling data, the sinks are still compromised, even if you keep that data. You have to put studies in context. For years, deniers used the extreme 1998 temperature record to say the earth was cooling despite the fact that the longer term trend clearly showed the earth was warming and warming rapidly.


30 years seems a very long period of time considering the shocking changes that have occurred in just the last 10 years. Meltwater in the interior of Antarctica wasn't supposed to happen for centuries or so they said 30 years ago.

We enter the age when people die from the heat in summer. How hot in 30 years?

[authoritative] :nerd:


"With republicans in charge of all branches of federal government, there is no hope until the next Presidential election."

There is no hope for what?
What is it you are hoping for?
And please... be specific.

We just came from having a Democrat in the White House. Three years into his first term the U.S. became the top petroleum and natural gas producer in the world, and a champion salesman for fracking.
Were you not here for that?

People are winning climate change victories on the local and state levels, and they can win on the national level if they are powerful enough - we've showed that on health care.

Waiting for Democrats (or anyone else) to save us is waiting for disaster.


Obama put in place a plan to greatly reduce co2 from power plants. Trump reversed it. Obama put in place a plan to increase mpg in autos. If Trump has not reversed it, I would guess he will.


It wasn't enough. And it won't be enough, the next time the Democrats are in the White House. If there is a next time.

We mad our emissions rules stricter while we stepped up production and shipped the stuff somewhere else. The coal we export, the natural gas and oil we dig up, it all gets burnt. Whether it is burned in the U.S. or burned in another country, we all cook.

If you're looking to fossil-fuel funded politicians for solutions, you're looking in the wrong place.


I actually try to follow the science and not just spout baseless exaggerations about what is happening with regard to climate change. Here is a link to one article on a study finding increase plant growth due to increased carbon dioxide levels which is a negative feedback. We have reached 410 ppm which is alarming. But if we could hold that level it would take 30 to 40 years to see the full effect, which is called the lag time. Of course levels are going to go much higher. If you look at scientific projections I think it is accurate to say things haven't really taken off. If we reach 4C by 2080, which I think is very possible that means we will increase by 1C every 20 years, not every 100 years or so as we have been doing. Also, if sea level increases by 8 feet by 2100, which seems possible, that would be an average of a foot every decade rather than about an inch a decade as we are doing now. In addition, positive feedback from permafrost has not really kicked in yet but there is speculation of that going big time in two or three decades. There is a link to an article from Grist on that. You should follow your own advice and do some homework.


" If you look at scientific projections I think it is accurate to say things haven't really taken off."
I guess it depends on how you define "taken Off". Global warming is an exponential function so if you mean by "taking off" the curve hasn't yet gone vertical then you may be right but the "taking off" part of the curve is the time based increase that connects the relatively linear bottom part of the curve to the steeply rising top part of the curve. If you look at any time based temperature plot for global temperature (https://www.google.com/search?q=time+based+temperature+curve+for+global+warming&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS704US704&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjQuMaNusXTAhVSx2MKHQhSAAUQ_AUICigB&biw=1422&bih=804#imgrc=5OUCUIn6y9GlnM:slight_smile: it is pretty obvious that we are definitely in about the middle of the "taking off" part of the curve.


You don't seem to understand what you read very well. Obviously you rely on headlines rather than building up a personal storehouse of data over the years. For example, you cite the article purporting to show an increase of foliage etc. but even a cursory read of that one article shows the word could being used prominently and not the words will be!

The article cites a resultant CO2 fertilization effect in arid regions COULD happen if the plants received water! Sadly as temperatures rise, arid regions will be receiving less rainfall (characterized in the climate refugee crisis at present). You mistake theoretical research for concrete projections I'm afraid! Furthermore, you seem unaware of current research that have already shown that only certain types of plants (crops) benefited from increased CO2 fertilization while others do not resulting in lower crop yields. Attempts to prove out CO2 fertilization were carried out by a university where two adjacent plots of land were isolated by plastic tenting with one plot received additional CO2 and the other a control that showed that at projected levels increased CO2 decreased foliage in various species and increased it in others but only up to a certain point. One must also project the negative effects of excess heat and dry conditions. Thus the earlier estimates that increased CO2 levels would result in increased foliage have not been borne out by subsequent research. Once again the article you cited (or the headline of the article anyway) does not make the claim that you do. It says plainly that an increase in foliage could occur if the plants in arid regions received water which sadly they will most likely not be doing so.

If the present decline in Arctic sea ice is not a dramatic enough effect in your mind, I repeat that it most certainly is in my mind. You can read and have commented over the months on many articles but apparently you've not retained the data I guess. Whether it is a Northwest Passage or the advent of Arctic drilling, you seem to be reliant on new headlines rather than learning for yourself and understanding what you've learned.

A few dramatic effects that are evidence that climate change has already taken off.

A decline by 1/3 of plankton resulting in 'bluer seas' as seen from space.
Excessively warmer Arctic temps by 11F to 13F degrees on average, resulting in less 'white' (snow and ice) and more greenery and open water in the Arctic.
That vast areas of the north's permafrost are melting is a given already and the reality of permafrost no longer being permanent alone is a shocker but the complete collapse of the Arctic permafrost layer has not yet happened. That it has begun is inescapable and a very dramatic effect.
A slowing of the thermohaline Gulf Stream drift is already occurring.
The Southern oceans off Antarctica have reached near saturation levels of CO2 and are no longer able to sequester it in their lower levels. Furthermore stratification has occurred in deep water preventing the movement of CO2 infused waters down to lower depths.
We have seen winterless winters in the continental USA which have resulted in early springs which have a detrimental effect on animal species etc.!

If these plus recent January temperatures of 65F in the Northeast aren't evidence of climate change really taking off already, I have some beachfront property near Miami that I think you might be interested in buying!


The future estimates of where the world will be keep coming up low. The global heating is happening much faster than IPCC estimates of 10 years ago, even faster than the estimates of 5 years ago.

When you are preparing for a disaster, do you prepare for the best case scenario, or the worst case scenario?

And if you know anything about the latent heat of ice, the loss of Arctic sea ice will have you shaking in your mukluks.

To heat a gram of ice from -1C to 0C takes a calorie, to heat that same gram from ice past the melting point to +1C takes about 80 calories for the latent heat and another calorie to get to +1C. Once that ice is melted and you put another 82 calories into it, you will have 83 degree C water. Once that Arctic ice is gone things will happen fast. Especially since once the ice is gone the albedo changes will mean a lot more heat is absorbed.



And none of these guys are as pessimistic as Guy McPherson.