What is Global Warming?

Blue Man Group on Global Warming:

Our Planet is warming up!

Our Planet is warming up, more than it has in the past 125,000 years.  It is also warming quite rapidly, which is causing great concern amongst those scientists who study these things. Greenhouse gas is the cause  – it is what keeps the planet warm up in the amosphere, creating a greenhouse effect.  But too much is not a good thing. We now have too much, and it has been caused mainly by the rapid expansion of industry, burning fossil fuels for factories and transport, in the developed world, since 1750 or thereabouts.  Before then the carbon in the atmosphere was round 280 ppm – parts per million.  By 2008 it had risen to 385 ppm.

New Carbon emitters

Now that countries like China and India have started to speedily industrialise, they are also speeding up the rate of global warming.    Basically, too many gasses are going up into the atmosphere to be absorbed and “neutralised” by natural processes.  For example, the world’s oceans have been absorbing carbon for eons, but some of them are reaching saturation point and just cannot take any more carbon out of the atmosphere. And we don’t have any spare oceans lying around waiting to take up the slack!

What is a safe carbon level?

Experts believe that a safe level for carbon in the atmosphere is around 350 parts per million.  Not enough carbon in the atmosphere creates a very different problem  – at one stage, long before humans roamed the earth, long before the dinasours, the carbon in the atmosphere dropped to below 260 ppm  – some sort of tipping point occurred, and the ice spread in massive sheets right up to the equator.  Luckily some microbial material survived the cold and, when the ice eventually melted, there was some life left on earth to start a new cycle.

A tipping point?

This is what causes avalanches, for example.  Just that extra bit of snow, that tremor, that sound blast from a thunderclap, is enough to start a major avalanche, sweeping everything before it as it tumbles down to its new level.  You can test this with a salt cellar.  Just start pouring salt onto a plate.  It piles nicely up, but eventually reaches a point  – the tipping point  – where you cannot add one extra grain of salt without the whole pile collapsing.  There are so many examples of tipping points in nature that we need to really, really respect them.

I’m not trying to worry you unduly, but you need to know that we have another potential problem looming  – melting of the Artic and Antartic icemasses, particularly where they are melting from below, releasing methane gas into the water, and eventually into the atmosphere.  Methane is scary.

Check out Climate Change: a Guide for the Perplexed (New Scientist): www.tinyurl.com/3bl5e6


Al Gore, an Inconvenient Truth

Al Gore, ex Vice President of the United States, took his concerns about the environment to the American public and internationally, and really got people talking. Many people credit him with drawing attention to  global warming around the world with his movie, An Inconvenient Truth.  Watch the 2006 trailer here: You can rent the full DVD …

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Scary stories on Global Warming

Methane Release We are concerned about emissions from fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel.  Another major concern is the potential for vast quantities of methane to be released into the atmosphere.  It is serious, yet this look at methane escaping has its lighter moments:   Runaway population growth is also a big issue.  Keep …

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Global Warming skeptics

OK, I just found this out!  Apparently the same scientists who spoke strongly against the USA controlling tobacco sales and suing the manufactures are the same scientists who are speaking out against global warming! They have their (slightly crazy) reasons, but their strategy is to raise doubt about the scientific results from other people.  What …

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Can we influence government?

Yes, indeed! Governments respond to numbers!   So get out there and convince others of the importance of doing everything they can to encourage government, at federal, state and local level, to stop tiptoeing around the problem and see it as a giant opportunity for long term well-being.    We need courageous leaders now more …

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Reducing Carbon Levels

Reducing global carbon levels will require widespread global and government support.  While the higher-ups are arguing about ways of doing it, even as the carbon levels rise, you can do something in your home, garden, community or school.  It appears that governments won’t act until a) we face a catastrope or b) voters tell them …

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