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CO2 'highest for 650,000 years'
November 26, 2005 9:08 AM   Subscribe

CO2 'highest for 650,000 years' Current levels of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere are higher now than at any time in the past 650,000 years. (Found via Treehugger) Sounds like it's time to buy that lovely oceanfront property in Kansas.
posted by Mr Bluesky (38 comments total)

 
damn cows
posted by mischief at 9:10 AM on November 26, 2005


650,000 years of greenhouse gas concentrations. Good article.
posted by stbalbach at 9:15 AM on November 26, 2005


Am I right in noticing stabalbach's graph shows the biggest peak 350 years ago?
posted by shepd at 9:20 AM on November 26, 2005


Well, that can't be true, because the earth is only 6000 years old, anyway. So the jury is still out on global warming. Still! Out!
posted by scody at 9:21 AM on November 26, 2005


I think the "K" refers to 1000, thus 350,000 and its looks like the graph cycles with us currently being in a peak phase. However, if the concentration is higher now than in any of the prior peeks of 650k years my guess is its time to invest stock in SPF products.

(These words have not been scientifivally validated and in no way represent the skill set of Mr. Plank, my HS Physics teacher)
posted by Mr Bluesky at 9:32 AM on November 26, 2005


shepd: that's 350 ky , most probaby k means kilo therefore 350000 years ago
posted by elpapacito at 9:33 AM on November 26, 2005


shepd:

I was confused by that too, until I found this page showing a similar graph with the same discrepency.

The graphs don't include the present levels, which are about 360 ppm.
posted by justkevin at 9:34 AM on November 26, 2005


We should try to reduce emissions, just to keep the high ground. But frankly, China and the developing word don't give an s' about this, so it's unlikely it will make much of a difference. Even assuming human activitiy is responsible.

Ride a bike! Take mass transit!
posted by ParisParamus at 9:43 AM on November 26, 2005


Actually ParisP its sad to say, but US automakers give less of a shit!
posted by Mr Bluesky at 9:50 AM on November 26, 2005


(Clarification, GM China, just like Ford Europe use different business models than their US parent companies)
posted by Mr Bluesky at 9:53 AM on November 26, 2005


Mr. Bluesky, I think the only hope is market forces, which can be influenced my education. To think otherwise, it just naive--at best. Get people to want to dump their big odious cars, and big odious cars will stop being made. Educate the world's louts. But sadly, the vast majority of people are too indifferent, so there's really nothing that can be done. Except education.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:56 AM on November 26, 2005


(by education!)

By the way, one only need extrapolate from other realms to realize how difficult education and enlightening is. Think of all the fools who are still using IE, when several free, dramatically better alternatives are out there.

People are, by and large sheep, be it web browsers, or reckless lifestyles.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:01 AM on November 26, 2005


Mr. Bluesky, I think the only hope is market forces, which can be influenced my education.

Suuuure. Legislation would have no effect at all. Taxes for gas guzzlers would have no effect at all. Bottled water and brand names are perfect example of how market forces are a crock of shit.
posted by furtive at 10:04 AM on November 26, 2005


P.S. I don't disagree on what you have to say about education.
posted by furtive at 10:05 AM on November 26, 2005


my guess is its time to invest stock in SPF products.

Won't help. Excess CO2 causes a runaway greenhouse effect. This will also cause a great deal more cloudyness, the UV flux will drop. So, you won't die of sunburn.

The problem with UV is caused by the degredation of the Ozone Layer -- a trend that has slowed dramatically with the reduction in global CFC use. However, it will take years for the layer to fully rebuild -- but, that's one we're winning.

No, the problem will be the increased temps -- and if it does become a runaway, then forget suntan oil. I suggest a nice pinapple glaze.
posted by eriko at 10:07 AM on November 26, 2005


Furtive, Europe isn't doing any better with CO2 emissions than the US (see failure of Europe to meet Kyoto limits), so what are you proposing in the legislative realm? I'll stick with market forces, at least until I have more confidence in the competence of the progressive forces in Washington. I wouldn't trust John Kerry (or Al Gore) to regulate anything.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:12 AM on November 26, 2005


Europe is warming a lot faster than anywhere else, 2 to 3 times as fast. The current theory is because of increased water vapour.
posted by stbalbach at 10:31 AM on November 26, 2005


the value of market forces is something that people argue from all different points: personally I see market forces as encouraging greed, I have not seen many market orientated ideas that buck the trend of overconsumption. It seems to be an idea suited especially well for those with lots of money and overlooks the idea of common good in favor of individual good.
posted by edgeways at 10:41 AM on November 26, 2005


But frankly, China and the developing word don't give an s' about this,

Sources?
posted by rough ashlar at 10:42 AM on November 26, 2005


RE: Market Forces RE: Legislation. Both in this month's WIRED.

FYI: I drive a F350 Powerstroke Crew Cab, on BioDiesel purchased from a local dealer. My Bio fuel costs more because unlike straight gas its not subsidized by the Govt'. So, I am trying to create a market base but legislation keeps out the majority.
posted by Mr Bluesky at 10:49 AM on November 26, 2005


My Bio fuel costs more because unlike straight gas its not subsidized by the Govt

No shit. We're paying $500B/yr now to secure the Mideast (and, secondarily, Taiwan from our #2 trading partner, LOL).

We also consume 150B gallons of gasoline each year.

$500B / 150B gal = ~$3/gal of defense costs that is subsidized by taxes.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:12 AM on November 26, 2005


Chamber Suggests Taxing Hybrids and Billing Drivers By the Mile Source

If it's not legislation it's marketing rising gasoline price because of some Hurricane Schmurricane.

Education , ParisP ? Yeah in how to stop using gasoline and live happily I s'pose.
posted by elpapacito at 11:41 AM on November 26, 2005


I think the only hope is market forces

Oh, yes, of course, the market forces. Looking at that chart, I think it's obvious that CO2 levels are over-extended, and are near the end of a blowoff phase of speculative excess which has no doubt been fuelled along with these other recent financial bubbles by unprecedented world-wide credit availability and generally easy money. We must be near the peak by now, and I forecast a gradual return to normal atmospheric cycles over the next fifty thousand years.

Actually, I expect we'll just run out of fossil fuels pretty soon. Less than a hundred years from now if we manage to keep going at this rate.
posted by sfenders at 12:06 PM on November 26, 2005


We're all doomed anyway, who cares?
posted by IronLizard at 2:40 PM on November 26, 2005


We're all doomed anyway, who cares?

WTF!!! Because we have at least another 5 Season before Desperate Housewives runs it course! You apathetic nihilist!!
posted by Mr Bluesky at 2:53 PM on November 26, 2005


Desperately Drilling for Oil, Season 1 on Fox soon, the trashiest trash for the wiggers.
posted by elpapacito at 4:40 PM on November 26, 2005


Market forces. Well sure, but taxes are themselves market forces. You can see this in the rise of the SUV, which results ultimately from the differential tax treatment of small trucks.

Tax the shit out of fuel and big cars, and that will BE a market force. Education? Bullshit.

(Smoking is another example. We've had public health campaigns in my country for decades. Bugger-all impact. But every time the tax on tobacco goes up, more people quit, and fewer young people can afford to start.)

Worth pointing out though that coal and oil power generation are probably a bigger problem than cars. Nuclear power, kids.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:44 PM on November 26, 2005


Look. Americans are too selfish. Everyone is too fat. It looks kind of hopeless to me.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:58 PM on November 26, 2005


So, fuck it, let's par-tay!
posted by mischief at 5:20 PM on November 26, 2005


*sucks fuel from mischief car tank while he par-ties*
posted by elpapacito at 5:23 PM on November 26, 2005


I think our best hope is the hope that Global Warming isn't that big a deal. The US could cut CO2 emissions by 50%, and it wouldn't mean much in view of Asia and Africa.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:26 PM on November 26, 2005


Asia and Africa are continents. You guys are one country, and by far the worst in the CO2 emission stakes. When the most privileged people in the world won't do anything, nobody else will either.

It is true that the problem requires collective action. Good luck trying to form a collective to do something that you yourself are unwilling to do.

Leadership? Values? What a fucking joke of country you are.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:55 PM on November 26, 2005


Two writers I know of who make sense -- position paper here; weblog here, main website and documents here.

Quote:
" ... we don’t think that what happens in Montreal will be particularly decisive, especially at the level of ministerial talks. It is plain that the ministers are lagging way behind the science, and there is simply no hope that they will agree to, or frankly even propose, anything that approaches the necessary scale of emissions reductions. To be blunt, the willingness to pay is not yet there, and we should not fool ourselves into thinking that there is some tactical maneuver on our part that will miraculously result in the kind of forward-looking, precautionary proposal that we all believe will eventually be needed. Rather we need to focus on continuing to develop the moral arguments and political strategies that can make possible soon what is “unrealistic” today."
End quote.
posted by hank at 6:50 PM on November 26, 2005


Don't worry.

It'll go down the day after Hillary is elected.
posted by HTuttle at 6:54 PM on November 26, 2005


GM and Ford are about to go bankrupt; maybe that's a sign of change...
posted by ronin21 at 1:26 AM on November 27, 2005


"F350 Powerstroke Crew Cab"
that's a cw of 0.7?
posted by borq at 4:35 AM on November 27, 2005


Honestly, can you really say that 650,000 years is a big enough sample for data of this importance? Perhaps we should do more testing (or hold an industry focus group).
posted by LeLiLo at 12:16 PM on November 27, 2005


I seriously wonder about the credibility of these statistics. I once read an article that in the long run it really doesnt matter.

For example, a single volcano eruption gives up MUCH more toxic fumes / co2/ dust / pollution etc than like thousands or millions of cars or something like that, and earth always has a way to deal with it. (Ok i don't know about the credibility of THIS source, but it does get you thinking)
posted by sprockett at 11:06 AM on November 29, 2005


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