Today's global warming level - a quick and not-so-happy summary

Let's start with a few of today’s shocking global warming facts:

In spite of all the media PR, all the 21 climate conferences over the last 30 years, and all the national reduction pledges, things are not just getting gradually worse in a linear progression (1,2,3,4, etc.), they're getting worse in an exponential progression (2,4,8,16, etc.)! When we measure current rates of toxic carbon and methane pollution going into the atmosphere, there is now no way to deny it; we are not winning the escalating global warming battle!  

In spite of 30 years of warnings by credible scientists, the environmental movement and an increasing body of compelling scientific evidence (now agreed to by almost all of the scientists qualified in climate science), the toxic carbon and methane pollution of the atmosphere has not slowed or even leveled off.

Leading climate scientists like James Hansen (former head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies who also originally warned us about the global warming danger 30 years ago) say that we would remain safe if carbon in the atmosphere did not go over 350 parts per million (ppm). As of February of 2016, carbon ppm was near 405.35 ppm and increasing at about 2-3+ ppm per year in a nonlinear, exponential progression.

Atmospheric CO2

Worse yet, if you include atmospheric methane and other greenhouse gas pollutants, our current adjusted carbon ppm is already near 430 ppm or 430 ppm of CO2e! (When you combine the global warming heating effect of carbon with other greenhouse gases it is called the CO2e ppm rating. Also see the rapidly rising carbon only ppm graph curve farther below. It does not show atmospheric methane included.) 

See the rapidly rising carbon ppm graph curve just below. Please note that It does not include and show atmospheric methane pollution. If it did, it would be at a effect-combined level of about 430 ppm.

We will be at carbon 450 ppm in 10 years or less if we include atmospheric methane in our calculations. To put this in a time lapse perspective, from 1850 to about 1950, carbon pollution was steady at about a 1 ppm per year increase. From 1950 to 2000, the increase rose to 2 ppm per year, and now in its current exponential curve it is at 2.75 ppm per year and rising rapidly toward 3+ ppm per year in possibly just a few more years. If carbon continues to rise in this exponentially and nonlinear way and continues virtually unchecked by our ineffective actions as it appears it may, after the year 2025 the increase will reach a possible level of 4-5 ppm per year from its current level of about 2.7 ppm per year.

According to James Hansen, carbon 450 ppm would correspond to an average global temperature increase of 6 degrees Fahrenheit in this century and “the end of human civilization as we’ve come to know it.” Based on carbon ppm levels already in the system and soon reaching the 450 mark, this means that a 2.7-degree Celsius global temperature increase (6 plus degrees Fahrenheit) may already be an inescapable reality.

Unfortunately, it gets much worse! It is also highly probable that because of our denial and delay in facing and addressing the escalating global warming emergency with honest and effective measures, carbon parts per million in the atmosphere will most likely continue to rapidly rise to and beyond carbon 550 ppm, which translates to a 3-4+ degree Celsius increase (6-8+ degrees Fahrenheit) in average global temperature. For every degree of Celsius temperature increase, global food production will drop 10% in many southern areas while the human population will continue to soar toward 9 billion. Climate scientists who are normally guarded in their language call a 4 degree Celsius increase (6-8 degrees Fahrenheit) in average global temperature "Hell on Earth."

Here are a few of today’s shocking big picture global warming facts:

  1. We the general public are not being honestly told how bad escalating global warming actually is right now, or how bad it will become if we continue as we are now. The fossil fuel heavily lobbied or owned global media are telling us what will not alarm us to the real dangers and will allow the fossil fuel industry to continue “business as usual.”  Current fossil fuel use values for toxic carbon air pollution are more than 404 parts per million (ppm.) This is higher than at any other time in the last 1 million years (and maybe higher than any time in the last 25 million years.) This new carbon pollution record represents an increase of 85 carbon ppm in the 55 years since David Keeling began making his revolutionary atmospheric carbon pollution measurements at Mauna Loa. (See graphs one and four below.)

  2. Even more disturbing than the historic magnitude of this change is the fact that the rate of toxic carbon pollution accumulating in the atmosphere has been rapidly increasing over the last few decades. If we keep doing only what we have been doing to resolve global warming, this also means that future increases will happen even faster. (See graphs one and two below.)

  3. When averaged over 55 years, the increase in toxic carbon pollution has been about 1.55 ppm per year. However, the most recent data suggest that the annual increase is more than 2.75 ppm of carbon pollution per year.

Our 30-year inability to get the global warming emergency under control is in part due to:

  1. The lack of national and international verifiable and enforceable international laws making large-scale toxic carbon and methane pollution of the atmosphere a strongly punished crime against both current society members and future generations.
  2. The physical time lags in developing and deploying the infrastructure needed for the new green energy technologies (10-15 years if everyone on the planet and every government all agreed to do this immediately and there was no budgetary or resource restrictions in completing this life-critical project).

  3. The existing carbon pollution momentum already in the atmosphere. It will take numerous decades if not the rest of this century to eliminate it if we could immediately get our carbon 430 ppm level back down to carbon 350 to 325 ppm.

If the escalating global warming emergency and its consequent climate destabilization proceeds to the levels currently being predicted, it will eventually cost the global society hundreds of trillions of dollars in crisis recovery as well as soaring insurance rates, massive real estate depreciation, and massive coastal and other infrastructure losses, in addition to the vast amount of human suffering and death. The Stern Review estimated that the costs of catastrophic climate destabilization will eventually grow to consume as much as 5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of every nation on earth—and that is not even at climate destabilization's latter, or worse, stages! (The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change is a 700-page report released for the British government. The report discusses the effect of global warming on the world economy.)

Right now most nations are struggling with over indebtedness and their economies are in trouble with anemic annual growth. How will many of these nations, particularly the weakest ones, remain politically or financially viable, stable, or even in existence if another 5% or more of their total GDP is drained off each year into the continually escalating costs of climate destabilization?

The global warming emergency and its consequent climate destabilization is already here! Its super storms, flooding, wildfires, heat waves, migrating insect infestations, and droughts will continue increasing in scale, severity, and frequency.

The real battle now lies in how to keep irreversible global warming from rising to an extinction-level event where human-caused carbon and methane pollution levels in the atmosphere push the global temperature increases to 5-6 degrees Celsius (8-12 degrees Fahrenheit) and beyond.

Go to the next page in this briefing called: Future global warming - unfortunately it gets worse.

Sign the petition to: Declare a Global Warming State of Emergency

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David Pike, Editor