Current and future carbon levels from burning fossil fuels will determine the quality and length of our lives. Not understanding what these future carbon levels are and mean is seriously perilous to your well-being and future financial stability.
Carbon is the current key greenhouse gas in raising the average global temperature. The carbon level in the atmosphere measured in parts per million (ppm) comes significantly from our burning of fossil fuels. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, most of this atmospheric carbon has been caused by fossil fuel burning.
Because of the known effects of greenhouse gases like carbon, an increasing carbon ppm level in our atmosphere is one of the best, if not the best predictor of future global warming temperature increases.
As of May 2018, we have 411 parts per million (ppm) of carbon in our atmosphere. On the average, over the last 6 decades, we are adding about an increase of 3 + new carbon ppm in the atmosphere each year. On the average, over the last 60 years, for every additional 25 PPM of carbon that goes into the atmosphere, our average global temperature goes up .5 degrees Fahrenheit or about .25 degrees C.
If you look at the trendline on the graph below, you can clearly see we are in serious trouble! In spite of everything you are hearing about all we are doing to reduce global warming over the past 30+ years, from the graph below you can clearly see that global warming from increased atmospheric carbon is not only continuing to get worse, it is getting worse at an even faster rate.
There are minor monthly variations in carbon ppm levels from year to year, as well as cyclical weather variations due to things like El Nino or La Nina. In spite of such normal carbon ppm variations, the clearly dominant trend shown above for the last 70 years is carbon ppm rising faster and faster.
At just these current carbon levels, the stability of the bellwether West Antarctic ice sheet has already been breached and this ice shelf loss is now irreversible. (The West Antarctic ice sheet is an excellent example of another critical global warming tipping point the world has hurdled past far faster than anyone had predicted or foreseen.)
At the current carbon level and as it rises we will continue crossing more of the 11 critical global warming tipping points within the climate’s many systems and subsystems, but now at an even faster rate. Once we cross the carbon 500 ppm level, as soon as 2042-2067 or earlier, ALL ice and ALL glaciers on Earth will go into complete meltdown!
Crossing the carbon 500 ppm threshold has, in fact, happened repeatedly in Earth's geological history. When this has occurred, the sea level inevitably rose to the 70 meters (230 feet) range. At our current annual carbon ppm emission rates, we will reach this catastrophic carbon 500 ppm range.
If we cross that final battle line by passing the atmospheric carbon level of 500 parts per million (ppm), our average global temperature will soar to 4°C (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit). At 4°C, a large portion of humanity will die of starvation (or of increased heat's other related consequences) and, governments and society will collapse in many areas of the world.
Even though it will take many centuries for the seas to rise 230 feet, there will still be sea level rise spurts within those centuries where sea level rise 10 feet or more in just a few decades as it has also done repeatedly in Earth's past.
Take a moment to visualize the seas eventually rising 230 feet and what this will mean to the generations that follow us. Take a moment to visualize massive crop failures around the world because of the increased heat and the consequent mass suffering of slow starvation if we pass the carbon 500 ppm level.
Unfortunately, this is not even the worst case problems we will soon be facing on the slippery steep slope of carbon 500 ppm. If we cross the carbon 500 ppm battle line, it is also highly probable we will quickly reach carbon 600 ppm level within another 25-30 years.
This new carbon 600 ppm level will raise the average global temperature to 5°C (9 degrees Fahrenheit) and bring about additional massive methane releases from ocean coastal shelves and permafrost. Because methane is 86 times more potent than carbon as a greenhouse gas, this will once again rapidly spike average global temperatures and bring about the extinction of most of humanity and the end of civilization as we know it. Several past mass extinction events possibly linked in this way to ocean coastal shelves suddenly releasing methane clathrate are the Permian-Triassic extinction event and the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.
When we reach carbon 500 ppm in about another 20 years or carbon 600 ppm about 25 to 30 years after that as soon as 2077-2097 or earlier, we will greatly accelerate the process of crossing more global warming tipping points. This will further spike average global temperature. As we reach the carbon 500 ppm and carbon 600 ppm levels, we will also cross into the later and most dangerous phases of the Climageddon Scenario (described in the new Climageddon book.) with all of its related unconscionable consequences.
Take a moment and think about the reality that at carbon 600 ppm as soon as 2077-2097 or earlier, we trigger the final processes that will bring about the extinction of 70 to 90% of humanity if not more. At this carbon level, civilization will also collapse and the unlucky survivors will enter into an ecological and climate hell and social dark age that will make the survivors wish they were dead.
As see if the above was not bad enough, there are several more factors that need to be considered in the nightmare global warming Climageddon Scenario we are now all facing:
1. At the minimum, the relative time frame for removing (sequestering) the carbon particles we are currently adding to our atmosphere is centuries to thousands of years. This means that long, long after we stop polluting our atmosphere with fossil fuels, the two carbon 500 and 600 ppm consequence levels discussed above and many of the other 20 most deadly consequences of those actions and global warming will last for many, many generations, and both we and future generations will suffer dearly for our failures to address and resolve this emergency now.
2. Because of the laws of physics concerning adding additional atmospheric greenhouse gases like carbon, global temperature will continue to rise as we continue adding more carbon and other greenhouses gas particles into the atmosphere from our fossil fuel use. Adding the additional three or more carbon ppm per year as we are doing now is based only on the current population. It does not include any additional amounts for the added carbon ppm amounts to compensate for the additional fossil fuel energy use of the human population soaring from 7 billion today to 14 billion people by around 2050 or, that many more people from the developing world will by 2050 move into the middle class demanding the same high carbon fossil fuel use comforts of the developed world! When you add all of the additional carbon that will be burned from these two factors to our current average annual increase of three carbon ppm per year at our current population level, the future looks considerably worse and predicted consequences will arrive even sooner.
3. The steady rise of methane in the atmosphere from new releases of methane from increased fracking, melting permafrost, and leaking natural gas lines. Methane is about 86 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon to increase global warming. There is also a concerted effort by the fracking industry to keep the ominous growing total methane release amounts hidden from the public. When you add in the effects of methane for raising our temperature along with the effects of carbon, we are probably already well above our current carbon 411 ppm.
For more information about how we are locked into irreversible global warming for at least the next 50 years, click here.
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