This week, for the first time in human history, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has gone above 400 parts per million. Carbon dioxide acts to trap energy from solar radiation in our planet’s atmosphere. Increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide have thus been resulting in higher atmospheric temperatures all over the Earth.
Reacting to the news, Congressman James Moran said, “as a result, extreme weather events are going to be evermore frequent and more damaging. We must act before it’s too late. Our window to address the threat of climate change is closing. It’s time to stop the denials and to start acting proactively.”
Of course, it’s not as if the movement from 399 parts per million to 400 parts per million will in itself create a sudden increase in climate catastrophes. Our planet’s climatological system doesn’t recognize the importance of nice, even numbers. The problem is that, year after year, the climate has been shifting, and the rate of the shift has been accelerating.
Real world consequence are not hard to find. In the Arctic, for example, the surface area of sea ice continues to be even lower than it was at the same time last year – and last year, Arctic sea ice reached a smaller surface area than ever seen by human beings.
Fortunately, there are things that we can do to lower atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide. We can choose alternative modes of transportation, besides carbon spewing cars and airplanes, for instance.
Trains are a great alternative to cars. They’re much more energy efficient than individual automobiles, and they allow people to do work while they move, instead of passively sitting behind a steering wheel, unable to do anything but pay attention to the road.
As luck would have it, today is National Train Day. It’s a great day for Americans to recommit to using trains more often, making a shift in their own behavior to reverse the shift toward a hotter climate.