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Climate Crisis Accelerating

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.

3 comments to Climate Crisis Accelerating

  • manning120

    Not that I disagree with your suggestion about alternative modes of transportation, but the one thing that would make the most difference is finding a way to use solar/wind/tides or other non-fossil fuel energy sources to power vehicles and other motorized devices. Electrical power is the most likely to gain acceptance for the foreseeable future. The recent advances in electrically powered cars are a start, but nowhere near what we need. And even an acceptable electric vehicle wouldn’t meet our needs unless the electrical power is produced without burning fossil fuel. And of course car production also should utilize non-fossil fuel energy. Nobel prizes should go to people advancing us toward that goal.

    • Bill

      For those who have the financial resources and who live in suitable locations, installing photovoltaics on your roof to generate your own electricity is a brilliant thing to do. Federal and state tax breaks for photovoltaics, combined with rapidly dropping prices for the panels themselves, make this more affordable than you might think…I encourage folks to contact a solar company and have them analyze your net cost. In many areas the local power company will buy your excess electricity…your meter runs backwards when you’re generating more than you’re using, which will often be the case for a sufficiently sized installation.

      This is a rare instance where the usual BS about the miracle of free markets actually rings true. If the power companies and the government won’t take the bull by the horns, individual consumers can lead the way. This is really where society is necessarily headed — every home, every building generating its own non-polluting electricity, plus a little extra for the next guy. Let’s go there.

  • Tom

    Have you noticed how thin the leafage is on most trees this year? Is it me or does everything look withered? And this is spring. i hope the scrawny leaves can last til fall.

    i don’t think it’ll be a big surprise when there are actual food shortages (ie big jump in prices for commodities, spotty utilities, but “clean” running water still available) this fall either, do you? Nah, we’re ready for it.
    Really. No, we can handle it.

    What a ya mean there’s only three days of food in reserve at the food store? Hold up. What, power’s gonna be down til next month?

    Oh, yeah, we’re humanity. We’re clever and resourceful. Civilized and cooperative when the shit hits the fan
    like the Watts Riot on steroids.

    And once the grid fails for a prolonged period of time we have nuclear plant problems like Fukushima many times over in the U.S.

    By the way we’re not only being nuked by Fukushima still, but also all the other radiation we’ve made from A and H bomb tests, medical waste, and used fuel rods lying around whose half life is in the thousands of years.

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