Global warming is mainly the result of CO2 levels rising in the Earth’s atmosphere. Both atmospheric CO2 and climate change are accelerating. Climate scientists say we have years, not decades, to stabilize CO2 and other greenhouse gases.
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@mospheric Post | Feb 15 2011
@mospheric Post is produced twice monthly by Pro Oxygen and distributed earthwide by CO2Now.org
The Economist | The Difference Engine: The sunbeam solution In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama drew special attention to the $122m research programme on artificial photosynthesis that is underway in laboratories across California. “They’re developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars,” said the 44th president. He might have added that the Joint Centre for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), involving some 200 scientists and engineers from universities and research laboratories around the state, was seeking to make liquid hydrocarbons not from solar-powered electrolysis, biomass, micro-organisms or other round-about routes, but direct from sunlight—just as the chlorophyll in a leaf does.
OnEarth | Rent a Smart Ride
Americans are likely to have their first taste of an all-electric vehicle as a rental car. Our correspondent climbs behind the wheel of one in New York City for a test drive.
Gillette News Record | Climate in the Classroom “The industries want us to be skeptical,” Jacobs said. “When you talk about climate change, you have to talk about it in a neutral, safe voice. You’re not standing on tables, screaming at politicians.” He likened teaching climate change in Campbell County to teaching evolution in the Bible Belt, but his fellow science teacher and curriculum facilitator for secondary science, Mark Winland, didn’t buy the analogy completely. “It’s not necessarily in the same ballpark as evolution because it’s not a matter of is it true or not. It’s pretty cut and dried that we know it’s happening,” Winland said. “It’s also different because one is going up against a set of beliefs and the other is going against a livelihood, and that makes it an emotional issue for a carbon community.”
Climate Progress | That awkward conversation (about the climate) People have lots of opinions about what it takes to be a great parent. But I’m pretty sure that this isn’t on anyone’s list: Lying to your children about the unraveling of nature and the catastrophes that will certainly follow.
ABC ‘Big Idea’ | Dab Ariely on defying logic Australia: The 2008 economic crisis taught us that irrationality is an big player in financial markets. But it is often the case that irrationality also makes it way into our daily lives and decision-making - in slightly different, and vastly more subtle, ways.
Earth Institute | How Plants Could Impact Global Warming Biodiversity influences climate at local, regional and global levels, yet most climate models do not take biodiversity into consideration because its variables and effects are too diverse and complex to compute. Two recent studies, however, demonstrate the importance of being able to consider the response of vegetation to elevated levels of carbon dioxide in climate models as we try to predict our climate future.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | U.S. control of 'rare earth' minerals slipping When China slashed export quotas of fundamental minerals in 2010, it awakened America to a danger that has been building for more than a decade, experts say. Those minerals, called "rare earths," shape a modern nation's defense and economy.
Post Carbon Institute | Hydrocarbons in North America The sheer scale of our dependency on nonrenewable, energy-dense "fossilized sunshine" is often lost on those who believe that renewable energy sources can supplant hydrocarbons at anything like today's level of energy consuption. Thus it is prudent to examine the prognosis for fossil fuels within North America, as they will make up the bulk of our energy consuption for many decades to come. FULL ARTICLE
NY Times | 2 studies target gaps in life-cycle calculations of biofuels Conducting in-depth life-cycle assessments of the environmental impacts of biofuels is complicated, and new research suggests some questions in comparing biofuels to alternatives like petroleum-based fuels will never be answered.
Business World | Fiercer storms to menace warming world The risks from stronger storms flow right through the heart of the global economy, affecting food security and inflation, iron ore and coal production and higher insurance losses.
The Age | Carbon price can't save the planet by itself I have a love-hate relationship with economic rationalism. I have great respect for the power of market forces - individuals and firms do change their behaviour in response to changing prices - but I'm well aware of their limits.
Sidney Morning Herald | Fixed carbon price will be first step to trading scheme A ''hybrid'' model of a fixed carbon price leading to an emissions trading scheme is likely to be agreed by the multi-party climate committee on Friday as the foundation for a new greenhouse reduction policy.
Sydney Morning Herald | Australia admits CO2 emissions will balloon Australia on path to increase carbon dioxide emissions 24% by 2020: Australia's climate change policies will lead greenhouse gas emissions to balloon out of control in the next few years, the federal government says in an annual report to the United Nations.
Climate Spectator | Our carbon task just got harder First, the good news. Australia will, as expected, comfortably meet its Kyoto emission reduction target, and won't get into trouble with the international community when its report card is due at the end of 2012.
Sidney Morning Herald | Garnaut updates gloomy review No doubt Australia's chief climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut, ''gets'' the urgency of the climate debate, but will the politicians listen this time, and what if the whole debate is still in the wrong ballpark? Also read: GarnautReview.org.
The Age | Future cyclones could be more extreme: Garnaut Cycone Yasi is probably early real-world evidence of scientific predictions that global warming will lead to more extreme weather events, according to the government's expert climate change adviser, Professor Ross Garnaut.
ABC Australia | It should be easy being green Is the Australian Government subsidising the fossil fuel industry? That’s the question posed in a recent ABC Unleashed article from the Institute of Public Affairs
The Monthly | Renewable energy Every year the sunburnt country receives enough solar energy from above to meet its current annual energy consumption for 10,000 years. From below, there’s enough geothermal energy for 2.6 million years.
Climate Central | Renewable Cost Parity: Is Wind Competitive With Gas? The wind power industry in the United States had an off year in 2010 in terms of new installations, but the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) greeted the new year with an optimistic statement: that wind power is now largely cost competitive with natural gas.
Climate Spectator | 100% renewable by 2050? Yes, we can Can Australia meet all its energy demands from renewable energy sources by 2050? Could the world? Not if you believe the coal industry, the nuclear lobby or the gas industry. But many in the renewable energy industry and green groups think they can. Also read the WWF Energy Report.
Global CO2 emissions for long-term stabilization of atmospheric CO2
“Stabilizing atmospheric CO2 and climate requires that
net CO2 emissions approach zero”
0 w/m 2 watts per square meter
Global energy balance & the end of global warming
“Stabilizing climate requires, to first order, that we restore Earth’s energy balance.
If the planet once again radiates as much energy to space as it absorbs from the sun,
there no longer will be a drive causing the planet to get warmer.”
0.25 - 0.75 w/m 2
Global energy imbalance from rising atmospheric CO2 | 1750 - 2000
2.07 ppm per year parts per million
Atmospheric CO2 | Average Annual Rise | January 2002 - 2011
January Data Only The rate of increase for the latest decade is higher than any decade since the start of the atmospheric CO2 instrument record in March 1958.
Ocean Acidification: Average pH of Surface Oceans | 2005
Average pH of surface oceans has declined about 0.1 units since before the industrial revolution. This is an increase of about 30% in the concentration of hydrogen ions which is a considerable acidification of the oceans.
“…world leaders should take account of the impact of CO2 on ocean chemistry,
as well as on climate change…we recommend that all possible approaches
be considered to prevent CO2 reaching the atmosphere.”
100-Year Average Global Surface Temperature | January 1901 - 2000
Average Global Surface Temperature | January 2011
January 2011 is the 17th warmest January on record (since 1880). January 2007 is the warmest on record.
Preliminary data reported February 15, 2011 by NOAA-NCDC.
Atmospheric CO2 | Lowest level in 2.1 million years
Signatories to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
The United Nation's ultimate climate objective “is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.”
Atmospheric CO2 | Pre-Industrial Revolution
Atmospheric CO2 was stable at about 280 ppm for almost 10,000 years until 1750.
Atmospheric CO2 | Highest level in at least 2.1 million years (pre-industrial)
Circa 1912, atmospheric CO2 levels breached the 300 ppm threshold for the first time in at least 2.1 million years.
Atmospheric CO2 | Upper Safety Limit
“If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm, but likely less than that… If the present overshoot of this target CO2 is not brief, there is a possibility of seeding irreversible catastrophic effects.”
Atmospheric CO2 | January 2010 | Mauna Loa Observatory
Data reported February 7, 2011 by NOAA-ESRL
Atmospheric CO2 | January 2011 | Mauna Loa Observatory
Preliminary data reported February 7, 2011 by NOAA-ESRL
Atmospheric CO2 | Projection for Year 2100
This scientific projection, reaffirmed December 14, 2010, accounts for the voluntary emissions reductions pledges of parties to the UNFCCC since the Copenhagen climate talks. The projected CO2 level represents a global temperature increase of about 4 °C.
World Population | February 1, 2011
Almost 6.9 billion people are living on planet Earth. If humanity is to achieve a stabilization of atmospheric CO2 at safe levels, this is roughly the number of people who will need to be aligned with net CO2 emissions that approach zero. (See “0 tonnes” in The Climate Sheet.)
Humanity's Global CO2 Emissions | 2009
2009 global CO2 emissions were the second highest in human history. Global fossil fuel emissions – more than 88% of all carbon emissions – are projected to increase by more than 3% in 2010. In the past decade, 47% of CO2 emissions accumulated in the atmosphere, 27% were absorbed by land and 26% were absorbed by the ocean. The 2009 data was published November 21, 2010.
@mospheric Post is an independent, volunteer-driven publication that is produced in Canada by Pro Oxygen, the maker of CO2Now.org. Pro Oxygen distributes @mospheric Post as a free information service for the advancement of climate literacy . . . starting with awareness of atmospheric CO2 and what it means.
Twice a month, @mospheric Post delivers the global numbers earthwide – straight from the atmosphere and virtually in real time. It also gives you access to the latest targets, reports and stories about our world, from around the world. Consider it your online source for getting the straight goods and the big picture on humanity's main environmental challenges.