Oil Change International

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Surge in Carbon Levels Raises Fear of Runaway Warming

Every day the news about climate change seems to get more and more depressing and worrying. Take today’s news.

According to a report in The Guardian, carbon dioxide is accumulating in the atmosphere much faster than scientists expected, raising fears that we may have less time to tackle climate change than previously thought.

New figures reveal that concentrations of CO2 rose at record levels during 2006 – the fourth year in the last five to show a sharp increase. Experts are puzzled because the spike, which follows decades of more modest annual rises, does not appear to match the pattern of steady increases in human emissions.

At its most far reaching, the finding could indicate that global temperatures are making forests, soils and oceans less able to absorb carbon dioxide – a shift that would make it harder to tackle global warming. Such a shift would worsen even the most recent gloomy predictions that we have little over a decade to tackle rising emissions to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Peter Cox, a climate change expert at Exeter University, said: ” The concern is that climate change itself will affect the ability of the land to absorb our emissions. It means our emissions would have a progressively bigger impact on climate change because more of them will remain in the air. It accelerates the rate of change, so we get it sooner and we get it harder.”

Have a happy weekend!

Comments (3)

  1. Chucky says:

    That’s a worrying thought. I don’t like positive feedback (in the control system sense)! If you’re interested in writing a case for climate change, I’m starting a debate about climate change at http://www.wikimocracy.com.

  2. Joel Couch says:

    Please note that an update was posted on the Guardian article. It’s not a withdrawal, but they say that the data was release too soon…something like that.

  3. Andy Rowell says:

    The Guardian update reads:

    “The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) has now told us that the story below is based on preliminary data for December, which it should not have published. It has withdrawn the data pending further analysis. As a result, the provisional annual growth rate for 2006 displayed on the Noaa website now does not include December, which means it is now lower than the 2.6ppm we reported. Pieter Tans, the scientist in charge of the data, said: ‘It doesn’t affect the trend, there is definitely something there. CO2 growth in 2006 was still higher than average and four of the last five years have been higher than average.'”