On the verge of runaway global warming?

[On my personal weblog, I have a category called “Death of The Planet?” … the item below is a classic example. Stuff like this should be headline news, instead, it is buried on the back pages and not thought about in the corridors of power. Ratification of the Kyoto protocol and the state of the global environment should have been a major topic of discussion in the recent presidential election… wonder why they weren’t? See this Green Party press release: Kerry, Bush Defer to Lobbies on Global Warming, Fossil Fuels.

I think that the cause of this can be traced to increased economic activity in India and China – more coal being burned for power, more gasoline being consumed in automobiles. … and it is only going to get worse: GDP’s don’t expand at near double digit rates (or better) without increased energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

Twenty years from now, we’re going to look back on this era, and wonder how we missed the many obvious signals of distress and impending disaster being given off by the planet’s ecosystem. Our descendants will curse our ignorance and blindness. -Thomas]

Climate fear as carbon levels soar

Scientists bewildered by sharp rise of CO2 in atmosphere for second year running

Paul Brown, environment correspondent

Monday October 11, 2004

The Guardian

An unexplained and unprecedented rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere two years running has raised fears that the world may be on the brink of runaway global warming.

Scientists are baffled why the quantity of the main greenhouse gas has leapt in a two-year period and are concerned that the Earth’s natural systems are no longer able to absorb as much as in the past.

The findings will be discussed tomorrow by the government’s chief scientist, Dr David King, at the annual Greenpeace business lecture.

Measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere have been continuous for almost 50 years at Mauna Loa Observatory, 12,000ft up a mountain in Hawaii, regarded as far enough away from any carbon dioxide source to be a reliable measuring point.

In recent decades CO2 increased on average by 1.5 parts per million (ppm) a year because of the amount of oil, coal and gas burnt, but has now jumped to more than 2 ppm in 2002 and 2003.

[… continued at link above …]