The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased at record speed last year to hit a level not seen for more than three million years, the UN has warned.
The new report has raised alarm among scientists and prompted calls for nations to consider more drastic emissions reductions. “Globally averaged concentrations of CO2 reached 403.3 parts per million (ppm) in 2016, up from 400.00 ppm in 2015 because of a combination of human activities and a strong El Niño event,” according to The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, the UN weather agency’s annual flagship report. The increase of 3.3 ppm is considerably higher than both the 2.3 ppm rise of the previous 12 months and the average annual increase over the past decade of 2.08ppm.
The study, which uses monitoring ships, aircraft and stations on the land to track emissions trends since 1750, said carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now increasing 100 times faster than at the end of the last ice age due to population growth, intensive agriculture, deforestation and industrialisation. The last time Earth experienced similar CO2 concentration rates was during the Pliocene era (three to five million years ago), when the sea level was up to 20m higher than now.
The authors urged policymakers to step up countermeasures to reduce the risk of global warming exceeding the Paris climate target of between 1.5C and 2C. “Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, we will be heading for dangerous temperature increases well beyond the 2C target and probably beyond 3C. International efforts to act have also been weakened by US president Donald Trump’s decision to quit the accord.
Prof Dave Reay, professor of carbon management at the University of Edinburgh, said: “This should set alarm bells ringing in the corridors of power. We know that, as climate change intensifies, the ability of the land and oceans to mop up our carbon emissions will weaken. There’s still time to steer these emissions down and so keep some control, but if we wait too long humankind will become a passenger on a one-way street to dangerous climate change.”
WAKE UP WORLD - WE ARE KILLING OUR PLANET!
“The numbers don’t lie. We are still emitting far too much and this needs to be reversed,” the head of UN Environment Erik Solheim said in reaction to the new report. “What we need now is global political will and an extreme sense of urgency.” The report comes amid growing concerns that nature’s ability to deal with CO2 is weakening. Recent studies show forest regions are being cleared and degraded so rapidly that they are now emitting more carbon than they absorb.
“These large increases show it is more important than ever to reduce our emissions to zero – As soon as possible,” said Piers Forster, director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds. “If vegetation can no longer help out absorbing our emissions in these hot years we are in trouble.”
The World Meteorological Organisation predicts 2017 will again break records for global concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane.
CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES LIGHT UP THE HOLIDAY SEASON
WITH MASS DESTRUCTION
Bottom Left Photo Shows A Row of Homes Burning Down
Thousands of people in Southern California were forced to evacuate this week as wind-whipped wildfires continued to blaze across Ventura County. Officials said the so-called “Thomas Fire,” which started Monday about 60 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, has now caused at least 50,000 people to evacuate, destroyed at least 476 structures and scorched roughly 143,000 acres so far. About 15,000 additional structures are threatened by the wildfire as well, according to officials.
“This is the new normal,” Gov. Jerry Brown warned Saturday after surveying damage from the deadly Ventura County fire that has caused the most destruction. “We’re about ready to have firefighting at Christmas. This is very odd and unusual.”
Well into what’s considered the wet season, there’s been nary a drop of rain. That could spell more disaster for a region that emerged this spring from a years long drought and now has firefighters on edge because of parched conditions and no end in sight to the typical fire season.
Even as firefighters made progress containing six major wildfires from Santa Barbara to San Diego County and most evacuees were allowed to return home, predicted gusts of up to 50 mph (80 kph) through Sunday posed a threat of flaring up existing blazes or spreading new ones. High fire risk is expected to last into January.
Overall, out-of-control fires have destroyed nearly 800 homes and other buildings, killed dozens of horses and forced more than 200,000 people to flee flames that have burned over 270 square miles (700 square kilometers) since Monday.
Firefighters were on high alert for dangerous fire potential even before the first blazes broke out. On Dec. 1, they began planning for extreme winds forecast in the week ahead.
There are 45,000 vine-growing acres in the Napa Valley and 60,000 in Sonoma, together producing the most highly prized and highest-priced wine in California. It’s not yet known how many plants in those acres have been damaged by this month’s fire—buildings destroyed and human lives lost can be counted, but grapevine loss is harder to see.
Venus may once have had a shallow liquid-water ocean and habitable surface temperatures for up to 2 billion years of its early history, according to computer modeling of the planet’s ancient climate by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. The findings, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, were obtained with a model similar to the type used to predict future climate change on Earth. “Many of the same tools we use to model climate change on Earth can be adapted to study climates on other planets, both past and present,” said Michael Way, a researcher at GISS and the paper’s lead author. “These results show ancient Venus may have been a very different place than it is today.”
It is believed that Venus originally had water like the Earth but because Venus is closer to the sun, the water vaporized into its atmosphere from the sun's heat. The water vapor broke up into hydrogen and oxygen high in its atmosphere. The hydrogen was then carried away into space by the solar wind. So today, Venus has practically no water and thus has no mechanism to bind its carbon dioxide to water to form organic life forms like on Earth. Without this mechanism, the carbon dioxide on Venus built up to its present day level from volcanic eruptions.
The Birth of Venus - Sandro Botticelli
Venus and the Earth are about the same size and are both solid planets, unlike the outer planets that are mostly made from gas. Because of this similarity, Venus and Earth are often referred to as twin planets. It is ironic that Venus is also the name of the goddess of love because a better name for the planet Venus would be simply Hell.
Scientists long have theorized that Venus formed out of ingredients similar to Earth’s, but followed a different evolutionary path. Measurements by NASA’s Pioneer mission to Venus in the 1980s first suggested Venus originally may have had an ocean. However, Venus is closer to the sun than Earth and receives far more sunlight. As a result, the planet’s early ocean evaporated, water-vapor molecules were broken apart by ultraviolet radiation, and hydrogen escaped to space. With no water left on the surface, carbon dioxide built up in the atmosphere, leading to a so-called runaway greenhouse effect that created present conditions.
Today Venus is a hellish world. It has a crushing carbon dioxide atmosphere 90 times as thick as Earth’s. There is almost no water vapor. Temperatures reach 864 degrees Fahrenheit (462 degrees Celsius) at its surface.
Venus is suffering from global warming on an unimaginable scale. The atmosphere of Venus is almost 100 percent carbon dioxide. Venus's average temperature is 850 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hotter than molten lead. This is even hotter than the surface of mercury which is the closest planet to the sun.
The clouds that obscure its surface are composed of sulfuric acid which is the same thing as battery acid. Sometimes rain falls from these clouds in the form of pure acid. Venus's cloud cover blocks out so much sunlight that were it not for the greenhouse effect of its carbon dioxide, its temperature would be quite cold at -44 degrees Fahrenheit. This greenhouse effect means the difference between a cold Alaskan winter day and hot molten lead.