Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Our Carbon Footprint May Be All That's Left Of Us Soon

We may not have as much time as once thought. Recent studies show, along with an ever increasing level in greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere; a corresponding dramatic decline in the ability of the Earth to soak up those man-made emissions is also occurring. Prior to this recent study, half of all man-made emissions of carbon dioxide have been absorbed by "carbon "sinks" on the land and in the sea.

Anthropogenic (man-made) emissions of carbon dioxide are rising three times faster than in the 1990s; the levels are at the highest levels they've ever been in the last 650,000 years causing the Arctic ice cap is melting three times as fast and the seas are rising twice as rapidly. This rise can be traced back to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution 250 years ago, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Once again, after the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide levels started to increase in 1960. Over the last five years, the rise in emissions was four times greater than for the preceding 10 years. Scientists measure carbon dioxide levels at different periods in our history by analyzing gas samples trapped in the frozen bubbles of deep ice cores.

"This is incredibly important. It is bad news because we can't do much about these natural carbon sinks, but the good news is that we can increase the efficiency of fossil fuel use. I would say this is a wake-up call. Things are happening much faster than we expected," -- Dr Le Quéré


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