Energy blog

 

Climate change is a scientific fact

Kimmo Klemola
14.06.2005

Scientists are very much in agreement that we have enough evidence of man-caused climate change and the risks it brings to us. I am also sure that anyone with enough capabilities and open mind will be convinced when reading enough scientific articles about the topic. The issue is complex and there is not such a simple proof as for "two is greater than one".

Simply put, the man-caused climate change is mostly due to burning of fossil fuels (a smaller effect is cutting of forests, urbanization, cement industry etc.). In the industrial age since 1800s, we have burnt fossil fuels so much that simple balance would estimate that the CO2 level would have risen from 280 ppm to 480 ppm. Instead, it has risen only to 380 ppm, which is more than for millions of years.

The rest is in the oceans affecting the coral reefs and ocean biology. I am pessimistic that we can do too much. We will burn all our fossils and the ppm level will jump to 600 something and a lot will end up in the oceans. Fourier and Arrhenius already in 1800s predicted quite right the temperature rising effect of "carbonic acid" in the atmosphere.

Those who deny that the change in CO2 in the atmosphere from the preindustrial 280 ppm to current 380 ppm and projected ca. 600 ppm, which is due to human activities, have no effect on climate or global temperature, deny the very basics of physics. They are like creationists denying evolution.

Climate change is not necessarily global warming. It may be local warming, local cooling, drought somewhere, more rains somewhere.

Anyone can understand that human activities have impact on waters, rivers, lakes and oceans. Why should air be far different?

A man-caused (anthropogenic) climate change is a scientifically proven fact. There is climate change and global warming, but not necessarily warming everywhere. In some locations we may see tiny ice age.

A great majority of scientists see climate change as a very dangerous and potential threat. What is the solid proof that we still have to wait before acting, and can we afford waiting without acting?

Cutting the carbon emissions is beneficial also in many other ways:

  • Our fossil resources will last longer. The extra oil you spend driving a SUV could be used by your grandchildren in the future.

  • Dependence of Middle East would be smaller. There would not be such a desperate need to attack other nations.

  • Not only atmosphere but also the whole ecosystem of the oceans is adversely affected by the increasing CO2 content of atmosphere.

Volcanic vs. anthropogenic CO2 emissions

Volcanic eruptions are natural and in fact they gave us carbon some billions of years ago for the start of life on earth. The rest is carbon cycle in biosphere. Anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are caused by burning of fossil fuels, and they are an extra load to atmosphere and biosphere. Now there is some 40% more CO2 in the atmosphere than in preindustrial era, and the increase will be 100% during this century.

 

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