World has entered new CO2 'danger zone', UN says

May 13, 2013
United Nations Convention on Climate Change executive secretary Christiana Figueres speaks during a press conference during the UN's 18th Climate Change Conference in Doha on November 30, 2012. The world has entered a "new danger zone" with a record level of Earth-warming carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, Figueres said Monday.

The world has entered a "new danger zone" with levels of Earth-warming carbon dioxide in the atmosphere never experienced by humankind, the UN's climate chief warned Monday.

When it breached the CO2 threshold of 400 parts per million (ppm) last week, the world "crossed an historic threshold and entered a new danger zone," Christiana Figueres said in a statement urging policy action.

The level measured by US monitors has not existed on Earth in three to five million years—a time when temperatures were several degrees warmer and the sea level was 20 to 40 meters (22 to 44 yards) higher than today, experts say.

Before the Industrial Revolution, when man first started pumping carbon into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels, CO2 levels were about 280 ppm—rising steadily since records began in the 1950s.

The 400 ppm symbolic threshold had been expected to be breached for some time, but campaigners say it should nevertheless serve as a wake-up call in efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions through fossil fuel use.

"The world must wake up and take note of what this means for human security, human welfare and economic development," said Figueres, who oversees global negotiations aimed at limiting warming-induced climate change.

"In the face of clear and present danger, we need a policy response which truly rises to the challenge."

Negotiators under the auspices of the United Nations are seeking by 2015 to develop a new, global climate treaty to take effect by 2020.

Nations are simultaneously attempting to find short-term solutions pre-2020 to closing the growing gap between agreed carbon emission targets and the actual curbs required to contain warming.

The UN is targeting a maximum temperature rise of two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) on pre-industrial levels for what scientists believe would be manageable climate change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which informs policy makers, has said atmospheric CO2 must be limited to 400 ppm for a temperature rise of 2-2.4 deg C (3.6 and 4.3 deg F).

Last Friday, however, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's monitoring centre in Mauna Loa, Hawaii, released data showing the daily average CO2 over the Pacific Ocean was 400.03 ppm as of May 9.

A separate monitor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California, measured 400.08 ppm.

"We still have a chance to stave off the worst effects of climate change, but this will require a greatly stepped-up response," Figueres said Monday.

Global climate negotiations have been making poor progress and the yearly rise in emissions has led many scientists to conclude that warming of 3 or 4 C (5.4-7.2 F) is probable by century's end.

The next round of high-level talks are to take place in Warsaw, Poland in December, with a stock-taking session scheduled for Bonn, Germany in June.

Last year's meeting in Doha, Qatar, saw the 27-nation European Union, Australia, Switzerland and eight other industrialised nations sign up for binding emission cuts until 2020 under an extension of the Kyoto Protocol.

Together, the countries represent only 15 percent of global emissions.

The United States, China and India, the world's biggest emitters of CO2, have no binding targets.

On Sunday, a study in the journal Nature Climate Change said more than half of common plant species and a third of animal species are likely to see their living space halved within seven decades on current CO2 emission trends.

Output of man-made greenhouse gases is putting Earth on track for warming of 4 deg C (7.2 deg F) by 2100, it said.

Explore further: Climate chief warns of 'urgency' as CO2 levels rise

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Howhot
4.4 / 5 (13) May 13, 2013
Output of man-made greenhouse gases is putting Earth on track for warming of 4 deg C (7.2 deg F) by 2100, it said.
Just as other calculations have been underestimates, I think the 4C by 2100 is also very conservative. CO2 ppm rise has been exponential and tracks modern population growth and the USA isn't taking a lead role in trying to change or mitigate that. Even so, keep in mind that the 4C is a *global* average rise and that weather will swing it 10C above in some places, and 2C lower in others. All of the computer models I've seen show the USA impacted big by the change. Time to think long term on the Air Conditioning.


cantdrive85
1.9 / 5 (14) May 14, 2013
Dah duh dah dah dah duh daaaaa dunna dirdedowwnnaa... take the highway to the danger zooonneee...
Egleton
4.3 / 5 (12) May 14, 2013
Cue the trolls.
barakn
4.1 / 5 (9) May 14, 2013
This doesn't mean, that the high and sharp shifts from steady state levels cannot affect adversely the terrestrial life (for example with dissolving the shells of corals and plankton, which serve as food for fishes).
You might want to check out the definition of 'terrestrial.'
Howhot
4.3 / 5 (12) May 14, 2013
The world already passed through much higher levels of CO2 and just these epochs manifested itself with highest richness of terrestrial life.


If you think higher CO2 levels from the pre-industrial and greenhouse warming are just superduper for life, I think its wishful thinking. Sure you plankton and other select microbiols will love it! No doubt about that fact. But will people love it? Will the the cattle love it? Will the corn fields love it? There are whole ecosystems dying right now due to AGW, and more will certainly occur. When I read report after report, and look at computer model after computer model the world after 2100 looks radically different from today. Societies will not survive this. The UN predicts very conservatively a 4C global average temperature increase. Locally, that can be much higher in areas. The mid-latitudes where most of the USA resides really gets hammered!

So while it feels good that microbes will survive, people may not!
freeiam
1.4 / 5 (11) May 16, 2013
when I read report after report, and look at computer model after computer model the world after 2100 looks radically different from today. Societies will not survive this. ...

Maybe you read to selectively, or positive reports are not so popular.
Anyway society will survive.
freeiam
1.4 / 5 (11) May 16, 2013
... For example the Dover cliffs were formed before 100 millions of years, when the global temperature was twice as high and the carbon dioxide concentration three times higher than today.

Good point, interesting link.
freeiam
1.4 / 5 (11) May 16, 2013
" ... emissions has led many scientists to conclude that warming of 3 or 4 C (5.4-7.2 F) is probable by century's end. "

Read this as: not every one of us scientists belief that the earth will warm 3 C by century's end.
Howhot
4.6 / 5 (10) May 16, 2013
The not so free of mind @freeiam says;
Maybe you read to selectively, or positive reports are not so popular.Anyway society will survive.
It may survive but will it be desirable to like in the world? Your missing the bigger picture since not only will there be environmental and ecosystem changes in response to a warming climate, population pressures will put large strains on food and economic resources. At the same time we can expect ocean levels to rise as the land ice on Greenland and the Antarctic melts sweeping away vast ranges of land.
Read this as: not every one of us scientists belief that the earth will warm 3 C by century's end.
When a study shows that from a sample of 12,000 published papers on climate nearly all have the same broad consensus that global warming will just get worst unless actions are taken, you must be one of the few "us scientists" that hasn't published!

deepsand
3.1 / 5 (13) May 16, 2013
... For example the Dover cliffs were formed before 100 millions of years, when the global temperature was twice as high and the carbon dioxide concentration three times higher than today.

Good point, interesting link.
" ... emissions has led many scientists to conclude that warming of 3 or 4 C (5.4-7.2 F) is probable by century's end. "

Read this as: not every one of us scientists belief that the earth will warm 3 C by century's end.

Are you claiming to be a scientist, and one who fails to understand that the formation of the Cliffs of Dover is of no material relevance to global warming and its effects on today's ecosystems?
antigoracle
1.3 / 5 (14) May 17, 2013
Just more hot air from the AGW Cult. An act of desperation as their AGW LIES tumble.
deepsand
3.5 / 5 (16) May 17, 2013
Just more hot air from the AGW Cult. An act of desperation as their AGW LIES tumble.

What planet are you from?
Howhot
4.5 / 5 (8) May 17, 2013
Come on; surely the anti has more than "Actually, what I'd like is a little toy spaceship!!"

freeiam
1.4 / 5 (11) May 17, 2013
Are you claiming to be a scientist, and one who fails to understand that the formation of the Cliffs of Dover is of no material relevance to global warming and its effects on today's ecosystems?

No, just pointing out the fact that not all scientists of the convention agree on the given estimates and that science by consensus is a contradiction in terms.
antigoracle
1.3 / 5 (14) May 17, 2013
Just more hot air from the AGW Cult. An act of desperation as their AGW LIES tumble.

What planet are you from?

The planet of:
Climategate in which the top AGW "scientists" conspire to deceive the public, intimidate and discredit TRUE scientist who bound by their integrity refuse to join the AGW CULT and propagate their LIES.

Vicar Gore who burns more power than most third world villages and then pays himself through his carbon credit company in order to fool the AGW Zealots into boasting that he is carbon neutral.

Bewildered AGW cult scientists who cannot explain why with increasing CO2 the planet is cooling.
deepsand
3.4 / 5 (15) May 17, 2013
Are you claiming to be a scientist, and one who fails to understand that the formation of the Cliffs of Dover is of no material relevance to global warming and its effects on today's ecosystems?

No, just pointing out the fact that not all scientists of the convention agree on the given estimates and that science by consensus is a contradiction in terms.

No one but you and your ilk are suggesting that "science by consensus" is here in play.

Furthermore, by suggesting that the case would be different if there existed a unanimity of opinion contradicts your own objection, as unanimity is but consensus in the extreme.

In this case, a consensus has arisen because the Science is sound.
deepsand
3.5 / 5 (16) May 17, 2013
Just more hot air from the AGW Cult. An act of desperation as their AGW LIES tumble.

What planet are you from?

The planet of:
Climategate in which the top AGW "scientists" conspire to deceive the public, intimidate and discredit TRUE scientist who bound by their integrity refuse to join the AGW CULT and propagate their LIES.

Repeating your ill informed and non-substantive retorts serves no purpose.

Bewildered AGW cult scientists who cannot explain why with increasing CO2 the planet is cooling.

Neither will repeating the well refuted lie that Earth is cooling.

You are like a little child repeating the same nonsense over and over for the sake of drawing attention to himself.
deepsand
3.3 / 5 (14) May 17, 2013
Are you claiming to be a scientist, and one who fails to understand that the formation of the Cliffs of Dover is of no material relevance to global warming and its effects on today's ecosystems?

No, just pointing out the fact that not all scientists of the convention agree on the given estimates and that science by consensus is a contradiction in terms.

I would amplify by pointing out that "science by consensus" is NOT "a contradiction in terms." I leave it as an exercise for you to puzzle that out.

As for the Cliffs of Dover, still waiting your reasoning as to why such are material to the subject at hand.
djr
4.7 / 5 (12) May 18, 2013
Anti: "Bewildered AGW cult scientists who cannot explain why with increasing CO2 the planet is cooling."

Please provide evidence that the planet is cooling.
freeiam
1.4 / 5 (11) May 18, 2013
No one but you and your ilk are suggesting that "science by consensus" is here in play.

Furthermore, by suggesting that the case would be different if there existed a unanimity of opinion contradicts your own objection, as unanimity is but consensus in the extreme.

In this case, a consensus has arisen because the Science is sound.

What's my ilk? Your reaction is very stereotype for 'your ilk'. Success with that.
No, no contradiction, I mentioned two facts, you know, 'and' meaning ... 'and'.
freeiam
1.4 / 5 (11) May 18, 2013
I would amplify by pointing out that "science by consensus" is NOT "a contradiction in terms." I leave it as an exercise for you to puzzle that out.

Make up your mind about 'consensus is a contradiction', I leave it as an exercise for you to do just that. Howgh.
cantdrive85
1.4 / 5 (12) May 18, 2013
Dah duh dah dah dah duh daaaaa dunna dirdedowwnnaa... take the highway to the danger zooonneee...


This is the last thing we need....
http://www.youtub...P1Bk8Cx4
antigoracle
1.4 / 5 (11) May 18, 2013
Anti: "Bewildered AGW cult scientists who cannot explain why with increasing CO2 the planet is cooling."

Please provide evidence that the planet is cooling.

http://www.forbes...ng-suit/
http://principia-...ere.html
Howhot
4.7 / 5 (12) May 18, 2013
The not free of mind guy gets defensive and says; "What's my ilk? Your reaction is very stereotype for 'your ilk'". Deniers in my dictionary are ilk. It's just that cut and dry. They lie to prove their point of view. They deny obvious facts like the hockeystick model, computer models, measure sea level rise, melting Arctic and Antarctic ice, ocean acidification from CO2 as demonstrated by bleaching of the reefs. They ignore the increasing severity of storm systems or the increase in water vapor in the atmosphere. And since they can't ignore all of this, they choose to attack climate scientists and science to drown out logic and reason with grandiose conspiracies that we are all secretly trying to ... Bwhhhaaaaahahah, take over the world!

If the ilk coconut heads (they are hollow ya see) deniers ever grew a set they might finally see what us 'AGWites' have been saying for years now. The excessive amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere will have long lasting consequences for Earth.
deepsand
3.3 / 5 (14) May 18, 2013
Anti: "Bewildered AGW cult scientists who cannot explain why with increasing CO2 the planet is cooling."

Please provide evidence that the planet is cooling.

http://www.forbes...ng-suit/

Clueless drivel.

No proof of cooling there.

Also, no refutation of the unavoidable effect of CO2 on radiative forcing.

deepsand
3.3 / 5 (14) May 18, 2013
No one but you and your ilk are suggesting that "science by consensus" is here in play.

Furthermore, by suggesting that the case would be different if there existed a unanimity of opinion contradicts your own objection, as unanimity is but consensus in the extreme.

In this case, a consensus has arisen because the Science is sound.

What's my ilk? Your reaction is very stereotype for 'your ilk'. Success with that.
No, no contradiction, I mentioned two facts, you know, 'and' meaning ... 'and'.

Two "facts?" ROTFLMAO.

What you mentioned are two opinions which are logically contradictory.

BTW, we are still waiting for you to explain why the Cliffs of Dover are material to the subject at hand. Having trouble coming up with a sound reason for that claim?
Grallen
4.6 / 5 (9) May 18, 2013
Anyone who is not decided yet and think that the sides in this are even remotely balanced. Do not allow what is said here to sway you: Do the research for yourself.

You will notice that one side has support from a very narrow and biased set of sources. The other has a broad range of sources including the most trusted names in human knowledge.

I humbly suggest starting here: https://en.wikipe...onsensus
It's chronological, so if you're short on time you just need the last paragraph of that segment.
And if people try to knock Wikipedia's reliability: Google "Wikipedia reliability".

As interesting as the trolls are. Please, now and always, think for yourself and do not let anyone emotional rant sway you to a side before letting your own mind find the truth.
megmaltese
1.5 / 5 (11) May 19, 2013
This is fantastic! Maybe I will manage to see the end of the world! WOOO!!!
djr
5 / 5 (11) May 19, 2013
Antigoracle - if you don't know the meaning of words as simple as 'cooling' - what does that say about your ability to understand a complex subject such as global climate?

From your article - "Global temperatures are essentially the same today as they were in 1995,"

I suggest you take some time off and get some education. Sesame Street would be a good start. Grover will be happy to teach you words like 'up,' 'down,' 'near', 'far,' 'warmer,' 'cooler,' etc.

On the other hand - you probably do know the meaning of said words - which is probably worse - it tags you as a congenital liar.
210
4.3 / 5 (6) May 19, 2013
OK, I truly have NO opinion in this argument because it is like a 'DOMESTIC DISPUTE/DISTURBANCE' there is SO much hate flying around that no reasoned discussion appears to ever take place around this topic. There is hate/accusation against Al Gore, on up, Al Gore on Down, one simply cannot get either side or argument to present its facts and a neutral party parse the data, just cannot be done!!! But, I do have a question. If there is NO global climate change, WHAT IS HAPPENING to all the pollutants and carbon and 'stuff' we have been emitting in excess of natures/natural emissions common to a living world (forest fires, volcanos, etc, etc, etc.) AND, if there IS global climate change and we WAIT for tomorrow to get here, as suggested by -cantdrive85- is that too late to solve whatever will be wrong once what is wrong gets here? Will we look like Venus or Mars? And can it be fixed and at what price? I was in Beijing and Shanghai 4 two months 2012, OMG!! U never see the SUN!
word-
Howhot
4.4 / 5 (7) May 20, 2013
This is fantastic! Maybe I will manage to see the end of the world! WOOO!!!
Or maybe you can join chorus of sane people and work to do something to avert it. There is a lot of water to carry on this project and it need to get up the hill fast.

MaiioBihzon
3 / 5 (10) May 20, 2013
Awareness is key.

All major issues of an age begin with awareness. Awareness was raised regarding the threat of Hitler's Germany to world security until ~ finally ~ iPearl Harbor caused the United States to act decisively. Conversely, awareness was raised about the boondoggle of Vietnam until public sentiment reached critical levels and repeated failures caused the war effort to lose credibility, and the war was ended. Slavery. Women's rights.

Beyond politics, more people today have some kind of grasp of Einstein's relativity than when his theory was first published. More people today than ever understand both the blessings and the liabilities of nuclear energy. More people understand the hazards of asbestos, tobacco smoke, and exposure to other health risks. And so on.

Today's college students are graduating with the condition of the environment and the biosphere high on their list of concerns. It's a learning curve. We're getting there.

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