Coal plant, United Kingdom
No one knows for sure what caused the sudden increase in carbon 56 million years ago, but it was a natural cause. The current increase, which could be much faster, is of human origin. Oceans and forests absorb atmospheric CO2, but can not assume emission levels such as this coal plant in England.
we destroy everything.
The Earth could be closer than previously thought to the inner edge of the Sun’s habitable zone, according to a new study by planetary scientists in the US and France. The research also suggests that if our planet moved out of the habitable zone, it could lead to a “moist greenhouse” climate that could kick-start further drastic changes to the atmosphere.
A star’s habitable zone is the set of orbits within which a planet could have liquid water on its surface – and being within this zone is considered to be an important prerequisite for the development of life.
The current consensus is that the Sun’s habitable zone begins at about 0.95 astronomical units (AU), a comfortable distance from the Earth’s orbit at 1 AU. However, this latest work by James Kasting and colleagues at Penn State University, NASA and the University of Bordeaux suggests that that inner edge of the zone is much further out at 0.99 AU.
In a brewing scandal that should shock and trouble all of us, Exxon silenced us this week.
We put together a nationally crowdfunded PSA, promoted by thousands online who threw in a dollar or a click or both in favor of two simple ideas: we should be able to get the word out about the most pressing issue of our time, climate change, on television primetime; and we should be able to demand that our tax dollars stop being used to fund oil, gas, and coal.
We had already aired the ad, called Exxon Hates Your Children, to great acclaim in Denver, New York and Washington DC. But when we bought time in Exxon’s backyard, Houston, on the most pro-Oil network on televison, Fox News, something snapped – and Exxon decided to issue a cease and desist demand and threaten Comcast into not airing your PSA as scheduled.
What’s the number one reason we riot? The plausible, justifiable motivations of trampled-upon humanfolk to fight back are many—poverty, oppression, disenfranchisement, etc—but the big one is more primal than any of the above. It’s hunger, plain and simple. If there’s a single factor that reliably sparks social unrest, it’s food becoming too scarce or too expensive. So argues a group of complex systems theorists in Cambridge, and it makes sense.
In a 2011 paper, researchers at the Complex Systems Institute unveiled a model that accurately explained why the waves of unrest that swept the world in 2008 and 2011 crashed when they did. The number one determinant was soaring food prices. Their model identified a precise threshold for global food prices that, if breached, would lead to worldwide unrest.
The MIT Technology Review explains how CSI’s model works: “The evidence comes from two sources. The first is data gathered by the United Nations that plots the price of food against time, the so-called food price index of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN. The second is the date of riots around the world, whatever their cause.” Plot the data, and it looks like this:
On Sunday, September 16, the sun did not rise above the horizon in the Arctic. Nevertheless enough of the sun’s heat had poured over the North Pole during the summer months to cause the largest loss of Arctic sea ice cover since satellite records began in the 1970s. The record low 3.41 million square kilometers of ice shattered the previous low—4.17 million square kilometers—set in 2007. All told, since 1979, the Arctic sea ice minimum extent has shrunk by more than 50 percent—and even greater amounts of ice have been lost in the corresponding thinning of the ice, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).
“There is much more open ocean than there used to be,” says NSIDC research scientist Walt Meier. “The volume is decreasing even faster than the extent [of surface area] as best as we can tell,” based on new satellite measurements and thickness estimates provided by submarines. Once sea ice becomes thin enough, most or all of it may melt in a single summer.