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May 11th, 2013
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Heat-Trapping Gas Passes Milestone, Raising Fears,” shows our faltering efforts to affect carbon dioxide missions despite a clear picture of the dangers involved. The CO2 level is higher than it has been for millions of years and is a clear result of the burning of fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution.
The air sample was taken from the top of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii where clean crisp air blows in after traveling thousands of miles over the Pacific. The new level is clearly unrelated to the regular cycles from one season to another.
Some scientists have said that it is too late for us to change the carbon dioxide level at this point and have begun working on ways to clean the atmosphere. Yet the economic cost of doing this is far greater than eliminating the problem at the source, the impact of every car and airplane ride. The displacement that would be caused from a raise in sea levels boggles the mind, and it would create a refugee situation far beyond anything we have experienced.
For those climate change contrarians, who are claiming that carbon dioxide only represents a small part of the atmosphere, about .04 percent, it should be noted that it only takes a little bit of arsenic to kill a person. One wonders why we have not developed a greater sense of urgency about this problem.
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