Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/10/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It's just a number, right?

New research suggests the planet is heating up, possibly to a level it last saw 3.6 million years ago during the middle Pliocene. This announcement comes as scientists announce that CO2 levels have now reached 400 parts per million, a symbolic threshold.

Trees will certainly benefit from the CO2.

Trees will certainly benefit from the CO2.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/10/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Carbon dioxide, pollution, global warming, greenhouse, gasses, climate change


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The last time the planet had this much CO2 in the atmosphere was 3.6 million years ago during the middle Pliocene era. The planet was free of arctic ice and trees grew in the across the region.

Sediment cores taken from the Russian lake El'gygytgyn reveal fossil pollen in the lake from Douglas firs and hemlock, suggesting the icy area was once covered with trees some 3.6 million years ago when it was much warmer than today.

A team of international researchers brought the cores up in 2009 and the study was co-authored by researchers Julie Brigham-Grette and Pavel Minyuk. Their findings help confirm the belief that the arctic was once a lush location.

Such is the world we might expect to see if global warming is happening. Indeed, satellite data also suggest the tundra is defrosting and green vegetation is creeping north as the snow and ice retreat.

This raises two questions, which are commonly asked.

First, if the planet has been so warm before, what's to say the current warming trend isn't natural? And second, if the planet has survived such temperatures before, then why the alarm?

Despite the seemingly benign effects of warming, climate researchers fear that the planet is warming much more quickly that it would if the warming were natural in origin. This rapid warming harshly impacts both natural habitats and human societies.

Humans are unquestionably introducing more CO2 into the atmosphere than would enter it by natural means, with the understood exception of singular, distinct events such as major volcanic eruptions. This input is a natural consequence of human mass consumption of natural resources. According to most climatologists, this extra CO2 is driving the recent warming trend, which the planet has noticeably experienced over the past several decades.

This warming trend is manifesting itself in various ways, including the loss of arctic ice, the spread of greenery into arctic regions, and the rise of sea levels. Although aggregate temperature changes appear to have increased more slowly than feared during past decade, scientists believe this slowdown is only because the planet is absorbing additional heat in the oceans. This only grants a temporary reprieve from the accelerated warming of the recent past.

Although the loss of Arctic ice and the greening of the north isn't likely to be fatal to humanity, it is likely to be very disruptive. Natural selection, which is the means by which organisms adapt to changes in their environment, cannot keep pace with the rapid speed of today's environmental changes. This is leading to major extinctions and loss of wildlife that would otherwise have much more time to adapt.

Human societies are also facing disruption as sea levels rise.

Regardless of the facts of the case, and regardless of what happens next, humanity will survive this transition just as it has survived similar major environmental shifts in the past. Humanity survived the last ice age, the desertification of the Sahara and the Fertile Crescent, and it will survive this. But how well it copes remains to be seen. Great environmental shifts also brought disasters which collapsed the earliest civilizations. It remains to be seen if our technologically sophisticated, massively integrated, and curiously fragile modern civilization can survive the coming changes before us.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2014
Christmas, hope for humanity:
That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Parents: That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.



Comments


More Green

Study: 41 percent of Earth's amphibians destined for extinction Watch

Image of The issue of widespread extinction is exacerbated because of the huge gaps in scientists' knowledge about the planet's biodiversity.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

A grim report as published in "Nature" magazine warns that the planet Earth's many animal species are irrevocably headed towards extinction. Forty-one percent of all the world's amphibians are set "to go the way of the dodo" bird unless the governments of the world ... continue reading


Ford takes hybrid plunge with electric-powered mountain bike Watch

Image of The Ford-branded beach cruiser is powered by an electric battery. The battery gives the user up to 20 miles of pedal-free operation or even longer, if the rider pedals part of the time.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

As part of its goal to put more lower-emission vehicles on the road, the Ford Motor Company has struck a deal with the California-based electric bicycle company Pedego: a battery-powered mountain bike. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Ford-branded beach ... continue reading


Move over honey! A new study suggests bees may have the cure for hair loss! Watch

Image of A substance used by bees to seal openings in their hives may be capable of preventing or reversing hair loss.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new study out of Japan may bring hope to the millions of people around the world who struggle with hair loss, baldness and thinning hair. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Propolis, a resin-like material taken from honeybee hives, has helped speed up the growth ... continue reading


YUCK! 270,000 tons of garbage is sitting in the ocean Watch

Image of There is 269,000 tons of plastic pollution in the ocean, levels ten times greater than previously thought.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For decades, the international scientific communities have known-and warned-about the growing amount of plastic trash in the world's oceans. Since the 1990s it has been known that masses of plastic can clump up in the ocean and form islands of debris. LOS ... continue reading


California drought the opposite of what we should see if global warming were to blame Watch

Image of The drought in California has lasted for three years, but it's not because of global warming, NOAA says.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Government scientists have weighed in on the California drought, challenging the popular conclusion that the drought has been caused by global warming. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - After three years of crippling drought, Californians have asked the question if ... continue reading


Natural climate change or global warming? Perhaps California's drought isn't your fault Watch

Image of A study shows California's drought to be natural rather than man-made.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Swimming in November, sweating in December; according to the National Climatic Data Center, California is experiencing its warmest year in 120 years of weather records. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The historic drought scorching up and down California is not as ... continue reading


African giraffe population drops by 40 percent over last 15 years Watch

Image of A rumor originating from Tanzania claims that the brain and bone marrow of the giraffe can help cure HIV has also led to a fall in its numbers.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Unless immediate steps are taken to redress the issue, the African giraffe could well be on the way to extinction. The giraffe population has already fallen by 40 percent in the last 15 years, according to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Scientists predict 16 FEET of SEA LEVEL RISE as a literal Mt. Everest melts into Antarctic seas every two years Watch

Image of Antarctic glaciers are melting into the sea at the rate of 161 billion metric tons per year. That ice is not being replaced and is contributing to sea level rise.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Another study has been published, concluding that warmer ocean waters are melting Antarctic glaciers and contributing to sea level rise. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet has enough land ice to raise sea level by 16 feet alone. Meanwhile, 2014 is making the record books as ... continue reading


An Africa without desert? Study looks into ancient period of green Africa Watch

Image of Africa used to have massive grasslands and savannas, where now there is only desert.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new study has revealed that Africa has been subject to mass climate change in the past, and may be incredibly vulnerable to it now. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - An increase in the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere was key to an increase in rainfall ... continue reading


You've heard of a Venus flytrap, but what about a HUMAN trap? Watch

Image of Related to the South African Roridula

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An extinct, ancient, flesh-eating plant has been recently discovered via fossilized leaves that were preserved in Baltic amber which was found in a mine near Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave situated on the Baltic Sea between Poland and Lithuania. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 18th, 2014 Image

St. Rufus
December 18: Rufus and Zosimus were citizens of Antioch (or perhaps Philippi) ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter