The last thirty years, we are reliably informed, have been the warmest, a post-industrial record for earth, and the same goes for the past seven years. The evidence for human responsibility is overwhelming.
The major gases causing global warming; carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) have reached the highest recorded levels. CO2 hit a peak of over 419 parts per million (ppm) in May 2021 and is now 417.69 ppm as of a few days ago.
As for methane, scientists are alarmed at its dangerously fast growth as described in a February 8, 2022 item in the journal, Nature. Its levels are now over 1,900 parts per billion (ppb) or 1.9 ppm which is three times preindustrial levels. Worth remembering also is that methane (CH4) is 28 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.
A clue to the source of the methane is the isotopic signature of its carbon. Methane generated in the gut of a cow or by microbes consuming carbon in wetlands contain less of the isotope carbon 13 than methane from deep inside earth released in fossil-fuel extraction.
acceleration of methane since 2007 has thus been deduced to be from microbial sources
rather than fossil-fuel extraction, which points to a dangerous feedback
cycle as global warming produces more wetlands, and as greater prosperity
increases red meat consumption and more cows, a major source.
cows were a country, they would rank third in greenhouse gas
emissions," said Bill Gates as he exhorted wealthy nations to give up
beef. Ruminants are the worst methane polluters -- figures are usually given as Kge, meaning kilogram equivalent of CO2. Pork is a substitute
for lamb or beef and pollutes not much more than chicken. Other
sources of protein like beans, nuts and eggs also have low carbon
footprints. In addition, how cattle are raised makes a difference: the
overall impact of those reared on national pastures is 12 times less
than those on deforested land as in South America.
Following COP26 in Glasgow last November, the UN Environment Program released a report analyzing country pledges to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C; the review discovered instead that mean temperature is likely to rise by 2.7C, and would cause a sharp increase in catastrophic weather events.
did we last hear of a hurricane or its remnants hitting Portugal. That
is exactly what happened there in October 2018 when Leslie came by with its
hurricane force wind gusts. It left 1000 trees uprooted, 300,000 homes
without power and created general havoc around the capital and other
parts of northern Portugal.
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