Greenhouse gas emissions shock scientists – Los Angeles Times

Greenhouse gas emissions shock scientists – Los Angeles Times

This is not good news.  Despite the economic slowdown, greenhouse gas emissions have grown at a higher rate than anticipated.  Carbon dioxide output actually grew by 3% when it was expected to fall.

Our natural carbon sinks on the planet – the oceans and the forests – appear to be slowing in their capacity to capture carbon dioxide.

There are a lot of potential tipping points and potential feedback loops we are facing that could accelerate global warming.  One of these is pretty well understood, it is the release of methane, a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, as the planet warms.  The methane release would be expected from tundra and from the Arctic ocean beds.  These are not knife-edge changes where the impact could go one way or another, they are tipping points where change is expected to go in a certain direction.

Are there unforeseen controls on global warming?  Changes in the environment that will counterbalance the changes brought on by the burning of fossil fuels?  We should certainly hope so because the anticipated and predicted changes are not good for many species of life, including industrial bipeds.

Hat tip to The Independent: The methane time bomb – Climate Change, Environment – The Independent

Exclusive: The methane time bomb – Climate Change, Environment – The Independent

Methane release as the planet warms looks like bad news.

Here is an article on the Arctic methane release issue.

Arctic Sea  Looks ok, but there is trouble bubbling up from below in the form of methane being released from the seabed as the Arctic warms.

Methane is 20 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

The planet will continue to warm faster than the models predict and we are going to be faced with some horrendous choices that will include taking part in a major die-off on the small blue planet or engaging in some dangerous bio-engineering solutions such as the release of huge amounts of sulfates into the environment to attempt to stabilize the environment.  These are ugly scenarios.

I am searching for any hint of good news in these stories and the methane release does cause me to wonder if we have any capacity to drill and capture methane as a fuel source.  Burning methane as a fuel certainly makes more sense than letting huge amounts of it loose in the atmosphere where we know it will cause more global warming.