Carbon Emissions: Stating the obvious

Since the dawn of time we have emitted approximately 1271 billions tonnes of carbon dioxide and we show no signs of slowing down. In 2008 we emitted approximately 32 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. The BBC figure for 2012 is 35.6 billion tonnes.

Since the dawn of time we have emitted approximately 1271 billions tonnes of carbon dioxide and we show no signs of slowing down. In 2008 we emitted approximately 32 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. The BBC figure for 2012 is 35.6 billion tonnes.

Friends – I am barely keeping my head above water – work has never been busier – and there never seems to be a moment to reflect on things. But it is quarter-to-midnight on Sunday, and even though I have just spent several hours answering the Protons for Breakfast feedback, I feel like have a few more minutes of attention in me.

This week Protons for Breakfast was about Global Warming, and as I was answering the feedback I looked up the latest data on carbon dioxide emissions. By chance the BBC covered the same story with more recent data and the gloriously obvious headline

Carbon emissions are ‘too high’ to curb climate change

The numbers are astounding. Each year we collectively emit more than 1% of the total amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. And an annual figure of 35 billion tonnes is an almost inconceivably large amount of ‘stuff’. If we wanted to do this for some other reason – then the task would seem overwhelming!

I got the impression that people at Protons for Breakfast really wanted to do something about this phenomenon – but they wanted guidance as to what would make a difference!. At it is at times like this that it is worthwhile to remember the words of Mahatma Ghandi who said:

“You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results.”

I wish I could find something more inspiring to say. I do feel that people’s consciousness is changing, and it does seem inevitable that we will – eventually – begin to face up to this problem. At some point in time, the graph at the top of the page will peak – and we will begin move beyond the carbon age. Let’s hope it is sooner rather than later.

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7 Responses to “Carbon Emissions: Stating the obvious”

  1. Dominic Says:

    I think it will only peak when the world’s human population peaks…

    • unceasingtoe Says:

      I agree, I suspect that the size of the human population is the root of a lot of it’s own problems. But given how long it took us to realise climate is even a thing, and how self-important we are (as a species), I doubt we’ll notice that *we* are the elephant in the room for a few decades yet…

      • unceasingtoe Says:

        *climate change… WordPress fail for not letting us edit our comments =/

      • protonsforbreakfast Says:

        Let me know your edit and I will change it on your behalf.

      • protonsforbreakfast Says:

        Mmmm. You make a fair point. But without disagreeing exactly, I think it is possible to take a more positive view. For example – you state how long it has taken to ‘realise’ that Climate is a ‘thing’. I think we have moved pretty fast given how central cheap fuel is to our lifestyles. And world population may still peak below 10 billion – previously estimates have suggested that it may peak nearer to 15 billion. So I am not saying things are rosy – far from it – but we have made some progress. All the best. Michael

    • protonsforbreakfast Says:

      I think it may change before that – the slope is so vertiginous I cannot that it can continue at that rate for very long.

  2. The first and second laws of climo-dynamics | Protons for Breakfast Blog Says:

    […] Back in 2012 I wrote: […]

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