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View Diary: Understanding the real danger of CO2 levels to Earth and life. (102 comments)

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  •  CO2 is deadly in high enough concentrations (4+ / 0-)

    there are stories of people asphyxiated by CO2.

    room air is about 400- 500 ppmv CO2. exhaled air is about 40,000 ppmv (iirc). Our lungs rely on that gradient to get CO2 out of our bodies.

    If the room air CO2 gets high enough, we can't breathe.

    Another thing - the denier argument quoted by the diarist, that "CO2 is natural, we breathe it out all the time" .... it's important to rebut that one by pointing out that our CO2 exhaust is created by oxidizing carbon in food .... which grew by breathing in CO2 not so long ago.

    IOW the carbon we breathe out was CO2 recently. we're not really adding anything.

    Contrast that to fossil carbon, which has not been part of the surface/biological/atmospheric carbon pool for 10s of millions of years.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 07:34:25 AM PST

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    •  Yep, that's my response to the "CO2 isn't ... (3+ / 0-)

      a pollutant" argument. If somebody makes that argument, I suggest that they volunteer for a scientific experiment where they're put into a closed system where the air consists of 100% CO2, and see how long they last.

      Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

      by leevank on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:20:20 AM PST

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    •  There is a lot of fine tuning that can be added. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse, offgrid

      I like to stress the balance/proportion issue because it is central to pollution.

      My ex was among the first to earn an official degree in Env Engineering (MS) in the 70's. The old saw had been:

      The Solution to Pollution is Dilution.
      Which we had gone far beyond by then. Meanwhile, there are some who adapt and survive with imbalances that even seasoned health care providers shake their heads over. People with diabetes who come in with blood sugars in the 500s + and they aren't comatose - it went up over enough time for them to stay conscience. (Their breath reeks of ketones.)

      COPD patients who come in with CO2 levels that other patients are critical with - and they are just puffing away. Bodies have gotten used to high levels, they don't move enough to use much oxygen - which they are getting supplemental at low liter flow because their brains have reversed the reaction to CO2/O2 levels the way the rest of us do. Give them too much O2 and their respiratory rate falls...

      I find once people get a basic concept, how much more specific science they want or will understand needs to be individualized. Especially with the resistance to the whole apocalyptic aura of climate change, etc. starting small and simple can keep them from shutting down. Essential with new diabetics, cardiacs, etc.

      "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

      by Ginny in CO on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 12:08:21 PM PST

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