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View Diary: Watching Earth as it Breathes (83 comments)

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  •  as far as I know (8+ / 0-)

    this is something feared to happen, but not happening yet on the feared scale. Of course, as northern climates warm, frosted areas are already melting and are already net-emitting methane. However, in terms of their climate significance, this is not - yet - on a scale to surpass what we put directly into the atmosphere. What people are fearing, and what we know will come - only we dont know just when, and just how quickly, and just how overwhelming - would be that the warming by itself causes so much more melting that that liberates so much methane /CO2e that that alone again causes enough warming to keep the process going - irrespective of what we do. When that point is reached, then we will have truly lost control because we will have set in motion a self-sustaining feedback. Then our only chance to deal with climate change would be not just stopping any emission, but actively and articifially removing CO2 from the atmosphere - on a scale comparable with the rate with which we´re filling it up now. And to do so with what energy? Its completely unclear where the energy to do so would have to come from without that itself again having ruinous consequences. So once the permafrost feedback seriously kicks in, then we´ll be in a truly difficult situation. But my understanding is that we are not quite there yet - though it could come at any time in the near future.  

    Current fracking isnt nice (in its "by product" methane release) but that pales to insignificance compared to the permafrost threat.

    Disclaimer: "as far as I know" ....

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