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A bunch of people have posted on the "We Call It Life" ads by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. I just thought I would bring up a forgotten incident from the past where CO2 would better be described with the phrase "We Call It Death".

On August 21, 1986, in the valleys surrounding Lake Nyos in the African country of Cameroon, around 1,700 people died as the result of 1.6 million tonnes of CO2 flowing down from this high mountain lake. This was the result of a limnic eruption. Lake Nyos is a crater lake which accumulates CO2 in the deep, cool water. When the lake gets inverted for any reason it is like opening a bottle of pop. All the CO2 which has been held in solution is suddenly released into the atmosphere. Since CO2 is heavier then oxygen, the 1.6 million tonnes flowed down into the valleys and killed around 1,700 people and 35,000 livestock. (More information at wiki.)

This was a natural eruption of CO2 which was not caused by global warming, but I think it shows that CO2 is much more dangerous then many people realize. We didn't even realize that there was any danger from Lake Nyos until this eruption occurred. Are we reaching the point where we are now starting to truly recognize the danger of CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere? Have we reached a tipping point on climate crisis?

Lake Nyos can serve as an example of both crisis and hope regarding the climate crisis. Today there are pipes going to the bottom of the lake to release CO2 from the lake and help to prevent another incident in the future. This "degassing" is also a potential source of renewable, sustainable energy. (Although not CO2 free, but this is a naturally occurring CO2.)

We can all go see "An Inconvenient Truth" and learn more about global warming and the climate crisis. We can all reduce our global footprint and reduce our use of CO2 producing products. These are all important things to do. But, how are we going to start "degassing" the atmosphere? That is the next step.

Originally posted to OsoDelMar on Fri Jun 02, 2006 at 07:57 AM PDT.

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