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There is a reality in medicine that Glen Beck and the climate deniers don't understand applies to the planet just as much, probably more. Remember when Glen tried to blow off the CO2 increase in our atmosphere because that's the gas we blow off when we exhale? That is true, it is the waste gas. I spent 16 of the years since graduating from nursing school in '77 as a critical care nurse. This is how I explain the problem on the planet scale.

The lungs are an incredible organ that allows us to maintain both the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide, and life, as long as one aspect of the system stays within a very narrow range. The pH of blood can only fall in a small decimal point spread before the oxy-hemoglobin dissociation capacity goes too low.

blood pH,
the hydrogen ion concentration of the blood, a measure of blood acidity or alkalinity. The normal pH values for arterial whole blood are 7.35 to 7.454; for venous whole blood, 7.36 to 7.41; for venous serum or plasma, 7.35 to 7.45.
Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. © 2009, Elsevier.

The pH balance is critical for the oxygen and carbon dioxide molecules to get on and off
(dissociation) the red blood cell sites that carry them between the lungs and cells. If the carbon dioxide doesn't get off, and oxygen can't get on, the blood acidity just gets worse.

Acidity in the body is a downhill problem. Much easier to go there than back up to normal pH. Diabetic ketoacidosis, respiratory acidosis, and other forms, are very tricky to correct. After a certain point, all the body's capacity to neutralize the pH to the life sustaining window is exhausted. Medicine has limited options and time to correct it before the cells are not getting enough oxygen and the human body dies.

Burning fossil fuels has steadily increased the CO2 levels in earth's atmosphere well above what it has been for the period most current species evolved in. Current farming practices to raise livestock and other pollutants contribute to acidification. The problem becomes worse when the acidic pollutants also get into fresh and salt water. The earth's ecosystem is a much larger system than our bodies. It too, has limits.

Where are earth's lungs?

The excess atmospheric CO2 cannot be exhaled to outer space. While the ocean plankton has played a role similar to our lungs on earth, it is overwhelmed for multiple reasons, as are other plants that breakdown CO2. The steadily increasing rate we are producing CO2 from burning fossil fuels, the very long time it takes to break down, and how far above the oceans much of it collects. Rain has raised the CO2 and other pollutants in oceans, lakes, streams, and soil; making them more acidic. All the species that depend on water and a narrow pH balance to exist, let alone thrive, are threatened. Evolution and adaptation take time, far more time than we are leaving the earth's inhabitants to adapt to this fundamental change - however it effects their internal system function. We are running out of time to carry out serious plans to change from fossil fuels to sustainable alternatives that don't produce CO2 and other dangerous by-products. Why?

Denial of this existential threat is delay. Delay increases the threat level.

It's a whole lot worse than any and all threats we face. The debt, discrimination, health care, and even gun violence, are dwarfed by what will happen if we don't start these changes soon and extensively.

Australia has had to add a new color to the maps showing heat levels. Coincidentally, purple is a danger sign in humans – it signals loss of normal blood circulation and oxygen levels.

Earth should be blue and green, brown and white.

I guess it was time to start writing diaries again. First time ever on the wreck list, thanks, especially to the rescue crew. Also find the poll results very interesting. Activism as a means of coping with the stress is part of what I think MB refers to in his sig. The multiples are also a good way to kill stress before it kills you ;)  

Originally posted to Ginny in CO on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 03:27 PM PST.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots, Climate Change SOS, Climate Hawks, and Community Spotlight.

Poll

This whole mess creates stress, how do you manage it?

4%8 votes
6%11 votes
6%11 votes
0%0 votes
1%3 votes
7%13 votes
4%8 votes
4%8 votes
6%12 votes
14%26 votes
1%2 votes
5%10 votes
38%71 votes

| 183 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (110+ / 0-)

    "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 Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 03:27:41 PM PST

  •  Oh, forgot to figure out how to use the tip jar. (26+ / 0-)

    I wonder if this is one aspect of the world's future that anyone who thinks they can barricade themselves in a private compound and survive has not fully considered.

    Remember this Star Trek episode?

    Eden - A planet sought by the mad Dr. Sevrin and his group of young followers. They believed the planet lay in the Romulan Neutral Zone and forced the Enterprise to go there. The planet they find, however, though it is a lush paradise, proves to be teeming with plant life containing deadly, highly corrosive acid.
    I also forgot the last option for the poll.

    DOOFUS, I'M TOO STRESSED TO MANAGE MY STRESS

    "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 Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 03:44:44 PM PST

    •  DWG has an excellent diary on the rec list. (13+ / 0-)

      The end of the world as we know it.  

      Stanford biologists Paul and Anne Ehrlich have just published a provocative analysis of the future of human society in the Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences. The title says it all: "Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?" Their prediction is not comforting.
      It's a refreshing breath of reality, albeit not hopeful.

      "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 Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 04:50:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was impressed by got replies (9+ / 0-)

        from people who feel the Erlichs are too pessimistic. They feel our technology will save us.

        If we'd taken P.Erlich's book The Population Bomb more seriously way back when, we'd be better off now.

        "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

        by Lily O Lady on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 09:57:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Doesn't surprise me as much anymore. (13+ / 0-)

          The technology crutch is very strong for many. I think the Boomers and older more than the GenX and Millennials.  They had a fair amount of this in science classes before the Repugs watered it all down.

          Yeah, if we had taken Ehrlich, Carter and others more seriously, and the 1% had not done such a good job selling the snake oil, the future might have been much less pessimistic. Oh, and the fundies blocking contraception and other population control - worldwide. Talk about tough tactics. I felt badly about the Chinese 1 child laws and also knew they had no choice. Nor would any regime other than totalitarian had the political will to do it. So they did cut their population, increased the industrialization, standard of living, and are now suffocating in the air pollution.

          Personally, we know how hard people will fight change - especially the kind that makes life more difficult. I got into an article on all the austerity stuff and how difficult it is for Americans to accept that. Well, making some of the changes for climate preservation is going to feel like austerity to many. The neighbors on either side of me until last May were both water hogs when it came to their yards, gardens and cars. I was sorta glad to get away from them. People who do not understand this is a desert and we can't keep pretending other wise drive me nuts.

          I just have way too low an expectation that we will get enough people to accept the ugly stuff and be willing to make enough sacrifices to pull off significant change. Especially not after all the heads in the sand politically for decades.  I think we have a very long way to go and people who are far to used to comfort to deal with giving it up.

          "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 Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 10:25:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm a boomer whose hair has been on fire or (8+ / 0-)

            at least smoldering for over 40 years--well longer if you consider my reaction to Our Mr. Sun in fourth grade.

            Maybe it's because we never had much money when I was growing up, but I totally get the concept of scarcity. Then again my parents grew up during the Great Depression, so that helped. But when Paul Erlich's book came out, it made sense to me. The fact that his timetable was off didn't invalidate his hypothesis in my view. Even though we didn't have world-wide famine, regional famines like that in Biafra had a profound effect on me.

            When President Carter said we had to put on a sweater and turn off some lights, I understood. I'd seen the gas lines and their implications (going back to Our Mr. Sun) When he put the solar panels on the White House, I applauded.

            The came St. Ronnie of Reagan who, like a benevolent but permissive parent, told Americans that they were too special to have to conserve energy or find alternative energy sources. It's ironic that his party now insists that the 99% must endure austerity, because they were selling profligacy back then, and my fellow Americans, to my dismay, ate it up.

            For years I've wondered what happened to the theory of Thomas Malthus as well as Paul Erlich. I still think there is merit in what they had to say. So I was receptive the the growing evidence on global warming. All I had to do was look around me.

            I won't be around very much longer, by my two adult offspring will, and it doesn't look good for them unless they can worm their way into the 0.001% of society, and even then I don't think the world will be a very hospitable place for our species.

            "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

            by Lily O Lady on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:09:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Some days I am not sure what my hair is on fire (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Lily O Lady, offgrid

              over. There are so many possibilities, children with no food, clean water, health care, shelter. Parents with no contraception except abstinence because of someone else's  values. Presidents who push gas guzzling SUVs on gullible Americans, and torture on innocent civilians caught in a for profit war.

              Read something on Malthus not too long ago, basically dissing his work.  Really? Makes me think of the folks who think the Y2K prep was a big hoax. Apparently they didn't work anywhere there was a whole bunch of equipment with computer chips, not to mention computers of all kinds, or heard the one significant miss on getting a patch was a US military observation satellite that was out of service for about 24 hours as I recall.

              My 87 year old Mom and I are often on the phone wondering how much longer either one of us will be around to watch the debacle. Hoping the kids, grand kids, and great grand kids don't get caught in the worst of it.

              Some of it is fascinating. FOOW had an incredible diary yesterday on the vortex that formed over the arctic and then split. That was approaching the Mars landing in just plain awesome science. If it weren't for the knowledge, my drug of choice, still available on the intertubz,  I'd have to find some thing to numb my brain. Fortunately enough voters in CO agreed we ought to be able to get stoned without doing time.  May have to find some pots, soil and lights...

              "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 10:51:25 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Population Control (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ginny in CO

          Got to have more souls for Jesus. Or drones.

        •  Technology won't help (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ginny in CO, Lily O Lady

          Our technology cannot save us because we won't save us (first we have to decide to save ourselves, then we can use the technology to do it).

    •  do you remember the star trek (6+ / 0-)

      where they figured out that warp travel was damaging space in a manner that meant that warp travel might have to be severely restricted?  

      That is what our climate change, control and management problem is like right now.

    •  IIRC (0+ / 0-)

      I know that at least one starved whale washed up on a beach near Brooklyn. I thought I read somewhere 2 more washed up. I'm wondering if the food the whales eat is dying off??

  •  Ocean acidification led to planetary extinction (26+ / 0-)

    events. The great Permian mass extinction had an acidic low oxygen ocean.

    Toxic sulfur compounds become abundant in acidic low oxygen environments.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 03:59:20 PM PST

    •  So the planet has regenerated from (8+ / 0-)

      a similar extinction, presumably due to other causes. ;) Will have to look it up. It would be nice to think some of the beauty could be regenerated.

      "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 Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 04:44:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are bacteria living in scalding hot (14+ / 0-)

        springs in Yellowstone with a pH comparable to vinegar. The good news is that there really isn't anything we can do to our planet to wipe out all life. Eventually new species will evolve and produce complex and beautiful ecosystems again.

        The bad news is that there isn't likely to be anyone around to appreciate it.

        •  They found a deep sea critter recently that (7+ / 0-)

          lives near volcanic vent holes too.  I suspect, given past extinctions, there will be species that survive in pockets. Not likely humans, for very long.  Another sentient species that would appreciate the beauty could evolve again, or even come from another planet.  

          I also think it is ok if the forest is beautiful without being visualized by the sentient. Like the trees falling will make noise, even if no one is there to hear.

          "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 Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 06:42:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I wouldn't bet too much on that (3+ / 0-)

            humanity is too adaptable and (as my grandma would put it) too darn smart for it's own good

            I think outside of turning the planet into a nuclear wasteland humanity will survive about anything. The question is in what regard? And really on the whole I'd rather not go there anyways, it's risk for the sake of risk

            •  Humanity might survive (4+ / 0-)

              However, given that we've already depleted much of the easily accessible fossil fuels, specifically oil, it's not clear to me that the next civilizations that arise will ever be able to advance beyond wood/coal/steam technology. Without the availability  of portable high energy density oil and other mined-out natural resources, this present civilization might be the only shot we have if we ever want to head out into the universe.

              •  eh we're already moving past fossil fuels (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                PaloAltoPixie, Andrew F Cockburn

                so I'm not sure that's really an issue. Then again it's an open question what would happen to availible solar energy, wind and tidal. Though frankly push comes to shove we have plenty of fuel for nuclear reactors

              •  Doubt we will get far enough to seriously (7+ / 0-)

                head out into the universe. I sure hope I am overly pessimistic. Then again, a civilization that is better balanced between seeking knowledge, creating stuff and just enjoying life more without so much of a rat race with no village, would be very, very awesome.

                 I like to throw some optimism next to the pissy stuff. :)

                "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 Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 10:55:50 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Check out Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ginny in CO

                Yep, it's gonna look really bad.

                Whereas the Medieval Age was the same or lesser resource level (lots of wood, coal and easy fuel), the next Medieval Age will look like Russell Hoban's masterpiece:

                Riddley Walker
                http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                Now, that's gonna look "nice" compared to our transformation from today to the new medieval. And of course, "The Road" and other explorations will be as scary (no, even more scary and prolonged) as any 9/11 scenario.

                The Road
                http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                And folks, I don't want to be there. Don't want it.

                It was so beautiful before. Jacques Yves Cousteau showed us the beautiful ocean for the first time in color at depth. But then both he and Rachel Carson showed us what we are experiencing now. Damn.

                No, I don't want to be here or there. The scene from Soylent Green with Edward G. Robinson watching films of the beautiful Earth. The scene:
                http://www.youtube.com/...

                Dammit.

                Ugh. --UB.

                "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

                by unclebucky on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:14:42 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Unless it's just another Easter Island episode (6+ / 0-)

              If we destroy the environment enough, it will destroy us in return. The Easter Islanders didn't survive cutting down that last tree....

              •  I am afraid we are far beyond the Easter Island (4+ / 0-)

                destruction. One of the points Diamond made in Collapse, was that the societies he was writing about were assessed, among other things, on trade associations that could help a civilization recover.

                The population explosion, global pollution levels, resource depletion, climate changes and lack of serious, coordinated efforts to reverse any of it, will be our super human challenge to pull out survival at some level, in some isolated  places. Hopefully not by killing off the local residents and taking their land.

                "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 Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 11:23:18 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  eh the only problem with that metaphor (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Andrew F Cockburn

                is given their limited technology they were stuck, for better or worse I am not so sure humanity is so limited any more.

                That's not to say that I particularly want to live in an earth of the worst of the worst case where in we live in bubbles and flowers are only a memory

                •  Limits of Technology? (3+ / 0-)

                  A truly massive collapse of society, a la the Dark Ages may be the end of humanity as we have known it.

                  Just to extract the mineral resources to maintain our present level of technology requires a level of technology far beyond what the industrial revolution had available.

                  Where are the surface and near surface fossil fuel reserves. Not to mention petrochemicals.

                  •  Our Paleolithic ancestors lived in a biologically (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    radical simplicity

                    rich world, and the Neolithic enjoyed a long stable climate.

                    Climate change and human habitat conversion will leave the biosphere depauperate for any humans left after a collapse, and the climate will not return to conditions benign for global agriculture for at least many millennia. So we cannot go back to where we came from, and because of the loss of infrastructure we will not be able to go forward into the kind of technological future sci-fi portrays.

                    That sounds like a recipe for human extinction to me.

                    •  who says we can't go back? (0+ / 0-)

                      there's nothing in theory at least thats says that just as we created this we can uncreate it.

                      •  Conservation biology does (0+ / 0-)

                        And no, I won't give you a course in it in a series of posts.

                        Start here.

                        •  that's not really on point here (0+ / 0-)

                          and more over while I would wish overwise the fact is that again in theory extinct species could be recovered.

                          However I am talking about removing the very green house gases we've pumped into the atmosphere. There's some very interesting and exciting research going into the topic right now and again in theory removing those factors would revert the climate back to 'normal'

                          Let me caveat that with saying I really have no wish to have to rely on that but to say that we're doomed ignores that the very thing that lead us to this could lead us out.

              •  I just finished reading "1492", by Charles Mann. (3+ / 0-)

                The following is based on his synopsis of current research.

                A better analogy than Easter Island (which was a small colony stuck in the middle of nowhere) is what happened to the Indian civilizations after the introduction of disease by Europeans. There were flourishing high-density agricultural societies throughout much of North and South America. When 90% of the population died these collapsed and the farms reverted to forest.

                The "virgin" forests seen by early colonists in the northeastern US and in the Amazon were really farms and orchards that had gone to seed. The "primitive" tribes living in these areas were the descendents of complex societies which had dissolved.

                So maybe our descendents will be like the Tarahumaras, living a hand to mouth existence in the ruins of their ancestors.

                •  Are you familiar with Diamond's (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Andrew F Cockburn

                  Collapse? Mann sounds familiar, probably have read some of his work in Science or one of the other journals. Diamond specifically was looking at different societies that either failed to keep from virtual destruction or collapse and those that managed to change enough to avert it. Japan was a surprise for me in the latter group. I had been there and seen a lot of historical places, but nothing on that era of deforestation.

                  Part of Diamond's contrast with the smaller groups like Easter Island and the world today, was that some of those people had other places to go - as long as they had the ability to move. The Greenland colony was too far away from Europe, had not established trade or ties with the Native Americans, and completely died off. Others were able to move or, like EI, dwindled to a very small group.

                  The Native Americans pre Columbus are very interesting - have not read as much as I want but had missed 1491, which looks very, very good. Will have to check the library.

                  So maybe our descendents will be like the Tarahumaras, living a hand to mouth existence in the ruins of their ancestors.
                  That is a scenario which might develop in isolated places around the world. Depending on the area, surviving species, etc. some may be able to develop a reasonable cooperative that still has adequate shelter, books, and the capacity for a very simple but 'village' rich life.

                  "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 11:29:27 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I have read both Collapse and GGS. I am a big (0+ / 0-)

                    Diamond fan. I can't wait for his new book to show up at our library (I am not a big enough fan to pay hardback prices).

                    By the way, I meant to write Yanomami, not Tarahumara. The Tarahumara probably do live like their remote ancestors in Copper Canyon in Mexico. Creeping senility stikes again.

                    •  Oh, glad I found this. Got very distracted (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Andrew F Cockburn

                      Creeping senility imposed on ADD is the pits.  Diamond is really a gem :)   And thank you for not letting me think I had lost yet another piece of my mind. (Tarahumara? Not Yanomami?)

                      I know, there would be more of it left if I hadn't been giving pieces of it away for years...

                      "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 Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 12:34:57 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Well, they did SURVIVE it (3+ / 0-)

                When the first European explorers got there, the trees were all gone, but there were still some Easter Islanders around.  They were living a pretty miserable life, having lost the ability to get off the island, but they were still surviving.

                Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

                by leevank on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:11:22 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Actually some Easter Islanders DID survive, (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ginny in CO, Calamity Jean

                as they were still there when the white man came. (It's arguable whether the enforced contact was the only thing that kept them going, or an even greater blow than deforestation, or "all of the above".)

                They're still there today, but the island has never again been able to support a population that's more than a fraction of the size it had at peak.

                If it's
                Not your body,
                Then it's
                Not your choice
                And it's
                None of your damn business!

                by TheOtherMaven on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:18:13 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Saw a travel ad just recently. (0+ / 0-)

                  There are a few hotels catering to tourists. Can't remember any description of the flora, just the statues.

                  "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 11:31:59 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  there is one thing we can do ... (3+ / 0-)

          heat it up so it can't cool down. like Venus.

          IIRC, the Venus is so hot that all the carbon and water on the surface got baked out & is now present in its atmosphere. There is no way the planet can cool back down to a point where life would be possible.

          Whether people could pull this off on earth, I have no idea. James Hansen implies that it's possible.

          When I hear people go on about how "the planet will be fine; life will survive, regardless of what happens to the people," I think about Venus.

          An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

          by mightymouse on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 07:25:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The Earth is farther from the sun. The amount (4+ / 0-)

            of radiation available is therefore less, so this doesn't seem likely to me. Not that I would want to bet against Hansen.

          •  The history of earth does have periods (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mightymouse, Calamity Jean

            of major change, mass but not total extinction, and subsequent evolution. This is from above,

            Ocean acidification led to planetary extinction events. The great Permian mass extinction had an acidic low oxygen ocean.
            Toxic sulfur compounds become abundant in acidic low oxygen environments. FishOutofWater

            Quite an interesting period - just before the Jurassic.

            "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 11:41:47 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, when the ocean becomes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ginny in CO

        acidified from CO2, basic laws (ha ha) of chemistry suggested that something else becomes equally basified.

        Just need to figure out what that is and add that stuff back into the oceans . . .

      •  Also, the advent of photosynthesis (3+ / 0-)

        even earlier nearly wiped out all life, since it was primarily anaerobic bacteria.  The damn algae polluted the atmosphere with toxic oxygen.

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:25:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Now this gave me a laugh. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mindful Nature

          The comments have established that many times during earth's evolution, a lot has been wiped out. While I have known about this, it just hit me that another part of the discussion is how STOOPID we humans have been about polluting the planet, possibly enough to destroy ourselves and many species.

          Plenty of references to our intelligence being over rated.

          Well, looking back on all those failures along the way, God, Mother Nature, the FSM or the Force, haven't done much better. :) :)

          Maybe we should get over ourselves and get on with how much we can clean up our act.

          "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 01:46:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Missing poll choice: (4+ / 0-)

    Ideation, of both the good and not so good variety.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:16:48 PM PST

  •  Thank you for writing this ... (8+ / 0-)

    I love the analogy from human to planetary system, that human body can be messed up by too much CO2 / acidity but we have ability to (stop holding our breath and) exhale while the planet cannot exhale out the excess carbon.

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 06:41:33 PM PST

    •  Thanks for suggesting it. Got me over a block. (8+ / 0-)

      35 years of explaining complex physiology to patients so they understand the underlying pathophysiology their disease causes that needs to be controlled, has taught me people relate well to what is going on in their own bodies. It's a form of anthropomorphism, which humans have always used to understand their world. Since nature is very repetitive, it works fairly often.

      The body's ability to exhale enough of the CO2 can be exceeded. It isn't the only cause of hypercapnia, but it happens and can kill.  

      Feel free to use.

      "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 Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 06:54:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thus ... (6+ / 0-)

        a footnote to the diary: a response to global warming denier assertion that CO2 isn't a poison and hasn't killed anyone.

        PS:  Sorry for not responding to message. Didn't see it until after you'd already posted the diary.

        Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

        by A Siegel on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 07:13:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No problem, figured you were at work... nt. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          paradise50, elwior

          "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 Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 07:20:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  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

          [ Parent ]

          •  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

            [ Parent ]

          •  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

            [ Parent ]

      •  Images ... (9+ / 0-)

        will send code for these below:

        1 -- Waterworld

        Global Warming. The Earth became the newest Waterworld.

        B -- Bad Astronomer

        Earth on Fire

        C -- Eggplant (one of my favorites)

        Global Warming

        D -- Sad Earth

        Cool Globes Chicago Sad Earth

        Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

        by A Siegel on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 07:20:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great analogy, and illustration (5+ / 0-)

    of why we need to take action ASAP or risk suffocating our planet and ourselves!

    Climate activists unite: we need a symbol. A name. A vision. Join the discussion.

    by Eowyn9 on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 08:38:56 PM PST

  •  I manage my stress by blogging about the (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ginny in CO, elwior, maryabein, A Siegel

    solution to this mess,
    contraception,
    here at Daily Kos,
    and working on home improvement projects,
    such as putting up insulation and drywall
    in my ceiling,
    and planning a chicken coop in the spring,
    to become a little more sustainable,
    and kissing and hugging my wife,
    who takes care of me.

    Glad your diary got rescued.

    I've had a few of mine rescued;
    the positive feedback feels good.

    I'm happy for you.

    •  Contraception ... (3+ / 0-)

      one of the most underrated of 21st century technical advances was the scientific basis for (beyond the "French letter") for control of conception.

      PS:  In terms of 'self esteem', I've always rated 'diary rescue' as a thoughtful reaction by a group 'this discussion merits visibility' vs the rather luck of the draw ending up on recommended list. And the move to community spotlight has greatly increased the likelihood of rescued becoming recommended.

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:30:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I really appreciate community spotlight. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel, bigjacbigjacbigjac

        It's quicker than going down the recent diaries list and we do have a lot of very good writers on many subjects. Big reason I spend (too much) time here.

        "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 01:50:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great Diary! Thanks. (4+ / 0-)

    I was interested in your emphasis on time. I taught junior high school math and then high school math for a few years about fifty years ago, and I observed that teaching about math problems involving time was more difficult for my students than anything else. Probability problems were in second place.

    My junior high school students had a tough time with time zones. My high school students had problems with distance, rate, and time problems. For example, I would often give this simple problem for extra credit on quizzes: Professor Brown lives two miles form school. He knows that if he leaves his home at a certain time and then averages 60 mph on his drive to school, he will get to his classroom on time. One morning he left on time but became distracted on his drive and realized that he had averaged 30 mph for the first mile. How fast will he have to drive over the second mile in order to get to his classroom on time?

    The students almost never got it right. The most common answer was 90 mph. 30 + 90 = 120 and 120/2 = 60. We humans are not evolved to instinctively understand the passage of time except for night and day and the general periods in between. In my working life I hired professionals and one of their necessary tasks was to estimate how long it would take to build a unique system. They had to estimate the time required to perform many small tasks and then roll them up into a grand total, which would amount to several man-years. They had no feel for how long each small thing should take. I wrote a computer program that would do it for them.

    Marilyn vos Savant created a firestorm when she drew attention, inadvertently I think, to our lack of instinctive understanding of probabilities. She asked the famous game show question. There are three doors and behind one of them is a car. Behind the other two are goats. The contestant selects door one to start the game. The host then opens door two and reveals a goat. The host then offers the contestant a chance to switch doors. Should she switch?

    A week or two later Savant published her answer, and all hell broke loose. You can read all about it by searching on "marilyn vos savant game show problem." Mathematics professors who had advanced degrees, some even were department heads, got it wrong. They wrote rude letters to her. These professors were no better than my students at understanding probabilities as applied to the real world.

    The net of all this is that the people who have to make decisions about the urgency of dealing with the effects of global warming seem to rely almost solely on their instincts, on their evolved natures, and they are almost always wrong in their conclusions.

    It seems trivial, but evolution by natural selection may betray our species. We are built to screw this up.

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 03:16:01 AM PST

    •  I seem to remember when I took those (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hestal

      math classes about 50 years ago, that everyone hated the time and distance problems. I also remember the one and only teacher who got me to really appreciate and understand math. Miss Groteluschen. If you are thinking a tall, slender woman with short gray hair, white shirts with high collars and long sleeves, over straight skirts, that's her. :)

      Had forgotten about Marilyn, will have to try to look her up for grins and giggles.

      When it comes to the climate and ecological problems coming at us, time is the issue getting bigger by every interval of time.  And the reluctance of those who need to be making the decisions to deal with them is getting really scary.

      Humans are very complex beings. Unfortunately we got on some wrong tracks and the powers that came to be were hell bent it seems. All those of us who have our heads out of the sand can do is try. Maybe we will be able to mitigate some of the losses, suffering and damage.

      "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 03:41:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Liked your math puzzle. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hestal, leevank, A Siegel, offgrid

      Doesn't look like there is a correct answer. 60 mph = 1 mile per minute, taking 2 minutes for the usual trip to school. 30 mph = 1 mile in 2 minutes, so if he had already gone 1 mile at 30 mph, his whole usual trip time was up.

      •  That's the answer I came up with too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hestal

        Although I'll admit that at first, I came up with 90 mph, but then thought, "No, that can't be right!"

        Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

        by leevank on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:24:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The answer is FTL (0+ / 0-)

          (Faster Than Lightspeed)

          He needs to get there "instantaneously", or at least cover the remaining distance at a sufficiently extreme rate to arrive at the same instant he's still sitting there going "D'oh - oops!"

          There was a young lady named Bright
          Whose speed was much faster than light.
          She set out one day
          In a relative way
          And returned on the preceding night.

          If it's
          Not your body,
          Then it's
          Not your choice
          And it's
          None of your damn business!

          by TheOtherMaven on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 07:51:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Your only focus on fossil fuels is not sufficient (3+ / 0-)

    This is not just a fossil fuel problem.

    Biomass combustion also contributes to CO2 in the atmosphere, whether it is in biomass power plants or in forests burning down.

    Infrared energy transfer to the atmosphere through carbon dioxide is not distinguished by the source of the carbon dioxide occurring in the atmosphere.  

    •  I did reference others. Thanks for the addition.nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bisbonian

      "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 03:49:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ginny in CO, leevank, Calamity Jean

      The CO2 in the biomass is different the fossil fuels.  The CO2 in the biomass is not ancient an accumulated carbon.  Next year, a new crop will breathe it back in and make a new year of matter.

      Fossil fuels are different.  There are centuries worth of carbon piled up, and we are burning it at a far greater rate than the rate that it was made.

      It is fossil fuel problem.  Do you see the difference?

      Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

      by yet another liberal on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 03:49:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Except for deforestation (4+ / 0-)

        If that's what you were saying.  In that case, yes, there will be a net gain of CO2 in the atmosphere and less ability to reabsorbe each year.

        Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

        by yet another liberal on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 03:52:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not really, once in that atmosphere there (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ginny in CO, Mindful Nature

        is just one pool of CO2, it doesn't matter where it came from . . ..

        the only difference is the abundance of the carbon 14 isotope (used in carbon dating), which is basically absent from ancient samples - but plants and other life can't distinguish that nuance.

        •  Thanks, I was feeling a little fuzzy. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roadbed Guy

          The chemistry I took, a long time ago, didn't indicate a CO2 molecule from one source was different from another! (Isotopes aside) The fossil fuels produce a much greater amount than other sources - which is the reason they are such a problem.

          CO2 is relatively nonreactive - part of the problem in breaking it down.

          Oh well, not my target audience ;)   Let alone focus in this kind of teaching.  Very important to be able to translate what the docs tell a patient into something they can understand and use...

          "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 05:06:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Technically, this is not accurate either: (5+ / 0-)
            The fossil fuels produce a much greater amount than other sources - which is the reason they are such a problem.
            As can be seen by any of many carbon cycle diagrams easily  obtained from Googling, such as this one, only about 3% of CO2 going into the atmosphere each year is from fossil fuels - i.e., it's only a relatively small proportion of the total flux.

            The problem is that this even relatively minor "artificial" increase gets everything out of whack and the excess CO2 slowly accumulates (by slowly, I mean it takes many decades - which is the point we're not at!) because there are no natural carbon sinks capable of removing it from the atmosphere in total.

            The ocean is doing the best it can in this regard, but like you point out in this diary that opens a whole new can of worms - the acidification thing which is ultimately probably more of a problem than warming.

            •  ugh, "we're not at" should be (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ginny in CO

              "we're NOW at"

              d'ohh!!

            •  The acidification thing being more important (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roadbed Guy, Bisbonian, Calamity Jean

              than warming is definitely my issue. At least needing as much attention, since the combination makes the whole worse.

              Don't remember right now what search I did that the concept I mangled there came from. The basic issue is our increased burning of fossil fuels is producing a significant amount. That, the other important sources of CO2, and the other chemicals that also contribute to acidification, need to be cut back as much as possible, as soon as possible.  

              Because of the lack, or destruction, of natural sinks, and other ways the normal ecosystem is able to balance the acidity are maxed out. The human body has multiple possibilities - and they can also be overwhelmed quickly.

              "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 06:01:37 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Among other things, ocean acidification (3+ / 0-)

                degrades or prevents the ability of hard-shelled organisms to produce their shells.  All the way down to plankton.

                When banjos are outlawed, only outlaws will have banjos.

                by Bisbonian on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 06:39:47 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thank you, I had found that Really Interesting (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Calamity Jean

                  when I ran across it in checking some info - then couldn't remember it.  Too complicated for what I was trying to do with the diary, but a great add on for comments.

                  "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 12:16:20 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Ocean acidification is probably an easier problem (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ginny in CO

                to address than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

                For example, industrial processes produce large amounts of highly alkaline waste - instead of having that strewn across and destroying the terrestial landscape - why not dump it into the ocean?

                And efforts to fertilize the oceans (to convert dissolved CO2 to vegetation, which unlike the CO2 would not be acidic) with limiting nutrients (iron is the prime but still unverified suspect) have already taken place (from Wikipedia):

                Iron fertilization is the intentional introduction of iron to the upper ocean to stimulate a phytoplankton bloom. This is intended to enhance biological productivity, which can benefit the marine food chain and is under investigation with regards to being a successful means of facilitating increased carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere.
                Such geoengineering experiments are not w/o controversy however.
                •  Not without controversy? I am shocked! (0+ / 0-)

                  I apparently never posted the first answer started.

                  Ultimately what we have here is even more reason to wonder why the effort that should be further along to find answers, solutions, etc. is still on AVOID.

                  If we could get it moving forward, we might at least be able to mitigate some of the problems, suffering, 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 01:57:56 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Carbon from burned grass (0+ / 0-)

              That is replanted is carbon neutral.  But you already knew that.  And that's what my comment said even if the wording was nit-pickable.

              Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

              by yet another liberal on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 06:17:21 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I suppose some deep level number crunching (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ginny in CO

                needs to be done to verify that allegation.

                However, if the grass in question was NOT harvested and  burned, the carbon would remain sequestered and not in the atmosphere/ocean.   In fact, the US great plains in their primordial state with lots of perennial grasses (that did burn occassionally for sure, but not on a regular basis) sequestered a huge amount of carbon!

                In the case that the grass is grown and harvested regularly for energy, in that case I'd be shocked if the process really was energy and carbon neutral.  Just saying, modern agricultural uses a whole buttload of carbon-producing inputs.  And I'm just talking about fertilizer production - haven't even considered the tractors and other machinery involved . ..  .

                •  That's all true (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ginny in CO

                  But I'm just talking about the plant alone.  If the source of carbon in the plant matter is from the air, and next year's crop will breathe it back in.

                  However, now you have me questioning my understanding of that.

                  Does the plant take up carbon from the soil?  Or just from the air?

                  Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

                  by yet another liberal on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 06:44:12 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Plant definitely get carbon from the soil (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Ginny in CO

                    there is a large pool of organic carbon in soil, that provides plants with nutrients, etc.  Of course, this came from plants in the first place, so in a stable ecosytem this is probably a legitimately carbon neutral situation.

                    Here's a relevant snippet from Wikipedia:

                    Soil carbon and soil health

                    Soil carbon improves the physical properties of soil. It increases the cation exchange capacity (CEC) and water-holding capacity of sandy soil and it contributes to the structural stability of clay soils by helping to bind particles into aggregates.[3] Soil organic matter, of which carbon is a major part, holds a great proportion of nutrients, cations and trace elements that are of importance to plant growth. It prevents nutrient leaching and is integral to the organic acids that make minerals available to plants. It also buffers soil from strong changes in pH.[4] It is widely accepted that the carbon content of soil is a major factor in its overall health.

                    [edit] Losses of soil carbon

                    Although exact quantities cannot be documented, human activities have caused massive losses of soil organic carbon.[5] First was the use of fire, which removes soil cover and leads to immediate and continuing losses of soil organic carbon. Tillage and drainage both expose soil organic matter to oxygen and oxidation. In the Netherlands, East Anglia, Florida, and the California delta, subsidence of peat lands from oxidation has been severe as a result of tillage and drainage.

                    Grazing management that exposes soil (either excessive or insufficient recovery periods) can also cause losses of soil organic carbon.

                    Thus, my understanding is that if humans want to use/grow biomass for energy (or for food for that matter) - they disturb and destroy this large soil reservoir of carbon (i.e., release it to the atmosphere).   And compensate through the use of fertilizers (which primarily supply nitrogen and phosphorus, but require carbon to produce - e.g., in the Haber process).
        •  The point was the rates (0+ / 0-)

          If you read the whole comment that is.

          Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

          by yet another liberal on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 06:15:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  There is just one pool of CO2, but ... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ginny in CO, Calamity Jean, offgrid

          if it's from renewable biomass (that is in fact being renewed at the same rate it's being burned), then it is constantly being recycled.  It's true that you can't distinguish the individual CO2 molecules, but to the extent that CO2 is being produced from renewable biomass, it's being recirculated.  For example, if ALL CO2 production came from renewable biomass, then atmospheric levels of CO2 wouldn't increase over the long term.

          Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

          by leevank on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:28:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, once in the atmosphere it's one pool of (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW

          CO2, but the source does matter.  If we had an energy supply that was almost entirely wind and solar but used biomass to fill in gaps, AND biomass burned in any one year was no more than the amount of biomass that grew in that year, then biomass burning would have no effect on global warming because carbon in to biomass would balance carbon out and there would be no accumulation in the atmosphere.  In the long run we can't burn more biomass than grows, because we can't "borrow" biomass from the future and burn it before it grows.  The only reason carbon compounds are accumulating in the air is that we are digging up and burning fossil carbon that's been underground for millions of years.  

          I ran across a good analogy several months ago.  Sorry I can't remember where, so I can't give credit, but here it is:  Imagine a little girl with four rich and doting grandparents.  She has hundreds of toys, so her parents have made a rule: Only five toys on the floor of your room at any one time.  All other toys must be in the toybox.  She goes to her room, picks up a toy, plays with it for a while, then tosses it on the floor and leaves.  Q: Is she breaking the five-toy rule?  A: We don't know, where did that toy come from?  If she picked it up off the floor, no.  If she got it out of the toybox. yes.  

          Biomass carbon = toys on floor.  Fossil fuel carbon = toys in toybox.  

          Renewable energy brings national global security.     

          by Calamity Jean on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:58:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  There isn't any difference in the infrared (0+ / 0-)

        absorption spectra between carbon dioxide emitted
        by fossil fuel combustion and carbon dioxide emitted from burning down forests -- no difference at all.

        There is no difference at all on the expected atmospheric
        residence time between carbon dioxide that is generated
        by fossil fuels and carbon dioxide generated from combustion of biomass.

        Just because biomass is generate by consuming carbon dioxide does not mean that the carbon dioxide generated by combusting biomass does not contribute to infrared absorption when that carbon dioxide encounters infrared in the atmosphere.

        There is no 'good' carbon dioxide and 'bad' carbon dioxide that is distinguishable on the basis of the source of the carbon dioxide emissions being from biomass rather than fossil fuels combustion.   Making distinctions like that has nothing to do with the science of carbon dioxide molecule interaction with electromagnetic radiation in the infrared spectra as it is emitted by the earth's surface from solar heating, or when received directly from the sun.

    •  Burning waste and biomass merely (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ginny in CO, Calamity Jean

      recycles carbon atoms rather than adding more carbon to the system from fossil fuels buried in geological formations.

      The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

      by ybruti on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:28:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  if, by system, you mean the atmosphere (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ybruti

        then your comment is just play wrong.

        •  Thanks. I note that you are an expert on (0+ / 0-)

          environmental issues and I would appreciate more information on the issues of burning trash and biomass. I've read an article about Converting trash to energy in Denmark and an article about waste gasification

          which could improve the environmental performance of waste to energy. Gasification, where material is heated up in an oxygen-starved chamber, allows for more control of emissions compared to combustion.
          Any more suggestions?

          The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

          by ybruti on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:20:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Conventional waste to energy plants (0+ / 0-)

            are like conventional coal-fired boilers.  No more of them should be built for the simple reason that process flue gas from atmospheric combustion apparatus (combustion process carried out at atmospheric pressure) creates a gaseous waste that is not amenable to CO2 control.   At least in gasification, because the generated process gas is easier to treat because it is generated at a lower temperature at a lesser volumetric rate than can be achieved in atmospheric combustion apparatus, it is conceivable to collect and compress CO2 combustion offgas for control.

  •  The major factor facing marine organisms (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonmug, mightymouse, Ginny in CO

    from decreasing pH is not really emphasized in the diary, which is that their calcified shells dissolve (leading to their demise . . . ).  

    As explained by Wikipedia:

    Although the natural absorption of CO2 by the world's oceans helps mitigate the climatic effects of anthropogenic emissions of CO2, it is believed that the resulting decrease in pH will have negative consequences, primarily for oceanic calcifying organisms.

    These span the food chain from autotrophs to heterotrophs and include organisms such as coccolithophores, corals, foraminifera, echinoderms, crustaceans and molluscs.[41]

    As described above, under normal conditions, calcite and aragonite are stable in surface waters since the carbonate ion is at supersaturating concentrations. However, as ocean pH falls, the concentration of carbonate ions required for saturation to occur increases, and when carbonate becomes undersaturated, structures made of calcium carbonate are vulnerable to dissolution. Therefore, even if there is no change in the rate of calcification, the rate of dissolution of calcareous material increases.[42]

    Research has already found that corals,[43][44][45] coccolithophore algae,[46][47][48][49] coralline algae,[50] foraminifera,[51] shellfish[52] and pteropods[9][53] experience reduced calcification or enhanced dissolution when exposed to elevated CO2.

    •  Something I ran across with an AHA, (0+ / 0-)

      and left for the discussion. The diary approach using the very basics so the person understands and is not overwhelmed, is from working with a lot of patients who are newly diagnosed, trying to cope with being diabetic, etc.

      When they start with the essential foundation/framework to add to, they can begin asking for more info when their stressed out brains are able to take in more info.

      The coral reef shrinking is one of the problems a lot of people have heard of.

      "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 02:07:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I only stress about the things I can affect (0+ / 0-)

    I seldom see anyone trying to reduce their own carbon footprint, they only like to buy stuff. So I try not to stress.

    Activists pollute too, often much more so than others, they are richer and fly about, talking to each other about how much they are doing or demanding the government somehow save us from the evil oil companies, all the while pumping gas into their cars and denying me the carbon free food I feed my family. (free ranging wild meat)

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 06:06:56 AM PST

    •  Perhaps you need to get our more (4+ / 0-)

      and meet some actual environmentalists.

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:26:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Activists are richer and fly about? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean, James Wells

      I've only met the poor ones ;)  Some stress out over being able to afford a vehicle with a much lower carbon foot print. Others over when a decent public transportation system will cut commutes to more reasonable times, not to mention having a lower carbon foot print.

      I, and many others, am counting down to April 26 when the west Denver metro rail line opens :)  :)  The metro wide project started ??? ago with all kinds of negativity about whether the trains would ever have enough ridership to even pay the operating costs. They were and still are packed. Lots of people love them - including my sister and brother in law, who have one electric vehicle and one gas hog. The latter is his, drives it to play golf and 4 wheel in the mountains. At least he makes no pretense being concerned about his water and gas hobbies....

      "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 12:55:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In the end it is simple as this. The size of the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bisbonian, Bob Guyer, Calamity Jean

    deer herd is directly proportional to the amount of browse that it can access.

    When the browse is gone so is the herd.

  •  Y'all are not going to believe this... (4+ / 0-)

    I get the thing about CO2, no question.

    This past Sunday, my Dad (89) suffered a massive heart attack. He had had blockage which they then discovered in the coronary arteries. Plus the heart muscles were undoubtedly damaged beyond healing, which was confirmed by catheterization with dye. They said they could not use any balloons or stents, and surgery was much too high a risk. Therefore, on Sunday it was decided to switch to palliative care and hospice.

    The respiratory nurse on Sunday said that oxygenization was not a prob. It was VENTILATION (getting rid of the CO2) that was the problem, as she explained. I knew this already. And, even before reading this article, I replied, "Oh, and too much CO2 changes the PH level." Her look confirmed my suspicions, that he was slowly accumulating CO2 and changing all kinds of biochem processes that would preclude his ability to heal and survive, just as a person who is trapped in a place without a way to get rid of the CO2, like a submarine or car in a snow drift.

    Yesterday night, reading this diary, I immediately understood the issue. CO2 is danged easy to put into a system, but extremely hard to do and taking a long time.

    I saw the results early Wednesday of what happens when a system (my Dad) cannot ventilate or remove the CO2.

    Now, FWIW, I can see that I will have to see the same process in 10 to 25 years, or sooner, eh? 2023 to 2038. Enough time to see the Earth struggling like my Dad.

    So, how shall I self-medicate? Alcohol is not a good choice, but in moderation a delicious one. My state is not like Washington or Colorado. Nuts. Other choices are simply to hide or run away, since those in charge are not interested (as the Earlichs say) in addressing this problem. Another choice is to wind up things and take the steps to exit before it hurts. Eh? Like in Soylent Green, baby, just like in Soylent Green.

    Incidentally, our fine Lutheran pastor (we are Catholic, but I met him in the hall and thought, you'll do -- a very nice chap!) said that the last thing that works is hearing. So, like in Soylent Green, I played my Dad his favorite records (Jersey Bounce by Shep Fields, Clebanoff, Mantovani, and some Swing music) as well as a lovely program from 1965 called "The Torch Hour" with Franklin MacCormick.
    http://chicagoradioandmedia.com/...
    Other programs are Music 'Til Down (MTD), with the theme, "That's All" by Sy Mann
    http://www.youtube.com/...

    Unless, as the Earlichs say, we do something about this problem world wide, we'll have to start playing "THAT'S ALL", baby, 'cause that's IT!

    Meh. Capitalists. Meh.

    Ugh. --UB.

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

    by unclebucky on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:41:10 AM PST

    •  All too familiar uncle bucky. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      Glad the pastor told you about the hearing - and you jumped on it. (I am partial to Lutheran pastors. Had a wonderful uncle who was a devout Lutheran and darned if every Lutheran pastor I've worked with in hospitals, home care, etc. hasn't been a treasure.)

      Sounds like your dad has had good care.

      The time issue is what most of these diaries are about at the core. How long before any/all of this starts affecting people, how extensively, is one hell of a crap shoot.

      Planning is appropriate no matter what is going on with the environment. I would seriously like us to legalize euthanasia ASAP. There are plenty of folks who would not have a problem choosing it and have valid reasons to.

      If you don't have advance directives, get them done. Talk with your doctor when you can. Keep playing with ideas and paying attention, an answer will likely come in good time.

      "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 01:12:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You use a good analogy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ginny in CO

    Here's another one between the environment and medicine:  The growth of civilization really resembles the growth of metastasizing cancer.  Civilization began as a relatively small phenomenon in the Middle East, but it rapidly spread, creating multiple centers all over the Earth, which each began growing.  And as it spread, it consumed more and more resources, just as a spreading cancer uses so much energy that the rest of the body becomes malnourished.

    A graph of the human population of the Earth over time looks quite similar to a graph of the number of cancer cells in a body when the cancer is rapidly growing and spreading.  Somehow, if the patient is to survive, we're going to have to find a way to stop this incessant growth -- both in numbers of people and in our use of non-renewable resources.

    Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

    by leevank on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:45:54 AM PST

    •  Yup, that is one that has been part of (0+ / 0-)

      things like The Limits to Growth. I can't think of the quote someone here uses as a sig line. To the effect that unrestrained business growth is the same principle as cancer.

      Being an atheist, the whole emphasis on 'go forth and multiply' has peeved me for as long as I can remember. Just because the Lord stopped without saying How Much to multiply, doesn't mean we couldn't have used some common sense.

      So now we are going to have billions of excess people, many of other faiths, who are going to go through a lot of hell right here on earth before they pass on to whatever comes after.

      The changes we need to make boggle the mind, but not as much as the delay in getting started.

      "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 01:22:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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