Tag Archive | carbon dioxide

“Exclusive: Elevated CO2 Levels Directly Affect Human Cognition, New Harvard Study Shows”


In a landmark public health finding, a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health finds that carbon dioxide (CO2) has a direct and negative impact on human cognition and decision-making. These impacts have been observed at CO2 levels that most Americans — and their children — are routinely exposed to today inside classrooms, offices, homes, planes, and cars.


“Animals Make a Difference”

Changing the distribution of predators and prey in an ecosystem can turn things upside down.

We all know that biodiversity is an important feature of our planet. Two papers published last week provide fascinating illustrations of why that is so.

Losing Big Fish Means More CO2 in the Atmosphere

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“The World’s Existing Power Plants Will Emit 300 Billion Tons Of Carbon Dioxide In Their Lifetimes”




Existing power plants around the world will pump out more than 300 billion tons of carbon dioxide over their expected lifetimes, significantly adding to atmospheric levels of the climate-warming gas, according to UC Irvine and Princeton University scientists.

Existing power plants across the globe will emit over 300 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere before they retire, according to a new study published Tuesday.

The new research, as reported by Science Daily, is also the first to quantify how fast these “baked in” emissions are growing as more power plants are constructed — roughly four percent a year. That’s a problem because it means construction of new fossil fuel-burning power plants is outdistancing the rate at which old ones are being taken offline.


“Carbon Dioxide Levels Just Hit Their Highest Point In 800,000 Years”



The concentration of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas that drives climate change, hit 402 parts per million this week — the highest level recorded in at least 800,000 years.

The recordings came from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, which marked another ominous milestone last May when the 400 ppm threshold was crossed for the first time in recorded history.


It’s not just the level that counts, its the rate of change. This is what was said about the rate of change:

Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels spike every spring but this year the threshold was crossed in March, two months earlier than last year. In fact, it’s happening “at faster rates virtually every decade,” according to James Butler, Director of NOAA’s Global Monitoring Division, a trend that “is consistent with rising fossil fuel emissions.”

“US cap-and-trade system back on track to cut carbon emissions”



The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative had its first auction this week since lowering its cap — and the results suggest the system is once again effectively reducing carbon emissions.

Encompassing nine states in the northeast, RGGI is a cap-and-trade system that started operating in 2008. It sets an overall cap on the amount of carbon dioxide that can be emitted by the participating states. Then it breaks that amount into permits — each allowing for one ton of emissions in a given year — and auctions them off to the firms subject to the system.

That’s where the problem lay: starting in 2010, the cost of the permits in RGGI’s auctions flatlined at just under $2 per ton. At such a low price, the incentive to cut was low-to-non-existent — a sign that RGGI’s cap was so high it wasn’t reducing carbon emissions beyond what business-as-usual would’ve done.


Just like the failed emission permit market in Europe, the US States involved responded to perceived market failure by cutting the amount of permits available to trade. The permit prices are now rising to levels which create incentives to physically reduce emissions rather than just to buy them. This cooperation across State boundaries shows that America itself doesn’t have to sign up for Kyoto if the States act as though they had signed up. That’s the beauty of the Federal System.

Seeing is Believing ?


Image reproduced with the kind permission of Carbon Visuals.

Shrink that Footprint asks a very interesting question ;

If we could see carbon dioxide, would we take it more seriously?

Carbon Visuals provides the materials for the test. Look at the gallery of images below and then ask yourself if seeing is believing.


The pink cube is the actual volume of carbon dioxide gas we can emit and still have a chance of keeping global warming below 2 °C. It is 81 km high (51 miles). The other volumes are the emissions from the proven reserves of fossil fuels.
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Carbon Visuals.


The pink cube, which is 78 km high (49 miles) is the actual volume of our ‘carbon budget’: 900 billion tonnes of CO2. The shapes to the right show the emissions from proven reserves listed in Global Energy Outlook 2012.
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Carbon Visuals.


If all the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were shared equally amongst every person on the planet (7 billion of us) this is how much we’d have each – 446 tonnes of it.
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Carbon Visuals.


The ‘carbon canyons’ of the city of London. Each tower represents the annual carbon footprint (2009/10) of a public building.
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Carbon Visuals.

Why don’t you provide the answer in the Poll below?

And whilst you are at it, why not take my Survey?

Please download and complete the survey here.


A big thanks to Carbon Visuals for permitting me to use their images.