The Last Time There Was This Much CO2, Trees Grew at the South Pole

[...] The signs of our overheated planet abound, and another collection of recent reports and studies shows things are only continuing to accelerate as human-caused climate disruption progresses.

A recently published study showed that Earth’s glaciers are now melting five times more rapidly than they were in the 1960s.

“The glaciers shrinking fastest are in central Europe, the Caucasus region, western Canada, the U.S. Lower 48 states, New Zealand and near the tropics,” lead author Michael Zemp, director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service at the University of Zurich told Time Magazine. Glaciers in those places are losing an average of more than 1 percent of their mass each year, according to the study. “In these regions, at the current glacier loss rate, the glaciers will not survive the century,” added Zemp.

Meanwhile, the World Meteorological Organization announced that extreme weather events impacted 62 million people across the world last year. In 2018, 35 million people were struck by flooding, and Hurricanes Florence and Michael were just two of 14 “billion-dollar disasters” in 2018 in the U.S. More than 1,600 deaths were linked to heat waves and wildfires in Europe, Japan and the U.S. The report also noted the last four years were the warmest on record.

Extreme weather events impacted 62 million people across the world last year.

As an example of this last statistic, another report revealed that Canada is warming at twice the global rate. “We are already seeing the effects of widespread warming in Canada,” Elizabeth Bush, a climate science adviser at Environment Canada, told The Guardian. “It’s clear, the science supports the fact that adapting to climate change is an imperative.”

Another recent report showed that the last time there was this much CO2 in the atmosphere (412 ppm), in the Pliocene Epoch 5.3 to 2.6 million years ago, sea levels were 20 meters higher than they are right now, trees were growing at the South Pole, and average global temperatures were 3 to 4 degrees Centigrade (3°-4° C) warmer, and even 10°C warmer in some areas. NASA echoed the report’s findings.

And if business as usual continues, emissions will only accelerate. The International Energy Agency announced that global carbon emissions set a record in 2018, rising 1.7 percent to a record 33.1 billion tons.

 

Read more:  https://truthout.org/articles/the-last-time-there-was-this-much-co2-trees-grew-at-the-south-pole/

By Dahr Jamail in Truthout, April 29, 2019