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#1
Old 12-29-2017, 11:55 AM
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We Stop Emitting CO2, Methane, Other Greenhouse Gases Tomorrow - Now What?

Let's say that, somehow or another, all man-made greenhouse emissions stop on a dime tomorrow.

What happens then? Are we collectively too far gone w/r/t climate change to make a difference? How long would it take for the effects of climate change to be reversed? A generation? A century?
#2
Old 12-29-2017, 12:17 PM
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If we stopped tomorrow it would make a huge difference. We are not too far gone. But remember all of this is a small change over a yearly basis and only really noticeable when looked at over decades.

The scientist can track the changes year to year but we observe only the larger changes which are gradual.

It would be many decades before the temperature lowered but it would probably stop the rise within a 2-4 decades. (I am really out of my depth on this estimate as obviously we can't stop all greenhouse gases on a dime).

The most basic way to actually lower the CO2 amounts would be to have more trees and plants then we have currently.

If we could stop it today, the oceans will still catch up to the rise in atmospheric temperatures and the ice caps will melt more and coastal flooding will increase, but I don't believe it will be catastrophic. If we don't stop climate change then in 80 years most of our coastal cities will be flooding, spending huge amounts to protect themselves or at least extremely vulnerable to coastal storms.
#3
Old 12-29-2017, 01:06 PM
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CO2 lasts something like 200 years in the atmosphere. So we'd have to invest scrubbers if we wanted to bring levels down.

No idea what the long term climate implications would be. I think temps would still go up, but only by a couple degrees.
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#4
Old 12-29-2017, 01:17 PM
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What What Exit? said and:

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyHomie View Post
How long would it take for the effects of climate change to be reversed? A generation? A century?
About 500 years as a minimum.

Quote:
Individual carbon dioxide molecules have a short life time of around 5 years in the atmosphere. However, when they leave the atmosphere, they're simply swapping places with carbon dioxide in the ocean. The final amount of extra CO2 that remains in the atmosphere stays there on a time scale of centuries.
Quote:
What really governs the warming potential is how long the extra CO2 remains in the atmosphere. CO2 is essentially chemically inert in the atmosphere and is only removed by biological uptake and by dissolving into the ocean. Biological uptake (with the exception of fossil fuel formation) is carbon neutral: Every tree that grows will eventually die and decompose, thereby releasing CO2. (Yes, there are maybe some gains to be made from reforestation but they are probably minor compared to fossil fuel releases).

Dissolution of CO2 into the oceans is fast but the problem is that the top of the ocean is “getting full” and the bottleneck is thus the transfer of carbon from surface waters to the deep ocean. This transfer largely occurs by the slow ocean basin circulation and turn over (*3). This turnover takes 500-1000ish years. Therefore a time scale for CO2 warming potential out as far as 500 years is entirely reasonable (See IPCC 4th Assessment Report Section 2.10).
Of course, that can be shortened by new technology or moves that increase the sequestration of CO2. Of course, a lot of that will be possible by consulting the scientists and modelers that investigate the problem, but it is hard to do nowadays when one takes into account that those very climate scientists that will help humanity to guide it towards proper Geo-engineering solutions are being falsely accused of fraud by the deniers right now.

There is also the issue that since some powerful governments think that there is no problem that then one wonders who and how we will pay for those solutions.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 12-29-2017 at 01:19 PM.
#5
Old 12-29-2017, 01:26 PM
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Forgot the link of the quote in the last post:

https://skepticalscience.com/co2-residence-time.htm
#6
Old 12-31-2017, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GIGObuster View Post
[snip] ... About 500 years as a minimum ... [snap]
I think that's optimistic ... the carbon dioxide released from burning fossil fuels is in the atmosphere for good ... carbon that hasn't seen the light of day for 300 million years ... if we stop today the damage is still done, best we could hope for is to mitigate the damage ...
#7
Old 12-31-2017, 08:05 PM
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What are the possible benefits of increased levels of carbon in the atmosphere? If things actually did grow faster possibly we could start using more alcohol based fuels which would work out to be carbon neutral.
#8
Old 12-31-2017, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HoneyBadgerDC View Post
What are the possible benefits of increased levels of carbon in the atmosphere? ... [snip]
Well ... it will be warmer, something folks in the eastern USA might appreciate right now ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by HoneyBadgerDC View Post
[snap] ... If things actually did grow faster possibly we could start using more alcohol based fuels which would work out to be carbon neutral.
Eventually, sure, but there's no sense to it while we're burning coal for the electricity ... plus engines designed to burn gasoline don't burn alcohol very well ... I think we've started down the path of just using the electricity directly ... both options require a "carbon-free" electric source ...
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Old 12-31-2017, 10:37 PM
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It was warmer during the Jurassic and Cretaceous than it is now.

This does not, unfortunately, mean that global warming will bring back the dinosaurs.
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#10
Old 01-01-2018, 01:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HoneyBadgerDC View Post
What are the possible benefits of increased levels of carbon in the atmosphere?
Opening up of the Arctic for further energy exploration, which melts more ice, which allows for further energy exploration, which increases profits.
#11
Old 01-01-2018, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HoneyBadgerDC View Post
What are the possible benefits of increased levels of carbon in the atmosphere? If things actually did grow faster possibly we could start using more alcohol based fuels which would work out to be carbon neutral.
Bigger and more powerful storms and losing the coastal cities and towns will be hard to counter and will lead to far more misplaced people which will lead to atrocities and war.

OK, the worst is listed above, now the brighter side.

Some plants are already benefiting from the increased CO2 levels. Corn is one of the plants that will grow better as CO2 levels increase, though sadly Poison Ivy is another. Many other grains also benefit. So increased food production is a real benefit that could occur assuming we avoid the wars I mentioned above. Countering this is along with terrible storms, we should also expect more severe long term droughts scattered about devastating to some smaller poorer countries if they are struck .

Bene: As coastal lands are only a very small portion of agriculture, the loss of these lands will be more than countered by longer growing seasons in places like Canada and Russia.

The crops we do get from Florida are greatly endangered as Florida is probably the most vulnerable state in the US to rising sea levels. The bulk of the state is barely above sea-level.

Farmers will need to switch to the crops that benefit from the increased CO2 and the UN will need to be stronger to provide famine relief in a very organized fashion.

Of course, farming needs to be done smarter anyway. Increased drip and specific irrigation to conserve water & nitrogen.

Some more good news, early models predict tree growth will be encouraged by the higher CO2 levels.If allowed it will help arrest the CO2 levels.


There is a lot of information out there on this positive effect of higher CO2, here is one link to a NASA article on part of it. Though it covers only a small portion of a very complicated system.

Again, this benefit will not out-weigh the problems that anthropomorphic climate change is causing.
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Old 01-01-2018, 09:44 AM
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A bunch of new acreage will become suitable for agriculture ... Siberia, Canadian Arctic, Central Australia ...
#13
Old 01-01-2018, 09:52 AM
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It is too late to prevent climate change from doing major damage. In fact, a lot of damage has already been dealt. It is not, however, too late to make a difference. The quicker we act, the less severe the future damage will be.
#14
Old 01-01-2018, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by watchwolf49 View Post
Well ... it will be warmer, something folks in the eastern USA might appreciate right now ...
It's currently warmer on Antarctica than it is for most of the midwest. Many of those dopers out East are actually enjoying above zero temperatures right now.

And whenever the weather gets like this and people grumble about global warming bs, it's a nice time to be able to say 'yeah, but it's pushing a hundred in Australia (or South Africa or Brazil etc)"
#15
Old 01-01-2018, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
It is too late to prevent climate change from doing major damage. In fact, a lot of damage has already been dealt. It is not, however, too late to make a difference. The quicker we act, the less severe the future damage will be.
If we could slow our CO2 increase rate and bring it down to no increase in 20-25 years and plant enough forests we could still keep the sea level rise fairly small. Unchecked we should expect a rise by 2100 of 2'-5'. This will have devastating effects. A few models show scenarios that are in the 8' to 10' range. I doubt we will will arrest the increase of greenhouse gases though, though hopefully we'll slow it at least. So expect a 1-3' rise by 2100 and of course if nothing is done, it will continue to slowly rise over the next 2 centuries.

Having 80 years to protect against a 1' rise is not so bad, having 80 years to protect against 5' rise is not really feasible.
#16
Old 01-01-2018, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by What Exit? View Post
[snip] ... Having 80 years to protect against a 1' rise is not so bad, having 80 years to protect against 5' rise is not really feasible.
From "Just 22% of new seawalls are finished in areas hit by 2011 tsunami" -- The Japan Times -- March 11th, 2017:

Quote:
[snip] ... Some residents oppose the building of seawalls, saying they would no longer be able to see the water. Initial plans for walls rising up to 15 meters above sea level have been revised at 32 locations due to complaints, the survey found.

“Municipal governments have requested reconstruction that takes into consideration the scenery,” one Iwate Prefectural Government official said ... [snap]
It's feasible for Japan to build 50' seawalls ... and have finished 50 miles of wall since 2011 ... add in 50 years technological improvements and building these 5' seawalls is going to be cheap ...

Last edited by watchwolf49; 01-01-2018 at 11:57 AM. Reason: c.f. The Netherlands ...
#17
Old 01-01-2018, 12:16 PM
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The most important thing to recognize, is that large complex systems such as our planet, actually do NOT "heal themselves." Unlike a DNA controlled complex system, planets are not "trying to be" anything in particular. They just ARE.

Which is a bit of luck for us, because if Earth were "trying to be" what it started out as, life would probably never have begun. If it were "trying" to be the home for giant dinosaurs that it once was, then after the asteroid hit, it would have reverted to the way it was before, and the dino's would be on their way back.

Rivers that humans polluted to death, and then stopped adding nasty muck to, never returned to the way they were before we came. They evolved into something else.
#18
Old 01-01-2018, 01:05 PM
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A cemetery.
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