The Tipping Point…..

June 8, 2013

TornadoScientific monitors reported that the gas had reached an average daily level that surpassed 400 parts per million — just an odometer moment in one sense, but also a sobering reminder that decades of efforts to bring human-produced emissions under control are faltering.

The best available evidence suggests the amount of the gas in the air has not been this high for at least three million years, before humans evolved, and scientists believe the rise portends large changes in the climate and the level of the sea.

“It symbolizes that so far we have failed miserably in tackling this problem,” said Pieter P. Tans, who runs the monitoring program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that reported the new reading.

Source: Carbon Dioxide Level Passes Long-Feared Milestone – NYTimes.com.

I simply can’t understand how this issue has become a political point? Everyday the evidence is piled on that shows we just may hit the “tipping point” very soon.  If we continue to treat global warming as an elective issue instead of a mandate will we get to the point of no return?

For those who might not understand the concept of a “tipping point” let me show you a little about what Wikipedia says:

The phrase (tipping point)  has extended beyond its original meaning and been applied to any process in which, beyond a certain point, the rate of the process increases dramatically…. It can also be compared to phase transition in physics or the propagation of populations in an unbalanced ecosystem.

Journalists and academics have applied the phrase to dramatic changes in governments, such as during the Arab Spring The concept of at tipping point is described in an article in an academic journal, the Journal of Democracy, entitled China at the Tipping Point?: Foreseeing the unForeseeable

In short a tipping point is a point-of-no-return. Once a phenomenon reaches that point it is impossible to return to what is was before that event. One of the scary about this when it comes to greenhouse gases is that the tipping point is not that scary in and of itself. But that point then causes other effects which are very scary.  It is frightening to see that greenhouse gases are higher than they have ever been in the last three million years!

The trouble with the very basic U.S. mentality is that we seem to like to come right to the edge of disaster before we address it. Since this tipping point is not that dramatic will we really be able to back away from it? It seems  that our weather of the last half-dozen years has been about extremes. Are we even now beyond the tipping point. For our grandchildren I certainly pray we are not but I kind of think we might be.  Has our U.S. bravado got us into a problem that we can’t get out of?

 

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