National Geographic: Six Degrees Could Change the World

Synopsis:
Year:
2008
2,535 Views


carbon dioxide, methane,

nitrous oxide and ozone.

They are like a dome over the planet,

retaining just enough

of the sun's reflected energy

to maintain temperatures

that support life.

As the amounts of those gases increase,

they trap more heat

and can radically affect

the climate all over the planet.

For the last 250 years,

greenhouse emissions have soared

as we find more and more ways

to use more and more energy.

CO2 is the hidden price we pay.

Carbon dioxide rises

into the atmosphere

from the energy that powers

all our modern conveniences.

It's literally in the air we breathe.

There are now 383 carbon dioxide

molecules out of every million.

It seems minuscule,

but as the amount of CO2 rises,

so does the average temperature

all over the planet.

Doubling of CO2 is

a guarantee for global disaster.

The dangerous level

is about 450 parts per million,

and we're already up to 383.

Additional global warming

of one or two degrees Celsius

is a very big deal.

All we're doing is saying

what we think our best estimate is,

what will happen if we carry on

at the rate we're going.

So what you can do is to lay out

a number of possible pictures

of the future

and hope people will select

the right one.

If the world warms

by one degree,

the Arctic is ice-free

for half the year,

opening the legendary

northwest passage for ships.

Tens of thousands of homes

around the Bay of Bengal are flooding.

Hurricanes begin hitting

the South Atlantic.

Severe droughts in the western U.S.

Cause shortages

in global grain and meat markets.

This could be our world

plus-one degree.

Warming of just one degree

could turn some of America's

most fertile ranchland

into desert... again.

much of the American west

was part of a vast desert

dominating the continent.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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