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Mankind versus Mother Nature

Earth News
10 Nov, 2006
- During the past century, the industrial activities of mankind have added immense amounts of carbon dioxide to the Earth's atmosphere through the burning of carbon-based fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. The pace of adding CO2 to the atmosphere is increasing due to worldwide industrial and other human activities. - It required tens of millions of years, if not hundreds of millions of years, for the Earth's natural, dynamic processes to remove almost incalculable quantities of CO2 from the atmosphere and sequester it underground in coal beds, in other fossil fuel deposits (oil, gas, tar sand, oil shale), and in rocks like limestone (which is calcium carbonate). - By digging up and releasing this buried carbon and CO2 at the present rapid pace, mankind is reversing in perhaps two centuries what Mother Nature required literally geologic ages to accomplish. - So in the course of two centuries, the one just past and the one upon which we are all about to embark, mankind may well force the Earth's atmosphere to regress by about 30 million years from a post-Pleistocene (or "Holocene") state of about 280 parts per million (ppm) of CO2, to an Eocene state of nearly 1,000 ppm CO2. - What will happen? Nobody really knows, and that's the problem. Will the CO2 build-up lead to global warming and severe climate changes? If we wait to find out, we might learn to our eventual sorrow that mankind has triggered atmospheric alterations that are beyond the ability of anyone or any technology to control

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