By Lane Sharman
Clean and Green Committee
Unfortunately, certain local media personalities and others use their public platform to misinform the common citizen about rising sea levels, climate change and the known science, much of which originated locally at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The science is crystal clear: The atmosphere is being asked to absorb a rate of increase of CO2 rarely seen, if ever, over geologic time. What gave rise to civilization was a steady level of CO2 in the atmosphere. Here is the record of CO2 from 10,000 years ago to the present:
As you can observe from the graph, the first 9,800 years was a period of stable CO2 levels at about 265 parts per million. Civilization was able to develop because the global climate was moderately stable after the last ice age. By contrast, the last 200 years are experiencing a meteoric rise in atmospheric CO2 levels. Again, CO2 is a gas that traps heat. So, it cannot come as a surprise to anyone with a basic education that, all things being equal, elevating CO2 levels translate into increasing temperatures on a global scale.
The question you might ask is, so what? Do I really need to be concerned about a slightly rising temperature? The answer is yes. And there is a good explanation: Earth (and the life it supports) is super-sensitive to slight changes in global temperature.