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Earth's Temperature at Highest Levels in 400 Years 1044

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the hot-one-this-era dept.
thatguywhoiam writes "Congress asked, and the scientists have answered: 'The Earth is the hottest it has been in at least 400 years, probably even longer. The National Academy of Sciences, reaching that conclusion in a broad review of scientific work requested by Congress, reported Thursday that the 'recent warmth is unprecedented for at least the last 400 years and potentially the last several millennia.'"
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Earth's Temperature at Highest Levels in 400 Years

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  • temperature (Score:5, Funny)

    by mytrip (940886) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @06:37PM (#15585594) Homepage Journal
    dont blame me. i use amd.
    • by Tumbleweed (3706) *
      So are you going to upgrade to an Intel Core 2 Duo processor to get even lower power consumption than AMD? :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 22, 2006 @06:37PM (#15585598)
    I'll start: It was unusually warm at my locale this winter. That's proves global warming.
    • by TrancePhreak (576593) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @06:40PM (#15585615)
      It was unusually cold last summer here. Now it's average! Global warming must be true!
  • by twofidyKidd (615722) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @06:38PM (#15585600)
    CNN was reporting on 2,000 years last time I checked. Sensationalism, maybe?

    Study: Earth likely hottest in 2,000 years [cnn.com]
    • RTFA. The first sentence says 400 years or longer. If you actually read the stories you'll understand why, and get the point that it's hotter than it's been in a long time, and only getting hotter. I have no more patience for these fools who don't have an interest in science or much of anything outside their own little self serving world. They don't read scientific journals, and who hence have no idea how important the global scientific consensus for global warming is. These people don't even give a half a
  • please (Score:3, Interesting)

    by polar red (215081) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @06:38PM (#15585601)
    And can we now please take some PRECAUTIONARY ACTIONS?
    • Re:please (Score:3, Insightful)

      That depends.

      Did they need "precautionary actions" the last time this happened 400-X000 years ago?

      What about before that?

      No? Hmmm...

      There's no question in my mind that things like greenhouse gases and the decimation of the ozone layer are Bad Things, but I think there's more practical arguments that you can make for taking further measures against them than "ZOMG TEH EARTH WILL HEAT UP & KILL US ALL!"

      • Re:please (Score:5, Insightful)

        by shellbeach (610559) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:52PM (#15586747)
        That depends.

        Did they need "precautionary actions" the last time this happened 400-X000 years ago?

        What about before that?

        Well, correct me if I'm wrong, but the last time it happened the dominant life form wasn't industrialised and happily stuffing the atmosphere with greenhouse gasses ...

        Thing is, it's going to be very difficult to remove greenhouse gasses and stop global warming in 100 years' time should the majority of climate scientists actually turn out to be right. It's really not going to hurt us that much to stop producing greenhouse gasses now, and it might even turn out to be the right thing to do. Why not do it?
  • by Digital Vomit (891734) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @06:41PM (#15585620) Homepage Journal
    We-- we didn't listen!
  • by poopie (35416) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @06:43PM (#15585633) Journal
    Good luck to all those people living in Arizona and Nevada - you're entering a spiraling heat wave. Once people build up the land with houses and roads, the cars, pollution, and A/C makes the air even hotter.

    Oh, and with much of China and India either already a desert or turning into a desert due to deforestation thousands of years ago, it's not going to get any better for them.

    The desert is actually spreading too - look at China in google earth and see how much of China is sand, and with hunter/gatherer populations foraging for food and fuel, animals eating every plant that springs up from the earth, and pavement being laid down everywhere to speed rain runoff and reduce the amount of water that saturates the soil - the situation looks bleak.

    Seriously, I hate to sound like a tree hugging hippie, but if everyone in the world planted a few trees, I believe we could have a positive impact on the global climate
  • Thanks. What's the point of posting a story like this now, when everyone who reads slashdot has left work already? Nothing relieves the boredom of work like a good flamefest. Now I have to wait until tomorrow. (read from home? and waste MY precious time?)

    I love the smell of burning karma in the morning... It smells like slashdot!
  • Warmer than... (Score:5, Informative)

    by msauve (701917) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @06:44PM (#15585639)
    during the "little ice age [sunysuffolk.edu]." Wow.

    I'll bet it's warmer than it was 10,000 years ago [thinkquest.org], too.

  • by caffiend666 (598633) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @06:47PM (#15585653) Homepage
    There was a mini-ice age in the 1700's believed to be related to lower solar activity. All this means is we have returned to pre-mini-ice-age temperatures. I don't know of anyone that does not accept global warming (as in the warming of regions of the earth). I know a lot of people which can't agree on the causes. Temperatures were warmer 1000 years ago. The reason the vikings were so active from Norway was that they had mild temperatures up there, warmer than now. Cyclical Global warming != greenhouse effect. Greenhouse gases effect may play a part, but the biggest variable (the sun) is not yet being realistically tracked.
    • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Thursday June 22, 2006 @07:25PM (#15585950)
      > I know a lot of people which can't agree on the causes.

      Then you know a lot of people ignorant on the topic. I was, too, until quite recently. We are well outside the normal zone of the typical cyclical temperature and CO2 variations, going back for hundreds of thousands of years.

      > Temperatures were warmer 1000 years ago.

      Uh, no, at least if Wikipedia is to be believed:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temperature_record_of _the_past_1000_years [wikipedia.org]

      Please to take note of when we started going well past that 1000 year temperature high. Go see "An Inconvenient Truth" while you're at it.
    • by tfoss (203340) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @07:52PM (#15586127)
      All this means is we have returned to pre-mini-ice-age temperatures.


      No, actually, that is not true. If you look at the report, they say there is data of sufficient quality to say we are hotter than we've been in *at least* 400 years. Before that, there is less confidence in the measurable proxies of temperature, yet it still appears current temperatures are hotter than any time going back to 900 AD. The data for previous times are even less reliable, and thus being careful scientists, the NAS is not willing to make statements about those times.


      I don't know of anyone that does not accept global warming (as in the warming of regions of the earth). I know a lot of people which can't agree on the causes.

      So you know a lot of scientifically ignorant people. Let's say this again for those in the back of the class: "Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth's atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise." (From the National Academy of Sciences [wikipedia.org]). Or, if you prefer, "Human activities ... are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents ... that absorb or scatter radiant energy. ... [M]ost of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations" from the IPCC [wikipedia.org].


      Cyclical Global warming != greenhouse effect.

      True, that is why really smart scientists spend time examining the effect of anthropogenic climate change as a separate thing from cyclic climate change.

      Greenhouse gases effect may play a part

      Substitute do for may, and you are right.

      For your edification, the report is available [nap.edu] in full format, and a 4 page executive summary.

      -Ted

      • Some additional info (Score:5, Informative)

        by Groovus (537954) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @08:47PM (#15586450)

        The chart at this site's page http://carto.eu.org/article2481.html [eu.org] , which is becoming a bit more frequently seen, shows the graph of C02 content in the atmosphere and temperature ranges over the last 400,000 years as derived from examining core samples, up to 1950. In that graph there is a strong corellation between C02 content and temperature change (increased C02 == increased temperature, etc.) The high point on the graph happened about 325,000 years ago when C02 content hit about 300 ppm.

        In 1950 C02 content was around 285 ppm.

        In 2006 C02 content was 383 ppm

        That's nearly 100ppm greater than 56 years ago, nearly 83 ppm greater than the greatest peak currently recorded. We've had a 35% increase in CO2 content over the last 56 years. We're 28% above the previously recorded peak level from the last 400,000 years, and we're seeing record high temperatures for increasingly large spans of time into the past.

        Given the nearly lock step relationship between C02 content and temperature change, the rate of increase and the extent of the increase over the last 56 years, and the absence of any other major contributor to CO2 content in the last 56 years, I find it really difficult to think that the human activities known to increase C02 emissions we've increasingly engaged in over the last 150 years have had little to nothing to do with the obvious increase in both C02 atmospheric content and resulting temperature/climate changes. The rate and amount of change seem to indicate that we're already beyond the normal range of variation, yet people still feel comfortable saying it's just the normal fluctuation of the planet's climate. I'd sincerely like to hear other viable explanations for the facts, but there haven't been any - the most well supported hypothisis remains that humans burning fossil fuels (in ever increasing numbers do to an also alarming rate of population growth) are truly affecting the climate.

        What I'm also really curious about is why so many are so adamant about refusing to acknowledge what seems to be obvious, but that's a task for psychologists and philosophers I suppose.

    • by Random Utinni (208410) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @07:58PM (#15586168)
      To make an initial comment/correction:

      The parent wrote:
      The reason the vikings were so active from Norway was that they had mild temperatures up there, *warmer than now*.


      Although they do acknowledge the existence of a "mini-ice age", the press release put out by the NAS (National Academy of Sciences) specifically rejects the argument that it was warmer in the middle ages then now:
      None of the reconstructions indicates that temperatures were warmer during medieval times than during the past few decades, the committee added.


      While it's true that "Cyclical Global warming != greenhouse effect", this does not mean that humanity is in the clear as far as global warming goes. I believe the concern is that there is no sign that the current heating trend is slowing down. The trending in the NAS report abstract [nas.edu] is pretty disturbing. When this is compounded by the above argument that it's warmer now than it has been in the past, there is sufficient ground to worry that we have broken out of whatever cyclical pattern may have existed.

      Beyond this, I don't think it matters whether the current phase of global warming is caused by humans or by cyclical sunspots (or whatever). Rising temperatures have the ability to really throw a wrench into global systems (like economies). If we have the ability to even *try* to mitigate the trend, I think it is worthwhile to do so. Arguing that we have no reason to act because it's not our fault is, in my view, a cowardly way to pass the buck... so that we can continue to live extravagant lifestyles in the short term at the expense of the future.
  • Baseline (Score:4, Interesting)

    by No_CO2_warming (822194) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @06:48PM (#15585661)
    The 1600s were smack in the middle of the little ice age. The study doesn't say it was this warm 400 years ago. It says that with 400 years worth of data, this is the hottest period observed. Proxy studies and urban heat island effects cloud the results of all such studies. Another way to look at this: The Earth has fully recovered from the Little Ice Age period. Horray! Warmer is far better than colder. The 1600s will go down in European history as among the worst times. Famine from crop failures. Diseases were epidemic.
    • Re:Baseline (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Tim (686) <timr@nOsPaM.alumni.washington.edu> on Thursday June 22, 2006 @10:29PM (#15586894) Homepage
      Proxy studies and urban heat island effects cloud the results of all such studies.

      Except for, you know...studies done on polar ice. Real problems with urban heat islands there.

      Look, folks. We're clearly being astroturfed by someone. But no matter what your local Republican party shill tells you, there is no scientific dissent: global warming is caused by human-produced increases in CO2 in the earth's atmosphere.

  • Interestingly, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @06:51PM (#15585679)
    The report was championed by a Republican.
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @06:52PM (#15585694)
    The root cause of the misunderstanding is that scientists and politicians mean opposite things when they use qualifiers/modifiers on their adjectives.

    Suppose you ask the question: Is X happening?

    When a scientist says that a phenomenon "X is probably happening", or "the bulk of the evidence indicates that X is happening", he means "I'm pretty damn sure about it, but because everyting in science is subject to further investigation, I'm open to hear evidence to the contrary."

    When a lawyer says that "X is probably happening", or "the bulk of the evidence indicates that X is happening", he means "I haven't the foggiest idea, and I need wiggle room so I don't look like an idiot when someone who knows what he's talking about asks me."

    Trouble starts when the two world views are mixed. The scientist hears the bolded words in his part of the speech -- and the politician hears precisely the opposite.

    The qualifiers are necessary to the scientist, because they're part of why a theory is explanation falsifiable (and by extension, scientific). Science can't progress except for those areas in which there exists Reasonable Doubt.

    The politician hears only the phrases "is probably" (as opposed to certainly), the "bulk of" (as opposed to all of the evidence), and the "indication" (as opposed to conclusive truth pounded out on the table before Judge and Jury) that something is the case. In an adversarial "justice" system, you can't use weasel words, because the holy grail is Proof Beyond A Reasonable Doubt.

    And the planet burns because people who don't grok science prefer oratory.

    What the hell, the dinosaurs died because they didn't understand science either.

  • Unprecedented? No. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Todd Knarr (15451) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @06:53PM (#15585700) Homepage

    Unprecedented high temperatures in recent history, perhaps. Unprecedented in terms of Earth's history? I'm afraid not. [daviesand.com] Notice the three sharp spikes occurring at roughly 130,000 year intervals. We started such a rise about 15,000 years ago, right at the expected time if the pattern repeats, but something levelled it off around present-day levels and has kept it there for the last 10,000 years. Whatever cause the levelling-out it wasn't humans, we weren't doing anything on a scale large enough to cause global effects 15,000 years back. If whatever it is stops, I'd expect global temperatures to spike by another 2-3 degrees C, then drop sharply to 4-6 degrees C below "normal".

    • by Tumbleweed (3706) *
      There are only a few things that are likely to cause that kind of non-manmade temperature spike, and that's solar and volcanic activity. Since we now track these things, scientists can accurately put them into their models and the guesswork is lessened. Using those spikes as 'proof' is quite misleading.
  • The hockey stick (Score:4, Insightful)

    by emarkp (67813) <slashdot.roadq@com> on Thursday June 22, 2006 @06:57PM (#15585731) Journal

    Ah yes, the infamous hockey stick (the chart). It was what convinced me that global warming was human-caused. Until of course I found that when you put random data into the analysis, you got a hockey stick [lbl.gov].

    What it comes down to is that more than 200 years ago we didn't have accurate temperature measurement. Everything before that is an educated guess. And the precision necessary to show a fractional degree of change is simply unattainable.

    Where are the error bars on the hockey stick? It's shown as if we had exact data for the last 1000 years--which of course we don't.

    • Re:The hockey stick (Score:4, Informative)

      by Coryoth (254751) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @08:33PM (#15586366) Homepage Journal
      Where are the error bars on the hockey stick? It's shown as if we had exact data for the last 1000 years--which of course we don't.

      Uh, they would be right there on the chart on the page you linked to - the error is provided in gray. You'll note, as pointed out in the NAS report, that the errors are smaller for data since 1600 or so. Nobody is misrepresenting error tolerance here - it was calculated and is displayed clearly in the graphic.
  • by Shihar (153932) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @07:06PM (#15585807)
    Look, I DO believe in global warming. That said, crap headlines like this are, well, crap.

    The fact that this point is warmer then some other point in some arbitrary number of years means nothing. There have been literally countless points in time when you can point backwards and say that it has not been so warm for 400+ years. Any idiot can see that pointing out that we are in another of such periods where the last local max with 400 years ago is thoroughly and completely normal and uninteresting.

    Flouting stupid statistics like this is what makes smart people believe that global warming is a crap political ploy by environmentalist/anti-globalist/leftists/exc. If your goal is to divide, crap like this is a great idea as it assures everyone that the opposing side are idiots who couldn't tell the truth if their life depended upon it. If your goal is to build a consensus and spawn action, throwing out junk science is a waste of everyone's time.

    There are a lot of good reasons to believe that the Earth is heating in an appreciable way and that humans could very well be the cause of much of that heating. We don't need to throw out junk science and sensationalist crap like "OMFG hottest year in 400 years!" as any idiot with even an ounce of grey matter is going to realize that "hottest year in 400 years" is pretty damn normal during any heating phase, especially heating phases that happen on geologic time.
  • by crmartin (98227) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @07:13PM (#15585851)
    From the executive summary [nap.edu]:
    The instrumentally measured warming of about 0.6C during the 20th century is also reflected in borehole temperature measurements, the retreat of glaciers, and other observational evidence, and can be simulated with climate models. Large-scale surface temperature reconstructions yield a generally consistent picture of temperature trends during the preceding millennium, including relatively warm conditions centered around A.D. 1000 (identified by some as the "Medieval Warm Period") and a relatively cold period (or "Little Ice Age") centered around 1700. The existence and extent of a Little Ice Age from roughly 1500 to 1850 is supported by a wide variety of evidence including ice cores, tree rings, borehole temperatures, glacier length records, and historical documents. Evidence for regional warmth during medieval times can be found in a diverse but more limited set of records including ice cores, tree rings, marine sediments, and historical sources from Europe and Asia, but the exact timing and duration of warm periods may have varied from region to region, and the magnitude and geographic extent of the warmth are uncertain.


    Now, notice something: we're talking about a "warming trend" over the last 400 years. That would be the interval from roughly the beginning of the "Little Ice Age" to now. So, in other words, we're now substantially warmer than the low point of a historically unprecedented low temperature interval.

    Well, duh. Does the phrase "regression to the mean" ring any bells?

    More ...
    The substantial uncertainties currently present in the quantitative assessment of large-scale surface temperature changes prior to about A.D. 1600 lower our confidence in this conclusion compared to the high level of confidence we place in the Little Ice Age cooling and 20th century warming. Even less confidence can be placed in the original conclusions by Mann et al. (1999) that "the 1990s are likely the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium" because the uncertainties inherent in temperature reconstructions for individual years and decades are larger than those for longer time periods, and because not all of the available proxies record temperature information on such short timescales.


    In other words, the conclusions of Mann et al. aren't very well supported --- and those are the ones most often used politically.
  • by kjh1 (65671) * on Thursday June 22, 2006 @07:17PM (#15585877) Homepage Journal

    This congressional inquiry dovetails nicely with the documentary that features Al Gore, An Incovenient Truth [imdb.com]. I recently saw the movie, and while I was aware of the problem of Global Warming, I'm now truly worried that my later years (I'm currently 35) are going to be more about surviving in an even increasingly difficult environment instead of just living. Watching graphs with exponential progressions coupled with comparitive photographs taken over the last 50 years is turly sobering.

  • by Jodka (520060) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @07:18PM (#15585890)

    For those who want to bypass the dysfunctional reporting of the MSM, you can get the full report [nationalacademies.org] in PDF directly from NAS.

    Also available from that link: The press release, audio of the press briefing, an abbreviated report and opening statement.

    Stephen McIntyre offers interesting commentary on the report here [climateaudit.org].

  • by jhw539 (982431) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @07:24PM (#15585939)
    According to the article "Global Warming Skeptics," [wikipedia.org] there are only 12 scientists who disagree with global warming. From the discussion here, clearly there must be more disagreement. I'm sure it's not just a bunch of hacks making stuff up (this is slashdot, home of scientific minded folk), so if you folks could go over to the Wiki and list who your reputable sources for questioning the thousands of scientists who have been trying (and failing) to poke holes in global warming for the last 10 years are it would be helpful. Because from the looks of that article, the creationists have better scientific footing than folks arguing against human influenced global warming. And while consensus does not have a causative relationship with fact, it does, given enough time, seem to correlate frequently in the area of modern science (even ulcers were figured out eventually).
  • by linvir (970218) * on Thursday June 22, 2006 @07:26PM (#15585952)

    Everyone, the earth is dying because not enough people believe in global warming! Perhaps if we all clapped real hard to show it we believe, it might survive!
    Quick! If you believe in global warming, clap your hands!

    [monty python foot icon]

  • Oh shit. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spiritraveller (641174) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @07:32PM (#15585986)
    We're all going to die while the people who've been listening to Rush Limbaugh for the past fifteen years just keep repeating "prove it prove it prove it prove it prove it prove it prove it prove it prove it prove it prove it prove it prove it"

  • by monoqlith (610041) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @07:36PM (#15586017)
    Saying there is a debate over whether global warming is real like saying there is a debate over whether the earth is not the center of the universe. What we really have is a debate between the interests of the special interest establishment and the interests of the environmentalists. This debate has been going on in various modes for many many hundreds of years - but science hasn't lost yet. You can't argue down evolution, and you can't argue down global warming - to scientists, these are "theories" because they pass the test for "theory" - which for them is the same test we use to determine *Facts*. IN all meaningful ways, the debate is moot - it's not about facts, it's about obsolete beliefs being replaced in the popular consciousness by newer, accurate beliefs. This needs to happen quickly because we have to start mobilizing our government to action. Data obtained by examining the layers(ice sheets and glaciers form like trees, they have lines indicating how old they are because there is a warming and cooling season *once a year*) of ice sheets which contain bubbles of air(from which we can derive the temperature they were frozen at) trapped from freezing cycles as early as 650,000 years ago reveal a very, very regular periodic cooling and warming cycle. However, it also shows what concentration of CO2 existed in the atmosphere during those cycles, and this graph is almost identical to the temperature graph during the same intervals. The correlation is so strong between CO2 in the atmosphere and temperature that it becomes very, very clear that atmospheric CO2 reflects radiation back into our atmosphere, causing global temperature to rise. . Now, it happens that the concentrations of CO2 are rising at a higher rate than they have ever been measured to rise according to the data obtained from the ice sheets. THey are also at a higher level than has ever been measured according to the ice sheets. This indicates that the global temperature is continuing to increase at a much higher rate than has ever been seen before. This trend started around the time that humans began pouring tons and tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, during the industrial revolution, and is getting worse every year. There is thus a very strong correlation between the trend of human industry and the trend of rapid global warming. Now, you might think - humans can't possibly be contributing that much gas into the atmosphere, the atmosphere is huge! That's crap. 6 billion humans contribute to our pollution, and pour gasses into the atmosphere 24 hours a day 365 days a year, and have been doing so for over a century. Moreover, the atmosphere is not very thick - it represents a sliver of earth's total diameter, equivalent to a *much* smaller volume of gasses than we intuit from looking at the sky. It's very easy to see that humans are very capable of influencing the composition of the atmosphere. The only reason there's a "Debate" over the human cause of global warming is because hack scientists(a minority of scientists) funded by energy lobbies continue to be enlisted(and paid) for their testimonies in front of Congress, which itself is heavily bankrolled by energy companies, who have a very loud voice when it comes to their own interests, and often share the interests of the very wealthy politicans whose campaigns they pay for. The vast majority of scientists believe that global warming has a significant human contribution. There is no meaningful debate over the scientific fact that humans cause global warming, just like there is no good argument against evolution. Even if there was, we should err on the side of caution and as a country(and world) change our attitudes, because this not only relates to global climate, but also the *air* we are breathing. Combustion engines and power plants emit a lot of pollutants, not just CO2. These pollutants cause health problems. BUt casting doubt over global warming undermines *all* environmental endeavors by wrongly discrediting the credible people who want to help protect our health and the earth. There are a lo
  • by TheOriginalRevdoc (765542) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @08:09PM (#15586239) Journal
    Let us assume for a moment that the climate change is man-made. Let us further assume that all developed nations take immediate steps to completely eliminate their CO2 emissions. What will happen?

    CO2 emissions will keep rising. China is building coal-fired power stations at a tremendous rate, and will probably keep doing so for a few decades, at least; India - which will have a larger population than China in a couple of decades - will be doing exactly the same thing. They're doing this because they need electricity to modernise their economies, and coal is both plentiful and cheap. Between them, they will probably pump out enough CO2 to fully compensate for the CO2 not emitted by the developed world.

    Conclusion: it doesn't matter whether global warming is man-made or not. If it's natural, there's nothing we can do about it, and if it's man-made, it isn't going to be arrested any time soon.

    So we are just going to have to live with the consequences.
  • ice age (Score:4, Funny)

    by Gogo0 (877020) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @08:14PM (#15586269)
    It's certainly a lot warmer than the ice age that ended due to the industrial revolution 10,000 years ago.
  • by ChrisA90278 (905188) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @08:47PM (#15586447)
    This is a self correcting problem. There is no way you can stop this. Fossel fuels are a form of "free energy" it's there in the ground all you have to do is dig it up and set it on fire. There is such strong incentive to do this that we will work as hard as we can to do it as fast as we can. The good news is that we are good at this and have likely burned up 1/2 of what's there. All we have to do is burn up the other half and the problem will be gone forever. So the next 100 years it will be hot. But for the next one million it will not. OK maybe my numbers are wrong and we've burned up only 1/4 or whatever. Still it will all be gone very soon in relative terms. Basically the human race stumbles along with stone tools for a million years then discovers hydrocaron and burns half the hydrocarbon on earth only 400 years then the other half in 100 years but then continues on for the next millions of years without using any hydrocarbon. In the larger view of things it's a "blip".

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