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5000 ppm: What happens when CO2 levels are 20 times higher?

Published 10th November 2009 - 12 comments - 7249 views -


(History of Atmospheric CO2 through geological time. Past 550 million years: from Berner, Science, 1997).


Let us hear a different point of view...



During the quaternary period the CO2 levels never exceeded some 330 ppm. So we are told, that the present 380ppm increase is a disaster with no parallel in the past history.

However if you look futher in the past, you will find out, that the CO2 levels used to be very much higher. When the dinos came, the levels were 4-5 times higher than now. When multi-cellular organisms appeared 500 million years ago, the levels were even 20x higher than now!

Can you imagine the tremendous "acidification of oceans"? Yet there surely was plenty of life in the oceans.

And the temperatures surely were not 5 or 20 times higher. Because in that case around the equator they would have exceeded the boiling point of water. The temperatures were just 3°C higher than now ( in the Jurassic period.

So how much does CO2 influence the temperatures anyway? If it has any effect at all, maybe it decreases with rising volume.



If the dinos could live with such high CO2 levels for millions of years, please explain to me, why should WE worry? The only impact the CO2 levels had, is that the plants were huge, because they had more food. CO2 is food for plants, you know. Can you imagine wheat as tall as a family house?

Save the plants! Support more CO2 emissions! Maybe instead the campaign we should start some campaign.

The fossil fuels are a real sweetheart. Not only they fuel the industrial revolution which brought to mankind more food than anytime in history. They also help to restore the carbon levels back to comfortable - feeding our malnutritioned vegetation.

What is happening now is just restoration of the CO2 levels we already once had.

Life is based on carbon. Declaring carbon as a "pollutant" is the greatest insanity in history. It is like declaring life a pollutant.



On Earth, life is carbon-based. But carbon is vanishing. Through sedimentation and so on... it slowly is burried underground.

Since the dino times, carbon slowly disappeared from the atmosphere. Plants began to suffer from malnutrition and their size was shrinking and shrinking. Now our drilling operations are returning their nutrition back to them.

To get our carbon back to us, so far we had to rely on tectonics only. If you read Lovelock's Gaia you must surely know, that if carbon wouldn't get released from the underground, life on Earth would have stopped billions of years ago. So far carbon was regularly brought back to circulation due to tectonics and volcanoes (which is unique to Earth in our solar system, as far as we know).

Now we can help the process too, thanks to our dear oil barrons. Exxon, thank you very much. Releasing poor trapped carbon from the Earth is like liberating an innocent prisoner from a POW camp.



It is not true, that elevated CO2 levels (no matter from what source) will lead to a destruction of life, mankind or civilisation on Earth. Life (including humans) will adapt to it just like many times before. So don't panic.





Carbon dioxide through geologic times. [Retrieved 6 November 2009] Available at <>





Category: Climate Science, | Tags: co2, greenhouse effect, dinossaurs,


Jack Johnson on 10th November 2009:

Why don’t you just stop this stupidity?
I think I have read many comments where people have “taught” you enough about CO2
You not only ignore that, you make these absolutely horrendous entries.
i would suggest, you go back to school.

Vitezslav Kremlik on 10th November 2009:

Jack, and why do you ignore, what we have learnt from history. Historia magistra vitae. It has taught us that life on Earth is perfectly compatible with elevated CO2 levels.

So - to quote you - “Why don’t you just stop this alarmist stupidity?”

Nanne Zwagerman on 10th November 2009:

Warmer Than a Hot Tub: Atlantic Ocean Temperatures Much Higher in the Past
ocean temperatures in the region ranged between 91° and 107°F (33° and 42°C) between 84 million and 100 million years ago in an era when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Temperatures range between 75° and 82°F (24° and 28°C) in the same region now [...] the group also estimated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations during the same time span. They were 1,300 to 2,300 parts per million (ppm), compared with 380 ppm today. [...] “One of the most important impacts this evidence suggests is the change to the Earth’ hydrologic cycle,” Bice said. “Higher tropical temperatures will increase the intensity of hurricanes and winter storms.

Climate Model Links Higher Temperatures to Prehistoric Extinction
cientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have created a computer simulation showing Earth’s climate in unprecedented detail at the time of the greatest mass extinction in the planet’s history. The work gives support to a theory that an abrupt and dramatic rise in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide triggered the massive die-off 251 million years ago. [...] “The results demonstrate how rapidly rising temperatures in the atmosphere can affect ocean circulation, cutting off oxygen to lower depths and extinguishing most life,” says NCAR scientist Jeffrey Kiehl [...] an estimated 90 to 95% of all marine species, as well as about 70% of all terrestrial species, became extinct. At the time of the event, higher-latitude temperatures were 18 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 30 degrees Celsius) higher than today

Fossil record supports evidence of impending mass extinction
The research team has, for the first time, discovered a close association between Earth climate and extinctions in a study that has examined the relationship over the past 520 million years [...] evidence shows that global biodiversity is relatively low during warm ‘greenhouse’ phases and extinctions relatively high, while the reverse is true in cooler ‘icehouse’ phases.

Not only does life adapt, but mass extinctions are crucial for long-term evolutionary change. Imagine if the P-Tr event hadn’t occurred. We’d all still be Trilobites! So this sounds like a great idea. Let’s pull that methane trigger.

Vitezslav Kremlik on 10th November 2009:

Well, well. And what caused CO2 incraeses in the preindustrial periods? Why are the fluctioations so periodic? THINK about it.

1) Mass extinctions are known to be caused by astronomic events. This is why they have regular cyclicity.

(The best-known hypothesis of extinction events by a cyclic process is the 26M to 30M year cycle in extinctions proposed by Raup and Sepkoski (1986))

2) CO2 levels rise only after the events (see quaternary ice cores). So they hardly can be the trigger. Post hoc propter hoc.

(Let me speculate randomly. If a meteorite kills animals, who recovers first? The plant life. which breathes out CO2. With nobody to consume it.)

Vitezslav Kremlik on 10th November 2009:

And also: Do you really believe, that Homo Sapiens cannot adapt to higher or lower temperatures?

We already have. Our species adapted to as diverse living conditions as Africa (40°C temperatures) and Arctic (-40°C). Plus - dinosaurs did not have fridges, canned food and fire. THINK about it, before you begin to threatten us with extinction

Nanne Zwagerman on 10th November 2009:

You should be familiar with the fact that the ice cores (which indeed show a close correllation but in which CO2 only acts as a positive feedback rather than a cause) go back around 800,000 years. So they don’t necessarily say something about events on the scale of tens of millions of years.

The P-Tr event is associated with heightened vulcanic activity (which caused the CO2 increase). Whether this was in turn triggered by cosmic events or endogenously is anyone’s guess.

If you think plants ‘breathe out’ CO2 you should brush up on your biology. I would also suggest that you learn a bit about thermodynamics.

Vitezslav Kremlik on 10th November 2009:

Forget about the “random speculation”. It was rather too random. Plants do not breathe out CO2… Anyway if temperatures rise, oceans emit CO2, that builds up in the atmosphere. It could work like that?

Vitezslav Kremlik on 10th November 2009:

I really doubt that a feedback of a trace gas could prolong warming by e.g. 50 000 years after the trigger (cause) stopped. Sorry, I do not buy that.

Speaking of thermodynamics, Perpetuum Mobile is an impossibility.

Liguria on 11th November 2009:

It will not lead to the destruction of mankind - we will just mutate just like that green thing on the image ))))

Vitezslav Kremlik on 11th November 2009:

1) We surely will mutate sooner or later. 2 millions years ago we looked different. 2 milions later in future we will look different again.

2) As I said, we have fire, suntan-lotion, fridges, canned food, genetic egineering and other cool gadgets. We are able to adapt.

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