We think there’s more than enough evidence of human-fueled global warming to ignore the risk of inaction.
Which us why we’ve been offsetting the carbon emissions associated with our shipments by supporting various sustainable energy projects (Visit our Vital Green program page).
And it’s obvious that non-fossil energy should provide a far larger part of our mix, for health, environmental, economic, and national security reasons.
The warming debate is complex, with new data coming in all the time. For example, it was just reported that applications of nitrogen-rich fertilizer – synthetic or natural – to fields stimulates release of nitrous oxide (dentists’ “laughing gas”) from the soil – and nitrous oxide is a much stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
Now, Roy Spencer, a prominent skeptic of manmade global warming claims that data from NASA’s Terra satellite shows that in reponse to warming, Earth's atmosphere releases more energy to space than thought.
However, his analysis was quickly and widely disputed ... see the rebuttals posted at RealClimate.com by working climate scientists.
So it seems unlikely that these claims will render obsolete the models now used to forecast climate change, which have been programmed to assume lesser, slower energy release in response to warming.
Analysis of NASA satelltite data called wrong
Drs. Roy Spencer and Danny Braswell compared what the half dozen top climate models say the atmosphere should do, with satellite data showing what the atmosphere actually did during the 18 months before and after warming events between 2000 and 2011 (Spencer RW, Braswell WD).
“The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show,” Spencer said. “There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans.” (UAH 2011)
But Spencer has been wrong many times before, according to climate scientists, and his new analysis, they say, is deeply flawed.
And even it it were correct, it would not reduce the threat of ocean acidification ... as we explain below.
Findings would not slow the predicted pace of ocean acidification
Ocean acidity has increased almost one-third since the mid-1800's, and the rate of acidification will accelerate in the coming decades.
Fast-rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are changing the chemistry of the world's oceans, which will likely damage shellfish populations and the fish and people that depend on them.
Acidification could also devastate wild salmon, which depend pretty heavily on zooplankton and mini-shrimp such as krill, which can be damaged by acidification.
A new study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution shows that many countries will suffer adverse impacts in the next 10 to 50 years … particularly ones heavily reliant on clams, oysters and mussels.
This prediction fits with research presented at the 2009 UN Copenhagen Climate Change summit.
Carbon-caused ocean acidification can spell disaster for the marine food chain… with dire consequences for fishing communities as well as human health and nutrition.
We urge you to learn more about this overlooked crisis. The New York Times rand an Op-Ed essay by British marine scientist Dan Laffoley of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, titled “To Save the Planet, Save the Seas.”
And the accelerating danger of ocean acidification is also detailed in the moving documentary “A Sea Change.”
Spencer RW, Braswell WD. On the Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedbacks from Variations in Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance. Remote Sens. 2011, 3(8), 1603-1613; doi:10.3390/rs3081603 Published: 25 July 2011
University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH). Climate models get energy balance wrong, make too hot forecasts of global warming. July 26, 2011. Accessed at
Zaehle S et al. Carbon benefits of anthropogenic reactive nitrogen offset by nitrous oxide emissions. Nature Geoscience. (2011) Published online 31 July 2011. doi:10.1038/ngeo1207