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Graph of the Day: Carbon pollution set to end era of stable climate

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At the start of this month, Joe Romm at Climate Progress published a story and some charts covering the “most comprehensive ‘Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years’ ever done,” which, he wrote, “reveals just how stable the climate has been – and just how destabilizing manmade carbon pollution has been and will continue to be unless we dramatically reverse emissions trends.”

Back then, Romm said that the study by researchers at Oregon State University and Harvard University – the findings of which were published on March 08 in the journal Science – illustrated that carbon pollution was causing the temperature to change “50 times faster than it did during the time modern civilization and agriculture developed, a time when humans figured out where the climate conditions – and rivers and sea levels – were most suited for living and farming. We are headed for 7 to 11°F warming this century on our current emissions path – increasing the rate of change 5-fold yet again.”

To read the whole story, click here. But below are Romm’s updated high-resolution and Celsius versions of the chart he posted 10 days ago:

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 10.05.02 AM

Temperature change over past 11,300 years (in blue, via Science, 2013) plus projected warming this century on humanity’s current emissions path (in red, via recent literature).

The high-resolution F version is here and the high-resolution C version is here.  

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  • No Bicycle

    Impossible to check the validity of this report without paying money over to Science website.
    Current approaches to reducing emissions will bankrupt the world and institute a dystopia.
    I applaud this websites publication of information on solar, but why does this website not publish new nuclear approaches to clean energy generation and why politicians do not fund them:
    Dystopian politics and alarmist warmism is not the answer to this problem, technology is. So why is technology almost ignored by governments who control 50-60 % of our wealth through taxation? This is a pressing subject for this website.

    • Eh? No Bicycle? Get a damn bicycle! 🙂

      I’m prepared to put my name to a reply.

      Not impossible to check the validity of the report by reading the various science journal editorials very competently summarising the study (and no, don’t just rely on the media ones – present company excepted Giles).

      But it seems you don’t trust them, so if that’s not good enough for you and want to look at the report in detail, then shut up, participate in the market, observe the market rules, and pay your money.

      Or don’t you believe in free enterprise? Who says everything in life is free?

      Not sure what you base your thesis that ‘governments who control 50-60 % of our wealth through taxation’ – last I looked the Federal Budget was around $300 billion and Australian GDP was closer to $1.5 trillion suggesting the most you could claim for government is 20%, at most 25%? Or am I missing something? Always happy to be educated about things I don’t know enough about.

      But I do agree with you that governments have really not tackled the matter of adopting low emissions energy as well as they could, and yes there should be more discussion of nuclear along side renewables, but one that is clear on capital costs and fair market appraisals, and properly considers the need for a community licence to operate and is inclusive of all commercial risks.

      And there is a large hole in your logic – if you really believe governments being involved in “current approaches to reducing will bankrupt the world”, then surely governments being involved in “new nuclear approaches to clean energy generation” and “why politicians do not fund them” would simply have the same result and bankrupt the world?

      I must clarify that I don’t agree with you on this contention – our current approach is not bankrupting the world – there is enormous evidence that renewable energy is transformative and coming cheaper, faster and better than even the optimists imagined – and surprising even to me is that governments do actually deserve some kudos.

      Ideologs that argue that nuclear can be the only answer to “alarmist warmism” I suspect have a barrow to push (which explains why they have no bicycle).

    • John

      New nuclear approaches? Are you referring to Gen 4 reactors which will require huge amounts of taxpayer funds and many years to get going? And meanwhile we are stuck with Gen3 nuclear pollution that has to be contained also at enormous economic, social and environmental cost. Why go down this route when we have much cheaper and safer solar and wind energy generation? As for “no bicycle” you may inadvertently be alluding to the great energy and environmental savings to be made with a conserving lifestyle.

  • Mark Plackett

    Makes a nonsense of the calls by some commentators to adapt to climate change. A truly grim scenario warranting urgent action by all governments and political parties.