Thursday, May 14, 2020

Upsetting the apple cart ...

BRT has discussed the negative impact of man's activities on planet earth for years with an emphasis on the Anthropocene, the era of man, the only species capable of changing how earth does business through the use of fossil fuels, a polluting energy source, if continued unabated, promises to compromise the future of civilization as we move further into the 21st century.

To whit

IT IS ALL, in the end, a matter of chemistry. Carbon dioxide is a form of what chemists call inorganic carbon—a simple molecule that is pretty inert. Fossil fuels are made of carbon in its organic form—often complex molecules that are far from inert. Combustion turns these organic complexities into inorganic simplicities: carbon dioxide, water vapour and heat.

Of the energy that people pay for (as opposed to the energy that comes from burning firewood) 34% comes from burning oil, 27% from coal and 24% from gas. Nuclear power, hydroelectric power and all other renewables combined provide just 15%. The result of all this fossil fuel use is a modern industrial economy and an annual flow of 9.5bn tonnes of carbon out of the ground and into the atmosphere.

Through its effects on the plants, animals and microbes which make up the biosphere, on the climate and on the oceans, this industrial flow of carbon links the Earth’s distant geological past to its future over millennia to come. It is the single clearest piece of evidence for the idea that humans now have a power over the Earth as great as the forces of nature, and that their use of this power has opened up a new geological epoch that some scientists call the Anthropocene.

Read the Economist piece in its entirety. Detailed to a fault IMHO.

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