CO² – Not Something To Be Sniffed At

A few days ago it was reported that there has been record carbon dioxide (CO²) concentrations in the atmosphere during March, in what scientists said marked a significant milestone for global warming.

Figures show that for the first time since records began, the parts per million (ppm) of CO² in the atmosphere were over 400 globally for a month. This number is apparently the key indicator of the amount of planet-warming gases man is putting into the atmosphere at record rates, and the current concentrations are unprecedented.

My first thought when I read this was along the lines of, ‘Here we go again; cars to blame etc’. Just to confound me, nobody has mentioned cars at all in relation to this news, not at the time of writing anyway. The criticism has been more general along the lines of ‘if we don’t do something right now we’re all doomed’ and so on. Meetings are being planned. Lunches will be taken.

Now I don’t profess to understand the science in any meaningful way. I don’t know if the lunatic fringe of the climate change lobby has been right all along or if it’s all a load of old horse droppings. I suspect the truth lies moderately somewhere in between. Given the amount of work put in by motor manufacturers to reduce emissions (a) because they want to and (b) to get the suits at the EU to shut up about it, I don’t accept in any way shape or form that the motor car can take all the blame. Certainly, it has played its part but this is the one industry were real measurable strides have been taken to help counter the problem.

In the UK at least we are driving less and are buying more efficient and frugal cars like the Volkswagen Golf GTE (and, yes, I know that car and battery production contribute to global warming). This is not necessarily because we are determined to save the planet so much as saving some of our own money but the end result is the same.

The boffins and politicians of the world can have as many meetings as they like – probably in beautiful destinations like Paris that they can fly to – and it won’t make the slightest bit of difference because it isn’t addressing the real problem. It’s not us, it’s them.

There are nations in the world who, whilst paying lip-service to the ideal, are doing precious little to combat the noxious outpourings from their heavy industries as they work towards increasing their share of global wealth. Until such time as these countries truly repent or are economically coerced into toeing the line, not much is going to change.

The loudest voices being heard right now are those to whom global warming is a real and present danger. They are saying that, although the world will never recover to pre-industrial levels, we have only years and not decades to do something about it before the last chance has gone.

Right now, here in chilly Britain – which should surely be warmer than it has been for May – a bit of warming wouldn’t go amiss. I’ve usually got shorts on by now so it is hard to accept the science as reality but I guess we have accept that it is so. CO² isn’t something to be sniffed at after all, but the whole world has got to pitch in and not just Europe.
Geoff Maxted