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The Matter of Climate Change

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The debate about man-made climate change is deadlocked. Nobody is really listening to each other. Perhaps we need new perspectives and simpler arguments that everyone can understand intuitively. That is why Dr Marko Graenitz is presenting three interesting parallels.

Article by Dr Marko Graenitz, Chief Editor Alpha for Impact Magazine

There are always discussions behind closed doors about what climate change is all about, whether it is really caused by humans and how bad the consequences will be. It's mainly those who are not (yet) convinced that it is.

I put the word "yet" in brackets because sooner or later it will be obvious to everyone. Our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will then ask themselves: How could people have been so stupid back then? They knew the problem perfectly well, but still didn't manage to do enough about it.

A long-known effect

The greenhouse effect was fundamentally predicted by the Swedish researcher Svante Arrhenius back in 1896. For a long time, it remained a theoretical connection. However, systematic scientific analyses in the 1970s made the influence of humans on global warming a proven fact. [1]

That was around 50 years ago. To doubt these findings, which have been confirmed time and again since then, is simply absurd. However, this argument sometimes falls on deaf ears. That's why I thought about what simple comparisons there are and how parallels can be drawn to make even the biggest doubters think twice. Three things came to mind.

1. Even bacteria can change the atmosphere

Once upon a time, there was hardly any oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere. But around 2.7 billion years ago, countless cyanobacteria began photosynthesizing. Over millions of years, they ensured that the atmosphere was enriched with oxygen and a protective ozone layer was created. [2] Without this change, we would not be here today.

If bacteria, which are not even visible to the naked eye, have managed to change the atmosphere so dramatically, then we can do it all the more. And much faster. Because it is not our metabolic processes that are the cause, but much more powerful devices: huge factories and machines as well as countless large and small vehicles on land, in the water and in the air. Added to this are the exhalations of billions of farm animals, which would not exist without us.

Of course, there are also natural events, such as volcanic eruptions, which release carbon dioxide. But this is temporary, whereas all these man-made influences are permanent. The result is a suspicious, extremely uniform pattern in the rise of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

Atmospheric CO2 at Mauna Loa Observatory – Source: NOAA [3]

2. The course of the CO2 content resembles an explosion

And it gets even more suspicious. If you look at this chart, it is obvious that there has been a structural break. In the stock market, one would speak of an upward breakout on the chart, which was both extremely steep and very fast compared to history.

There are no signs of a possible trend reversal. Quite the opposite. The momentum is clearly pointing upwards and is likely to lead to a further tightening of the situation. It is obvious that this is not a natural but a man-made development. After all, what else could have triggered such a dramatic movement so suddenly in the last 100 years?

However, it is actually wrong to speak of "no natural development". After all, man himself is also part of nature - and thus indirectly everything he has created. Be it for better or for worse.

Development of Carbon Dioxide Level – Source: NASA [4]

3. The atmosphere is 7 times thinner than an eggshell

An eggshell is between 0.3 and 0.4 millimeters thick. [5] Let's take 0.35 millimeters as the average. A typical egg, which my wife measured earlier in the kitchen, is about 5 centimeters wide. The shell would therefore correspond to a proportion of 1.4 percent starting from the center of the egg (0.35 mm / 25 mm).

What does the whole thing look like for the earth? Its average radius is 6371 kilometers. [6] The lowest layer of the atmosphere, the troposphere, is on average 12 kilometers high. It contains 80 percent of the mass of the entire atmosphere. [7] This is where the climate events that are relevant to our lives take place. The vital troposphere is therefore only 0.19 percent of the Earth's radius (12 km / 6371 km). That is 7.4 times thinner than the shell of an egg!

An eggshell effectively protects the inside. But the shell is fragile. And once it is broken, any life that may arise from it is lost. On Earth, the thin "shell" of the troposphere protects our life or makes it possible in the first place. But it too is fragile and in danger of breaking. What would that mean for us?

What if...

If we consider the three points together, we can deduce something else. All the consequences that we are already seeing today are caused by an increase in CO2 from 0.03 to 0.0425 percent. In relative terms, this is a huge increase of 42 percent. In absolute terms, however, the proportion is still very small.

But this is precisely where the greatest danger lies. Because the remaining upside potential is huge. What would happen if we simply carry on as before? If the proportion rises to 0.1 percent

The climate of our planet as we know it would change forever. We would destroy our own livelihood. By far the most intelligent creatures on this planet would have managed to make hell for themselves in the truest sense of the word.


These arguments are simple and understandable. I hope that they will help to convince some skeptics.

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