Climate change — is it the end of life on Earth?
Matter can come in a solid, liquid or gas. All can be melted and heated to evaporation. As to a solid, look at the flowing and molten rock of Hawaii right now. As to a liquid, put a pot of water on the stove and watch it boil and evaporate to a gas. A gas also can be evaporated to its constituent atomic components of carbon, oxygen or hydrogen. All of this requires energy.
As to climate change, if there were no atmosphere, there would be no life. Earth would be like the moon. The atmosphere acts as a reflective lens and also as a protective envelope to keep oxygen from escaping out into space. The atmosphere also is matter and can be heated by our sun. Carbon dioxide and other gases exist in our atmosphere in a mutual coexistence with oxygen. But carbon dioxide more easily allows solar radiation to pass through and warm the earth’s surface. It also absorbs or re-radiates some of the thermal radiation emitted by the earth, providing an additional source of heat.
Over time this heat will become destructive: life as it exists today has evolved to tolerate a narrow margin of temperature of -40 to +120 degrees; anything higher or lower is destructive without artificial protection.
It takes millions of years for life forms to adapt to their environments. What we are experiencing today is the artificial — human made — acceleration of this environmental increase of a warming atmosphere where life forms cannot adapt fast enough to survive. We and all life are adapted to temperatures of -40 to 120 degrees, not 150 or 180, and it is not farfetched to state that if we continue this madness, this planet will be dead 200 years from now.
Humans are by far the greatest originators of climate warming. It started 5,000 years ago when humans began to transform their environment. But back then there were only 5-7 million people on this planet: today we have 8 billion plus and rising. The atmospheric temperatures in the 21st century are rising exponentially and so are humans. In 100 years from now, there will be 16 billion humans on this planet: think catastrophic. You simply cannot reverse in one generation what 100s of generations have created; we simply need to act now to stem this atmospheric heating to assure there will still be life forms on this planet in 2118.
James P. Chasse