The correlation between atmospheric carbon and average global temperature is solid and based on data covering millions of years, recorded in ice and elucidated by drilling and studying core samples. There is no conflicting data; that is, there is no time at which carbon level and temperature failed to confirm this correlation.
Why is it so important for some to deny the very strong evidence and common logic of this theory? It’s not a complicated theory.
- Burning carbon increases atmospheric carbon.
- Atmospheric carbon levels are, without fail, associated with higher global average temperatures.
- The current carbon level in the atmosphere is higher than it has ever been.
- Putting less carbon in the atmosphere and taking steps to re-sequester existing atmospheric carbon will reduce that level.
- Returning to a normal carbon level is better for the planet and temperatures will decline along with carbon level.
- These two always track and it does not make sense to posit that increasing carbon is the result of increased temperature (which would extend the growing season and increase the uptake of carbon by plants.)
The correlation between temperature, carbon and sea level similarly has no conflicting data. These correlations are not contested by serious scientists.
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When we burn carbon, whether from wood, coal, oil or gas, we release sequestered carbon into the atmosphere which was not there before, increasing atmospheric levels. When we reduce the world’s vegetation, we reduce the earth’s capacity to absorb and sequester carbon, which plants do by incorporating CO2 into their cells. The result, and this is not contested, is an increase of atmospheric carbon, which is strongly correlated with rising temperatures.
We have increased atmospheric carbon to record levels. What’s the impact? Here’s the current mean temperature variance from the last decade vs. 1940-1980.
CO2 is not the only cause of increasing temperature. Methane and water vapor have effects too, as does decreasing snow and permafrost cover, because ground covered in white stuff reflects the suns rays better than dark ground or vegetation. Furthermore, the permafrost covers ground that is rich in trapped methane, which could be an overwhelming source of atmospheric carbon compared to our emissions.
There is no question that carbon level in the atmosphere is correlated with temperature. We have no model for how carbon could increase but not global average temperature, because this has never occurred.