The take home message here is that it's not just the carbon that we're pumping into the air that is a problem, it's the feedbacks from the carbon we're pumping in the air.
In case you missed it, we just passed the 400ppm CO2 mark.
We're also increasing the rate of emissions -- an average growth rate of 1.61 ppm of CO2 in the 80's, 1.50 in the 90's and 1.95 in the 00's. 2010 was 2.44, 2011 was 1.84 and 2012 was 2.66 -- the highest measured growth rate since Mauna Loa records began in 1959.
The estimated uncertainty in the Mauna Loa annual mean growth rate is 0.11 ppm/yr.
The main feedbacks, or forcings that we're facing are:
-- decreased albedo due to ice loss, the increase of vegetation in what used to be tundra, and the decrease in snow cover;
-- carbon cycle feedbacks from released methane clathrate from the sea bed, from decomposing peat bogs and tundra, and loss of Amazon Rainforest and other tropical rainforests. (really, the Amazon is disappearing almost as fast as the arctic ice -- it'll be savannah in my grandchildren's lifetime.)
-- desertification and forest fires. (Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma are currently facing a change in ecosystems, from the 2011 and 2012 wildfires)
I used to worry about methane. But then I read this quote by Hansen -- something like, Our CO2 emission is aiming us like a car heading 60 mph at a brick wall. Adding methane will mean that we're going 80 mph. We're still going to hit the brick wall, and it's the CO2 that drives up the methane.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the FAO, reports that global production of coarse grains could set a new record this year with strong growth also projected for global wheat and rice production -- barring unusual weather conditions. Meanwhile, the cryoscientists are expecting an new record low in September arctic ice.
Jeff Masters from Weather Underground talks about weather whiplash. Drought followed by floods, heatwaves followed by frosts. Personally? I think that hope can be a dangerous thing. It stifles fear which might be the only thing that encourages action.
At this point, I don't think that we will change our emission of carbon. I think that change will happen to us.