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Nov 2 / Dave Schumaker

Long Term Effects of Fossil Fuel Use

Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have recently completed running a simulation dealing with the long term effects of fossil fuel use on the global climate. The results are quite humbling to say the least. If the current pace of fossil fuel use were to continue for the next 300 years, average global temperatures would increase by 14.5 degrees Fahrenheit and ocean levels could increase by 21 feet! Also, CO2 concentration in the atmosphere would increase from 340ppm today to over 1200ppm.

Mauna Loa - CO2 concentration in atmosphere

These are the stunning results of climate and carbon cycle model simulations conducted by scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. By using a coupled climate and carbon cycle model to look at global climate and carbon cycle changes, the scientists found that the earth would warm by 8 degrees Celsius (14.5 degrees Fahrenheit) if humans use the entire planet’s available fossil fuels by the year 2300.

The jump in temperature would have alarming consequences for the polar ice caps and the ocean, said lead author Govindasamy Bala of the Laboratory’s Energy and Environment Directorate.

There are a few problems with this article that I didn’t see addressed, namely that of petroleum, which some scientists speculate has anywhere for 30 – 50 years of use left. The United States, the world’s leader in coal reserves, has enough coal to last for about 285 years.

We have previously discussed peak oil here as well.

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