The end of 2013 marked the first occasional observations of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere of 400 parts per million. There is nothing magical about that value, but we do tend to focus on round numbers.
The Amazon rainforest is the biggest in the world, larger than the next two biggest combined. It covers over 3 million square miles, roughly the size of the lower 48 states. For this reason, it functions as a critical sink for carbon in the atmosphere.
The term geoengineering has started to appear in discussions about how to combat climate change. Mostly, it is used to describe using technology to tinker with the global environment, for example, by artificially enhancing the atmosphere’s ability to reflect the sun’s rays back out into space and thereby cooling the planet.
There is a powerful correlation between the rise of the human population and the rise of atmospheric CO2 during the past few decades. Could the carbon dioxide we emit when we breathe be a factor in global warming? According to biogeochemist Bill Schlesinger, the answer is a resounding no. Here’s why.