“As world leaders get ready to head to Paris for the latest pact on cutting CO2 emissions, it has emerged that there isn’t as much urgency about the matter as had been thought,” says this article by Lewis Page.
A team of top-level atmospheric chemistry boffins say they have identified a new process by which vast amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted into the atmosphere from the sea – a process which was unknown until now (and which climate models do not take into account).
“The effect of VOCs in the air is to cool the climate down,” says Page. “Indeed, global temperatures have actually been stable for more than fifteen years, a circumstance which was not predicted by climate models.”
In addition to being produced by living organisms such as plants and trees and plankton, the new study shows that a key VOC, isoprene, is also produced in very large amounts at the top of the ocean by the action of sunlight on floating chemicals.
“With the discovery of the new abiotic sea process, the idea that cutting carbon emissions may not be all that urgent is looking stronger. That’s probably good news, as it has emerged lately that efforts to cut carbon emissions to date are having the unfortunate side effect of poisoning us all.”
Thanks to Gordon Broussard, Don Brown, John McCann, Laurel and Oz Steamer for these links