Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Global Warming - Seeing the Unseen

As our emissions of carbon dioxide continue to rise, perhaps one of the biggest problems in getting across the impact it has on our planet is the fact that it is invisible. Particulate pollution, often from burning coal, used to cause smog to visibly affect day to day life in many large western cities, leading to public demands and support for clean air action - and we can see similar developments, including public protests, in emergent economies like China now.

However, by sharp contrast, the very fact that we cannot see, smell or taste CO2 somehow relegates the immediacy and scale of what we are doing to our habitat. We don't need to turn a blind eye to what we cannot see.

This video (below) by the US Environmental Defense Fund sets out to show what it would be like if we could indeed see greenhouse gases. It takes the CO2-equivalent emissions of New Yorkers over a timescale from one hour to one year and represents these with very visible one tonne spheres to show the spread of these gases.

The cumulative effect is powerful, to say the least, and silently exposes the folly of the global warming deniers who continue to claim that somehow we are having no effect on the planet, on this, the only place we have to live.

And, bear in mind, it is not only C02. Other invisible greenhouse gasses like methane are just as transparent, but many, many times more warming - and around us in ever greater quantities every moment of the day. Time to stop denying and start acting.


  1. There's an excellent 1h 15 min documentary, 'Chasing Ice' (2012) which shows us dramatic footage of accelerated ice melt, glacier retreat and calving in the Arctic. The film makers' own surveys record that 37.5% of sceptics, after viewing the film, realise that global warming is really happening now. Unlike Age of Stupid and An Inconvenient Truth, it simply lets the dramatic images do the talking. Rated 12+, it should be shown in schools around the world. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIZTMVNBjc4