Furthest Right

What else has secondary effects?

Never mind carbon dioxide emissions. Let’s talk about the vast stores of carbon hidden deep beneath our feet.

Next week, at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, scientists plan to hold a special session devoted to one potentially frightening aspect of that cycle: a strange little substance known as methane hydrate.

Methane hydrates, or clathrates, are icelike gas deposits buried under permafrost and deep below the seafloor. Some researchers fear that the hydrates are on the verge of melting en masse and belching out a cloud of methane gas that will send global temperatures skyrocketing.

Methane is the same natural gas that we burn for fuel.

As a greenhouse gas, methane is in the big leagues, some 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide.

Around 55 million years ago, Earth again shifted abruptly from snowy to steamy. Many researchers have fingered hydrates in that warming spell, too.


The more dramatic the news source, the more it must be { snip }’d to get to the real information.

The methane fear is nothing new. What’s most alarming is how divisive global warming still is, with competent sources on both sides talking. What’s doubly alarming is that we don’t trust them because we’re used to people acting in self-interest, which means that if an audience will pay $$$ to hear that global warming is/isn’t the end, someone will put his or her scientific reputation to good use selling people that “truth.”

I wonder what other secondaries, not just from global warming but from human growth, await us — we certainly can’t trust science to tell us until there’s a market for their books, movies, grant proposals, etc.

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