20 Oct '11, 8pm

A 56-million-year-old lesson in climate change

A 56-million-year-old lesson in climate change

This is not the first time the Earth has changed in response to carbon overload. Scientists have found that the planet experienced rapid warming about 56 million years ago, long before humans arrived. According to an article in the October issue of National Geographic, a "massive and geologically sudden release of carbon" during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum , or PETM, altered the planet's systems, making it possible for new life forms to appear and thrive, including, eventually, humans. Evidence suggests that the carbon released then was equivalent to the amount that would enter the atmosphere if we burned all the Earth's reserves of coal, oil, and natural gas. The warming effects are believed to have lasted 150,000 years until the carbon was reabsorbed. The main difference between now and then is that we are fuelling the current change, whereas 56 million years ag...

Full article: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/science-matters/2011/10/...

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