AFLOAT IN THE ATMOSPHERE – part 2, and more (CO2)

I'm flying over North America - bruce witzel photo


2015 C02 Levels 


I'm flying over Phoenix - bruce witzel photo


On average, each person in Canada, Australia, and the United States creates the worlds highest global greenhouse gas emissions.

If you look  historically over the past 100 hundred years, the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions have been created by the world’s wealthiest countries. 

This graph shows total overall annual emissions for different countries in 2013…




Poor people are the most vulnerable to climate change events like extreme drought, more severe typhoons and heavy floods.

They have done the least to create global climate change.





The Channel Islands National Park is afloat amidst the haze of Southern California… 


Looking towards the Channel Islands off the California coast- bruce witzel photo


Clouds are also afloat over the Salish Sea between Vancouver and Seattle (below). The worlds fragile biosphere and ecosystems are being harmed by more and more Canadian exports of fossil fuel.

A few days ago, April 15th, an oil spill occurred in Vancouver’s English Bay. Although it is relatively small (2,700 litres), the spill underlines the environmental threats due to our increasing energy dependencies.


Sunrise over Georgia Strait and Gabriola Island - bruce witzel photo


Canada’s Parliament led by Prime Minister Steven Harper supports further tar sands extraction and more oil & gas pipelines. He and his government are opposed to any real or meaningful reductions of our greenhouse gas emissions.

Since 1880, global emissions have caused an average temperature increase of 1.4 degree Celsius to the planet. Although this doesn’t seem like much, overall this increase is creating havoc with the air steams and ocean currents that create weather.

This Tuesday, April 14th, Canada’s Premiers (without Harper) are meeting in Quebec City to discuss plans for climate action…



Meanwhile at the federal level in Ottawa (across the river, below)

the clouds hang low over Harper…


Canada's parliament in Ottawa - bruce witzel photo


The Scientific Consensus:

Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities, and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.


“On the one hand, you have the entire scientific community, and on the other you have a handful of people, most of them crackpots.”

Lord Robert May, former President of the Royal Society

Climate change is real



Victoria Harbour protest against Nuclear Weapons - late 1980's - burce witzel photo


11 thoughts on “AFLOAT IN THE ATMOSPHERE – part 2, and more (CO2)

  1. Really good stuff, fine photography, esp your concern for the poor, also the non-human poor. Could you say a word how climate change effects the poor. Pope Francis links the two very closely and his new encyclical will reflect this. thanks. charles

  2. A few years ago, on a woman’s retreat in Costa Rica, an American woman argued with me along the following lines: Americans should be allowed to keep their standard of living, but the hundreds of millions of people moving into the middle class in India and China should be educated and prevented from using more resources and increasing greenhouse gases. And she was serious – I was serious about wanting to slap her (but didn’t). Where do you even begin faced with this level of entitlement and ignorance?!

    • Exactly. It leaves one flabbergasted. Good you restrained yourself. 🙂
      I once joked about putting a few oil executives on a melting iceberg with a few stranded polar bears. I regretted saying it afterwards because I actually don’t support capital punishment.

  3. Bruce, thanks for those amazing photos, charts, and cartoon. A shocker for me is the energy consumption of my fridge when compared to individual energy use of select countries in Africa. We in the West take our comfortable lives for granted, unaware of our carbon footprint.

    • Yes Rosaliene. Thanks for your acknowledgement of this. I know you are very aware.

      I too, think this is a core issue that the vast amount of “well-off people” don’t get… i.e the disparity of resource use, and most specifically to this issue, the burning of fossil fuel, of richer people compared to poorer people.

      Ergo.. it’s us who live fairly comfortable lives who are most responsible for climate change!!! We’re in quite the conundrum here, aren’t we… because all people should be able to live comfortable lives.

      An example of this lack of awareness was written about in an article I read a few years back, that showed the attitude most Americans have (and this translate to many others as well) as being quite smug about there care towards the environment, compared to how people in poor countries felt. Yet it said that even though the “average American” (like in other rich nations) use more “things” and are responsible for more GHG emissions and a larger carbon footprint, they still fail to acknowledge this impact.

      Historically, USA is responsible for 28.9% of all the world’s GHG emissions from 1850 to 2007 … I got this figure from this Guardian article “Which countries are responsible for climate change” Here’ the link

  4. A key component of pollution no matter what type is human activity and more importantly the amount of human activity directly related to the number of people on the planet.

    What is a sustainable level of human activity and population? No one knows for sure. However, if we’re going to be around 500 years from now the consensus among those in academia, those who one would think should have the best chance of knowing, is that it will need to be considerably less than current levels. Perhaps one forth or one fifth?

    In the past humans have always been able to seek greener pastures through physical relocation and more recently through technology. Such solutions are getting harder to come by.

    • Thanks for commenting. The issue of population is sensitive because. Everyone on the planet should be able to have a comfortable life with adequate food and shelter, and yet we can’t all be flying around and driving big cars.

      Academics have shown that the rate of population growth decreases in countries once basic needs like health and education are provided. And I think it was Socrates who put forth the idea that a nation could not survive if the levels of wealth between people were more than the ratio of 1 to 7. i.e. If one person earns $100.00 each day no-one else should earn more than $700.00

      It is my opinion that too many people are wealthier than they need to be. I just googled these two facts:

      1) half the world’s population now live on less than $2.50 a day.
      2) 80 rich people now have as much wealth as the above 50% of of poor humanity combined!

      The exact figures are always debatable, but the main point is clear. Such disparity can’t be good for the earth. Also, this disparity is not poor peoples fault.

      I do appreciate the awareness you have towards conservation of the the environment in your Ohio area. Please keep up your work good work.

  5. “What if …we create a better world for nothing?” 🙂 better yet, what if we practice a better relationship with the world…for nothing? Can we make that into a koan?

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