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  • ("We are prone to accept death by a thousand little cuts." - Mark L. Winston, "Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive")

  • Two frogs are minding their own business in the swamp whenwham! they're kidnapped.

  • They come to in a kitchen, captives of a menacing chef.

  • He boils up a pot of water and lobs one of the frogs in.

  • But it's having none of this.

  • The second its toes hit the scalding water, it jumps right out the window.

  • The chef refills the pot, but this time, he doesn't turn on the heat.

  • He plops the second frog in, and this frog's okay with that.

  • The chef turns the heat on very low, and the temperature of the water slowly rises.

  • So slowly that the frog doesn't notice.

  • In fact, it basks in the balmy water.

  • Only when the surface begins to bubble does the frog realize...

  • ... it's toast.

  • What's funny about this parable is that it's not scientifically true...

  • ... for frogs.

  • In reality, a frog will detect slowly heating water and leap to safety.

  • Humans, on the other hand, are a different story.

  • We're perfectly happy to sit in the pot and slowly turn up the heat,

  • all the while insisting it isn't our hand on the dial,

  • arguing about whether we can trust thermometers,

  • and questioningeven if they're right, does it matter?

  • It does.

  • Since 1850, global average temperatures have risen by 1 degree Celsius.

  • That may not sound like a lot, but it is.

  • Why?

  • 1 degree is an average.

  • Many places have already gotten much warmer than that.

  • Some places in the Arctic have already warmed 4 degrees.

  • If global average temperatures increase 1 more degree, the coldest nights in the Arctic might get 10 degrees warmer.

  • The warmest days in Mumbai might get 5 degrees hotter.

  • So, how did we get here?

  • Almost everything that makes modern life possible relies on fossil fuelscoal, oil, and gasfull of carbon from ancient organic matter.

  • When we burn fossil fuels, we release carbon dioxide that builds up in our atmosphere,

  • where it remains for hundreds or even thousands of years, letting heat in, but not out.

  • The heat comes from sunlight, which passes through the atmosphere to Earth, where it gets absorbed and warms everything up.

  • Warm objects emit infrared radiation, which should pass back out into space, because most atmospheric gases don't absorb it.

  • But greenhouse gasescarbon dioxide and methanedo absorb infrared wavelengths.

  • So, when we add more of those gases to the atmosphere, less heat makes it back out to space, and our planet warms up.

  • If we keep emitting greenhouse gases at our current pace,

  • scientists predict temperatures will rise 4 degrees from their pre-industrial levels by 2100.

  • They've identified 1.5 degrees of warmingglobal averages half a degree warmer than today's⏤as a threshold beyond which the negative impacts of climate change will become increasingly severe.

  • To keep from crossing that threshold, we need to get our greenhouse gas emissions down to zero as fast as possible.

  • Or rather, we have to get emissions down to what's called "net-zero",

  • meaning we may still be putting some greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, but we take out as much as we put in.

  • This doesn't mean we can just keep emitting and sequester all that carbon

  • we couldn't keep up with our emissions through natural methods,

  • and technological solutions would be prohibitively expensive and require huge amounts of permanent storage.

  • Instead, while we switch from coal, oil, and natural gas to clean energy and fuelswhich will take time

  • we can mitigate the damage by removing carbon from the atmosphere.

  • Jumping out of the proverbial pot isn't an option, but we can do something the frogs can't:

  • reach over and turn down the heat.

  • Can you guess one surprising puzzle we need to solve to run our planet on renewable energy?

  • Discover the answer with this video.

  • Or subscribe to our channel and turn on notifications so you never miss our latest planet content.

  • Stay informed and stay hopeful.

("We are prone to accept death by a thousand little cuts." - Mark L. Winston, "Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive")

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B1 TED-Ed frog heat carbon greenhouse atmosphere

The “myth” of the boiling frog

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    林宜悉 posted on 2022/09/02
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