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Does climate change cause extinctions or do extinctions cause climate change?
All life and other organic processes contribute to levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Either, increases in the abundance of life between the ice ages lead to increasing CO2 levels, leading to climate change, leading to extinction events and corresponding further increases in CO2 levels, or astronomical perturbations lead to global warming, causing extinction events, which lead to increases in CO2 levels. There are other scenarios. But that’s one of the reasons the concept of man-made climate change is so absurd.
The graph shows the percentage of marine animal genera going extinct during any given time interval. Note that extinctions corresponding to the Permian-Triassic and Triassic-Jurassic boundaries appear to match exactly to increases in CO2 levels in the same time intervals. In fact, the graphs over all are spookily concomitant. Did warming caused by the proliferation of animal life lead to increasing CO2 and ultimately to global extinction? Again, one possible scenario.
If that were the case, CO2 levels may have spiked to higher levels than those shown, similar to the kind of spike we may be seeing now; we can’t measure the higher levels that would have occurred during the extinctions because data used to estimate CO2 levels have been destroyed.
Note also that the intensity of extinctions decreases with the age of the earth. This indicates that life becomes less diverse with the increasing age of the earth.
Whether the extinctions are caused by climate change or vice versa, the combination of events appears to occur cyclically. Should we try to minimize it?
Sure. It would seem there are two extremes to our beliefs on climate change; that it’s “not” occurring or that it’s really bad, and it’s all our fault. We should be somewhere in the middle. Climate change may be a cycle of life in the larger scheme of things that only stimulates our understanding of our ability to control it. Turns out nature always manages to have a life of its own.
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