During the late 19th century Carbo was having a great time with his fellow molecules roaming the planet and making sure that more of his kind were spilling into the atmosphere due to coal mines and industrialization. Gradually Carbo got greedier. Carbo knew that crude oil, also the remnants of fossils, could be released and make more of his friends. During a good chunk of the 19th century spotty oil wells were popping up in the United States and on the planet. Carbo wanted to make sure that oil drilling was here to stay and was a “necessary industry” for humans
Locomotives and furnaces were already aiding Carbo in his quest to burn coal and release more trapped carbon molecules, who he thought needed freedom from their captivity in the ground since pre-historic times. What if he could persuade human engineers to invent a machine to burn oil, as well? Walla, he subtly persuaded some engineers to develop the first internal combustion engines leading to the person generally credited for the invention of the first car…Carl Benz of Germany in 1886. By the turn of the 20th century the automobile was here to stay on the planet and was rapidly replacing horse and buggy transportation.
Carbo also needed for those oh too gullible humans to drill oil in great quantities. For this purpose, he turned to the great state of Texas to do his bidding. On January 10th, 1901 the first oil well was drilled in Texas. That state has not been the same since. Carbo used the old carrot on a stick approach to keep the humans producing more cars, drilling more oil, and yes mining more coal. The standard of living and wealth of the humans increased exponentially during the first half of the 20th century. Little did the human race know that what they were doing could seal their doom hundreds of years in the future…just like that asteroid sealed the doom of the animal species that Carbo was trapped in millions of years ago…the Triceratops and dinosaurs in general.
In reality climate scientists aren’t certain how hot the surface of the Earth will get if all coal and oil deposits are burned on the planet even though more are discovered with each passing year. The consensus is that the level of carbon in the atmosphere needs to be near 350 parts per million for the current climate of the planet to be stable. One climate scientist hero who recommends the 350 ppm figure is Bill McKibben. Mr. McKibben has started a large organization, 350.org, to support that figure. Check it out on line. Currently Mauna Loa observations indicate that roughly 410 parts per million of carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere, which is way too high and still rising due to pollution with time.
The text and artwork are copyright by Guy Walton. I would like to get this book published. Please drop me a note if you are willing to help.
My friend Alyssa Josue drew the art.
To see the rest of the World of Thermo stories click: http://www.guyonclimate.com/category/worldofthermo/