Today, burning coal is one of the main reason global warming causing the earth to overheat, but, about 300 million years ago the formation of coal brought the planet much closer to a giant snowball state.
As per a study, coal deposits formed after vast number of trees died during the carboniferous and Permian periods. They turned in to coal and the CO2 level started dropping.
The coal sucked planet’s level of that gas to staggering low levels, pushing Earth towards freezing point.
Georg Feulner, a researcher from Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research said, “It is quite an irony that forming the coal that today is a major factor for dangerous global warming once almost lead to global glaciation’’.
‘’However, this illustrates the enormous dimension of the coal issue. The amount of CO2 stored in earth’s coal reserves was once big enough to push our climate out of balance. When released by burning the coal, the CO2 is again destabilising the earth system’’, he further added.
He also said that we should definitely keep CO2 levels in the atmosphere below 450 parts per million to keep our climate stable. “Raising the amount of greenhouse gases beyond that limit means pushing ourselves out of the safe operating space of Earth’’, Feulner said.
Georg asked to learn from the Earth’s past which teaches us that periods of rapid warming were often associated with mass extinction events and this shows that a stable climate is something to appreciate and protect.