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Over 2% emissions are due to the information and communications technology

You may ignore Global Warming but Global Dumbing by CO2…

The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is projected to be near 1000 parts per million (ppm) by the end of this century. Increased CO2 levels in the blood cause the brain to reduce metabolism and spontaneous neural activity and enter a lower arousal state. In simple words, the brain becomes oxygen deprived and has an impact on our thinking abilities. Harvard group had measured a 15 percent decline of cognitive ability scores at 950 ppm, and 50 percent declines at 1,400 ppm. High levels of CO2 impair humans’ ability for Crisis Response, Information Usage, and Strategy! By 2100, we all will be living in an environment where we will be able to perform 85% or worse. You can choose to dispute and ignore global warming, but please don’t overlook the impact of high CO2 levels on human decision-making skills.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) has been present in our atmosphere since the formation of Earth. The Scottish chemist Joseph Black discovered this colorless and odorless gas in the mid-18th century, and the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was measured by C.D. Keeling first in the early 1960s. Keeling found that it was rising fast. It has been the object of intense study ever since. For most of the human evolution and modern history, CO2 levels in the air were below 300 parts per million. The industrial revolution increased this number to above 300 parts-per-million (PPM). CO2 levels in the atmosphere have been increasing exponentially for the last 50 years. On May 11, 2019, Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, measured the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere to be 415.26 parts per million (ppm), and it is now growing towards 1000 ppm by the end of this century. The year 2100 is no more a time that is far, far away in the future. It is right ahead. Most people born after 1997 will be living in 2100!

Raised CO2 levels lead to reduced mental capacity. Reaction times are slower and ability to concentrate is lower. A recent study led by academics at Oxford Brookes University and LCMB Building Performance, corroborate the idea that Employees worked 60% faster with lower levels of carbon dioxide and their test scores improved by up to 12%. Elevated CO2 concentration may influence aspects of cognitive performance after only short exposures. A vast majority of studies link CO2 levels to poorer performance:

  • Study published by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that levels of carbon dioxide commonly found in crowded rooms decreased people’s performance on decision-making tests. [1]
  • Human capacity to concentrate attention decline when subjects spend 2 to 3 hours in a closed space with 3000 ppm or higher CO 2 concentration in the air as seen in a study by Department of Building Service Engineering and Process Engineering of Budapest University of Technology and Economics. [2]
  • Learning effect with practice was lacking when the participants were exposed to the high CO2 condition. [3]
  • Performance of reasoning tasks, such as AB logic problems, was significantly slowed at the higher levels of CO2 as per this study of effects of carbon dioxide on mental performance [4]
  • The Harvard group measured a 15 percent decline of cognitive ability scores at 950 ppm and 50 percent declines at 1,400 ppm in a controlled exposure study of green and conventional office environments. [5]

Reduction in cognitive functioning at 2500 ppm is comparable to the blood alcohol limit in most U.S. states.

And, now imagine a world where elevated CO2 is the norm. The impact of long term exposure to high CO2 levels has received little attention in the scientific literature. The impact will definitely be worse than what we are extrapolating based on indoor studies for greener buildings.

Even though cleaner energy sources like wind and solar are expanding rapidly, it’s not enough to keep emissions overall from rising as energy demand is still growing.

Over 2% emissions are due to the information and communications technology (think data centers and cell towers) that we need for communication, cloud, and artificial intelligence.

Time for us to be conscious about where we host and whose 5G we use!

Let us work together for a green world. Otherwise, the smartest species on the planet is on the path to becoming dumber!

By Ajay Malik

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