350 parts per million carbon dioxide: aiming too low?

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More climate change stuff, this time a press release and call for action from Bill McKibben. See also “Himalayan sherpas bugged by the sight of house flies at 5,000m: House flies at Everest basecamp are another sign of climate change that is melting glaciers with worrying speed” by John Vidal.

NOTE: colonos really suspect that McKibben is aiming too low:

NASA’s [politically conservative] Dr James Hansen says that an atmospheric CO2 concentration of about 325 needed to restore planetary energy balance and about 300 ppm CO2 is needed to restore Arctic sea ice to what it was 25 years ago.”

For a stronger demand, see: 300.0rg

October 13, 2009

Dear Friend of CommonDreams.org,

For years CommonDreams.org has been a leader in covering one of the most critical issues of our times: the survival of our planet. That’s why I approached Craig Brown and the CommonDreams.org team to ask if I could share this news with you about a milestone event coming up on October 24 – an event we hope you’ll take part in.

That day, in almost every country of the world, ordinary citizens will come together in a series of events and rallies and demonstrations and glorious public art projects, all designed to do one thing: make the most important number in the world the most well-known.

That number is 350, as in parts per million carbon dioxide. In the last two years, the scientific community has made very clear that it’s the maximum safe level for carbon in the atmosphere, at least if we want to have a planet “similar to the one on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapated.” It turns out that people all over the world do — in more than 130 countries, they are organizing thousands of actions that will take those three digits and sear them into the planet’s consciousness. For instance:

On the melting slopes of Mt. Everest, Pemba Dorje Sherpa, who holds the record for the fastest ascent of the highest peak, will be spreading banners and signs

On the dying coral reefs of the Maldives, the government’s entire cabinet will don scuba gear and hold an official underwater meeting to pass a 350 resolution to send to the Copenhagen summit

On the shores of the fast-drying Dead Sea, Israeli activists will form a giant human 3 on their beach, Palestinians a 5 on theirs, and Jordanians a 0-reminding us we need to unite across all kinds of divides for effective action.

If you go to 350.org, you can find the action nearest you — and if there’s not one yet you can figure out something grand to do yourself. There will be churches ringing their bells 350 times, and farmers mowing the numbers into their fields, and hip hop artists staging concerts across urban America — it’s going to be a great day.

And it’s going to matter. Since so far our leaders haven’t shown enough willingness to do what needs doing, scientists and citizens have to stand up for the planet’s real bottom lines. We can refocus this debate, share the news about the planet’s limits, and about the planet’s possibilities when we respect those limits.

Already 89 nations have signed on to the target–the poorest nations on earth, for the most part. The ones that have done the least to cause this problem. Their citizens, rallying in Mombasa and Quito and Phnom Penh, need to see that the rest of us are joining them in this fight. Please help us at 350.org – it’s going to be a day of great passion, great joy, and great connection. You don’t want to miss it.

With the support of the CommonDreams.org team, and on behalf of 350.org, we hope you will join us.


Bill McKibben
Author, Activist, and founder of 350.org

Join me at www.350.org

www.commondreams.org is an Internet-based progressive news and grassroots activism organization, founded in 1997.
We are a nonprofit, progressive, independent and nonpartisan organization.

To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.


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