October 24th is the International Day of Climate Action. You may hear people in the news, the ‘Net or around you talking about how we need to drop from our current CO2 level of about 390 parts per million down to 350 ppm, their magic number for a happy-happy earth. But it seems I have heard that number somewhere before. Anyway,
What does the number 350 mean?
350 is the most important number in the world–it’s what scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Two years ago, after leading climatologists observed rapid ice melt in the Arctic and other frightening signs of climate change, they issued a series of studies showing that the planet faced both human and natural disaster if atmospheric concentrations of CO2 remained above 350 parts per million.
Everyone from Al Gore to the U.N.’s top climate scientist has now embraced this goal as necessary for stabilizing the planet and preventing complete disaster. Now the trick is getting our leaders to pay attention and craft policies that will put the world on track to get to 350.
Is 350 scientifically possible?
Right now, mostly because we’ve burned so much fossil fuel, the atmospheric concentration of co2 is 390 ppm—that’s way too high, and it’s why ice is melting, drought is spreading, forests are dying. To bring that number down, the first task is to stop putting more carbon into the atmosphere. That means a very fast transition to sun and wind and other renewable forms of power. If we can stop pouring more carbon into the atmosphere, then forests and oceans will slowly suck some of it out of the air and return us to safe levels.
Is 350 politically possible?
It’s very hard. It means switching off fossil fuel much more quickly than governments and corporations have been planning. Our best chance to speed up that process will come in December in Copenhagen, when the world’s nations meet to agree on a new climate treaty. Right now, theyOctober 23, 2009re not planning to do enough. But we can change that–if we mobilize the world to swift and bold climate action, which is what we’re planning to do on October 24th.
Evil CO2 will melt the ice at the poles, spread drought, kill forests, drown polar bears, flood the coasts, and shave your head while you sleep. But the inconvenient truth is that there have been times when the CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have been significantly higher than today. For example, during the Jurassic period CO2 levels were 3.5 to 5 times higher than now. If only Al Gore had presented his PowerPoint slides to the T Rex, they might be still be alive and staring in Jurassic Park IV: The Quest for Global Climate Change Control.
I can’t get all worked up about
global warming climate change like the Chicken Littles of 350.org. Earth is doomed, Doomed, DOOMED! they say, unless Al Gore stops flying around the world like a hummingbird on crack. Hah, just kidding. Al Gore can blow out tons of CO2 gallivanting around the globe for he is the Oscar One. The rest of us have to cut back, as explained in one comment on Etsy:
Small changes in your daily domestic routine can have a huge impact, i.e. lower thermostat temp, turning out lights when leaving a room, hanging laundry to dry, hand washing dishes, and not using a microwave. Simple conservation yields a noticeable difference in the electric & heating bills, too!
While it is true that small changes may have an impact on our own bills, it will have a negligible impact on the CO2 of the world. To have a major impact on CO2, the whole world needs to undergo massive changes. 350.org explains their mission: “the solutions to climate change must be equitable, they must be grounded in science, and they must meet the scale of the crisis.”
I can guarantee that the mission statement will fail in all three parts. Any solutions proposed by governments in Copenhagen this year will not be equitable, but will be heavily weighted on the U.S. and Europe. There is science showing that the earth has been cooling, not heating, in the last decade, and the actions proposed will be far more disastrous than allowing
global warming climate change to proceed unchecked.
If reducing the CO2 in the atmosphere were truly critical, it could be easily solved with three steps: electricity is turned off, fossil fuels are unused, and everyone lives like the Amish. You better not be living in a large city, because the lack of electricity and fossil fuels will make transporting food from farms much slower than it is now. If the whole earth turned to an Amish lifestyle, we would have a massive die-off. But that’s OK, since a massive reduction in humanity would mean less CO2 being produced.
And that’s the goal for climate change fanatics, right?