Scientists track changes in the atmosphere by measuring the
concentration of gases — in parts per million. Small changes in these amounts
can alter the earth’s natural systems. For the past 600,000 years, the carbon
dioxide (CO2) levels never exceeded 300 ppm. Today, the number is
389 ppm — a 30% increase since the beginning of the industrial revolution.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that mankind’s growing use of fossil fuels (for power production and transportation) and deforestation are the primary causes of this increase. The combustion of fossil fuels adds CO2, which strengthens the
greenhouse effect, thus causing a gradual warming of our planet. I have attended scientific meetings where the world’s leading climatologists forecast 450 ppm of CO2 as inevitable.
Dr. James Hansen and others at NASA have studied the
historical gaseous concentrations and reported that for the planet to remain
habitable as we have known it, the upper limit for CO2 is 350 ppm.
"If humanity wishes to preserve a
planet similar to that one which civilization developed and to which life
on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that
CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 389 ppm to at most 350
In essence, they are saying that we must dramatically reduce
our carbon footprint in a world that’s been adding 2ppm yearly since 1950.
What’s needed is a design revolution in how we obtain and use energy.
We invite you to get involved in the www.350.org campaign. On October 24th,
the International Day of Climate Action will be held around the world. The
goal is to get everyone focused on 350ppm and what it will take to change
course. Solutions include: reducing coal-fired power, slowing deforestation
and transitioning away from petroleum to electricity and clean biofuels for
transportation. My invitation to you — gather your colleagues and family,
join this campaign and make “350” a target number we can all get behind.
In partnership for the planet,