One of the world’s most famous climate scientists, James Hanson, is receiving an unnecessarily early eulogy at present from WorldWatch. (Here are parts one and two of its tribute.) Hansen became most famous for testifying to the US Congress in 1988:
There is only a 1 percent chance of an accidental warming of this magnitude…. The greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now.
Recently this quote of Hansen’s has been repeated many times around the globe, including by Jeanette, as call to action:
If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to the one on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, CO2 must be reduced from its present 385 ppm (parts per million) to, at most, 350 ppm
350 ppm, along with other other often expressed 2°C has become has become shorthand for our global climate change goal.
Hansen’s 350 ppm has now spawned a movement, 350.org, with actions happening around the world (but none in Aotearoa – anyone want to fix that?) It describes itself thus:
350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth.
But solutions exist. All around the world, a movement is building to take on the climate crisis, to get humanity out of the danger zone and below 350. This movement is massive, it is diverse, and it is visionary. We are activists, scholars, and scientists. We are leaders in our businesses, our churches, our governments, and our schools. We are clean energy advocates, forward-thinking politicians, and fearless revolutionaries. And we are united around the world, driven to make our planet livable for all who come after us.