At exactly what point will the CO2 content in our atmosphere reach crisis levels? Well, a report released October, 2007, by Carbon Equity put the magic number at less than 350 parts per million, while other scientists estimate the figure is actually closer to 300 ppm. Right now, Earth’s atmospheric carbon content is about 385 ppm and increasing, which gives us roughly…
Yesterday, The Reality Report’s Jason Bradford had a lengthy chat with Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy (Holt, 2008) and co-founder of the climate change group 350.org, about the science of climate change and how much more quickly government needs to act in order to keep pace with scientific reality and avoid global catastrophe.
Over the past year or so, much of the thinking about the severity and timeline of climate change has undergone a major shift. In the fall of 2007, a report titled The Big Melt came out that reviewed the rapid loss of polar ice and its likely implications. In December 2007 James Hansen presented a paper at the American Geophysical Union in which it was argued that safe levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide were at least below 350 parts per million, and in fact may be less than 300 ppm. For anyone familiar with climate science and policy this was a stunning conclusion because current levels of CO2 are over 385 ppm. During the winter of 2008 a new report titled Climate Code Red was released that greatly expanded upon The Big Melt and delved into the socio-political implications of the new scientific information, essentially framing the issue in terms of survival requirements on a damaged spaceship Earth. Soon afterwards, a climate activist group called 350.org was formed by Bill McKibben and friends to spread the message that policy targets need to reflect the scientific imperative.