350.org is an international campaign to bring attention to the number 350. Some scientific research says that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, there will be irreversible damage to the planet.
Other climate scientists, predominantly involved in the field of feedback dynamics, do not apply a minimum figure, instead implying that only pre-industrial levels (280ppm) are sufficient. This suggests that 350.org is more of a brand than a guideline.
The fundamental problem: Global WarmingEdit
Global warming is a real threat and it is happening faster than previously predicted. The main Global warming is caused by releasing what are called greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The most common greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide. Many of the activities we do every day like turn the lights on, cook food, or heat or cool our homes rely on energy sources like coal and oil that emit carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases. This is a major problem because global warming destabilizes the delicate balance that makes life on this planet possible. Just a few degrees in temperature can completely change the world as we know it, and threaten the lives of millions of people around the world.
What does 350 mean?Edit
The 350 ppm CO2 target is the upper figure proposed by the NASA Chief Scientist James Hansen to limit the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million. The goal is to avoid global climate change with potentially very large and irreversible effects on human society and the natural environment. But how does this level compare to the EU target to limit the increase in global temperature to a maximum of 2 degrees centigrade over pre-industrial levels?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its 4th Assessment report, has indicated that achieving the 2ºC target will mean stabilizing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at about 445 to 490 ppm CO2 equivalents. This includes a number of greenhouse gases (not only carbon dioxide), and corresponds to about 400 ppm CO2 alone. A stabilization at 400 ppm CO2-equivalents corresponds to about 350 ppm CO2. To get to the 350 ppm CO2 target, the total greenhouse gas concentration will need to fall to about 400 ppm CO2-equivalents. This is at the low end of a range of stabilization concentration possibilities and is fully compatible with the EU 2-degrees-centigrade target.
350.org is largely focused on symbolic action, in the form of letter writing, petitions, vigils and small scale community action. It fully accepts the paradigm of Industrial Civilization, and thus is not involved in any activities that threaten the industrial economy.
The overall goal is to make sure that everyone knows the target so that the political leaders feel real pressure to act. Reaching 350 ppm will require unprecedented international cooperation. The United Nations is negotiating a treaty (a post Kyoto Protocol that could put the world on a course to solve the climate crisis. However, the current plans for the treaty are much too weak to get us back to safety.
350.org tries to bring millions of new voices to the table, united by the common call to action. Together, 350 will redefine the possible and rally the world behind the solutions that science and justice demand. The campaign encourages people to use the number 350 in art, music, political demonstrations, and in any other imaginable way to drive this number home.
Environmentalist Bill McKibben and a team of youth activists are behind 350.org.
How to participateEdit
Information about how to participate can be found at www.350.org.