350.org sets realistic climate goals

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Source: Intelex Technologies Inc.

Ever find the world of global warming a little overwhelming?

Between myriad climate initiatives, myths and misinformation, piles of studies, and countless websites and advocacy groups, it’s tough to make sense of it all.

True, there may be a bit of an information overload surrounding climate change. But one new organization has made significant headway in making things a lot simpler. And its accomplishing this by viewing climate change through the lens of a magic number: 350.

Essentially, according to scientific consensus and a seminal report by Dr. James Hansen—perhaps the world’s most venerated climate change researcher—350 ppm (parts per million) is the safe upper limit for atmospheric carbon dioxide. So 350.org was launched to make that number a focal point of achievable, realistic action on climate change.

The bad news is we’re above this value currently, with CO2 at about 390 ppm, which is one of the highest values ever. Actually, we’re pretty much exactly at 390.09 ppm, according to the live data provided by CO2now.org. The worse news is that atmospheric CO2 has been steadily increasing at an accelerating rate. In 1959 (the first year precise measurements were taken) we sat at a comfortable 316 ppm. In 1988 we cracked 350 ppm. Two years ago we recorded about 387 ppm and though levels have never been higher than they are today, we’re projected to reach 450 ppm by 2035 and a staggering 860 ppm by 2095!

That’s if nothing is done about it, which brings me to the good news: according to 350.org, humankind is actually capable of reversing the trend and scaling back emissions to a viable 350. But the same old narrative applies: we’re in it together, and only coordinated action and advocacy will lead to a reversal of this upward trend.

Business and industry leaders can do their part by tracking and reporting on air emissions, implementing streamlined environmental management systems, and implementing progressive policies to curb emissions.

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