Isn't America the biggest source of the problem? What about China and India?
Yes—America has been producing more CO2 than any other country, and leads the industrialized world in per capita emissions. Even though China now produces as much CO2 annually, the US still produces many times more carbon per person than China, India, and most other countries. And America has blocked meaningful international action for many years. That's why the people at 350.org, WWF, UNDP, OCA have worked hard to change U.S. policy—they staged more than 2,000 demonstrations in all 50 states in 2007, and helped spur Congress to pass the first real laws to reduce CO2. Now we need help from around the world to persuade both the U.S. and the U.N. to continue the process.
China and India and the rest of the developing world need to be involved. But since per capita they use far less energy than the West, and have been doing so for much shorter periods of time, and are using fossil fuels to pull people out of poverty, their involvement needs to be different. The West is going to have to use some tiny percentage of the wealth it built up filling the atmosphere with carbon to transfer technology north to south so that these countries can meet their legitimate development needs without burning all their coal. A great resource for thinking about these questions is the paper prepared by the Greenhouse Rights Network, which can be found here.
Will this thing work? Will world leaders listen?
nly if we're loud enough.
If we can make this number known across the planet, that mere fact will exert some real pressure on negotiators. We need people to understand that 350 marks either success or failure for these climate negotiations. It's not an easy fight—the other side has the power of the fossil fuel industry. But we think the voice of ordinary Malaysians will be heard, if it's loud enough. That's our entire job—to make enough noise that we can't be easily ignored.
Where did this 350 number come from?
Dr. James Hansen, of NASA, the United States' space agency, has been researching global warming longer than just about anyone else. He was the first to publicly testify before the U.S. Congress, in June of 1988, that global warming was real. He and his colleagues have used both real-world observation, computer simulation, and mountains of data about ancient climates to calculate what constitutes dangerous quantities of carbon in the atmosphere. The Bush Administration has tried to keep Hansen and his team from speaking publicly, but their analysis has been widely praised by other scientists, and by experts like Nobel Prize winner Al Gore. The full text of James Hansen's paper about 350 can be found here.
|How do we actually reduce carbon emissions to get to 350?
Make no mistake—getting back to 350 means transforming our lifestyle and the world.
“ To change the world, we must change ourselves first “... Nelson Mandela
It means building solar arrays instead of coal plants, it means planting trees instead of clear-cutting rainforests, it means increasing efficiency and decreasing our waste. Getting to 350 means developing a thousand different solutions—all of which will become much easier if we have a global treaty grounded in the latest science and built around the principles of equity and justice.
If there is one thing we can do to save our planet – GO ORGANIC! Choosing to go organic is the single most synergistic action that will accelerate the change we need in our Biosphere, Geosphere and Sociosphere. To get this kind of treaty, we need a movement of people who care enough about our shared global future to get involved and make their voices heard.