Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Rajendra Pachauri on the Number
Dear friends, For once, this email isn't asking you to do anything at all. It's merely sharing the news--the amazing news--that arrived about 45 minutes ago at 350 headquarters.
Rajendra Pachauri is the U.N.'s top climate scientist. He leads the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which every five years produces the authoritative assessment of climate science. Their last report, in 2007, helped set the target of 450 ppm (parts per million of CO2) that many environmental groups and national governments have adopted as their goal for Copenhagen.
As you all know, that number is out of date. When Jim Hansen and other scientists looked at phenomenon like the Arctic ice melt of the last two summers, they produced new data demonstrating that 350 is the bottom line for the planet.
But it's been hard to get that news out to the powers that be.
So today it comes as enormous and welcome news that Dr. Pachauri, from his New Delhi office, said that 350 was the number.
"As chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) I cannot take a position because we do not make recommendations," said Rajendra Pachauri when asked if he supported calls to keep atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations below 350 parts per million (ppm).
"But as a human being I am fully supportive of that goal. What is happening, and what is likely to happen, convinces me that the world must be really ambitious and very determined at moving toward a 350 target," he told Agence France Presse in an interview.
It's your work that has made this breakthrough possible. In fact, Pachauri specifically cited the last big piece of news for 350: the decision of 80+ small island nations and less developed countries to endorse the 350 target.
"I think this is a good development," said Pachauri. "Now people -- including some scientists -- see the seriousness of the impacts of climate change, and the fact that things are going to get substantially worse than what we had anticipated."
This news makes it much easier for all of us to push hard leading up to the International Day of Climate Action on the 24th of October (signup to start or attend an event at www.350.org) , and the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen this December.
It's clear now that science is powerfully on the side of the 350 target. Now we need the political world to follow suit. You will make that happen in the next two months. Oct. 24 is officially 60 days away, and we're building just the momentum we need to make it count.
Thanks for all you do,
P.S. Once you've spread this news around your networks (click here to share it on twitter or here to share it on facebook), please go celebrate. And speaking of celebrations, our friends at The Age of Stupid report that the Global Premier of their new epic climate change film takes place on September 21--you can find details on local screenings here: www.ageofstupid.net
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350.org is an international grassroots campaign that aims to mobilize a global climate movement united by a common call to action. By spreading an understanding of the science and a shared vision for a fair policy, we will ensure that the world creates bold and equitable solutions to the climate crisis. 350.org is an independent and not-for-profit project.
What is 350? 350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Scientists measure carbon dioxide in "parts per million" (ppm), so 350ppm is the number humanity needs to get below as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change. To get there, we need a different kind of PPM-a "people powered movement" that is made of of people like you in every corner of the planet.