Today, Oct. 24, people in 181 countries are coming together for the most widespread day of environmental action in the planet’s history. At over 5200 events around the world, people are gathering to call for strong action and bold leadership on the climate crisis.
Everyone from Al Gore to the U.N.’s top climate scientist has now embraced this goal as necessary for stabilizing the planet and preventing complete disaster. Now the trick is getting our leaders to pay attention and craft policies that will put the world on track to get to 350.
Right now, mostly because we’ve burned so much fossil fuel, the atmospheric concentration of co2 is 390 ppm — that’s way too high, and it’s why ice is melting, drought is spreading, forests are dying. To bring that number down, the first task is to stop putting more carbon into the atmosphere. That means a very fast transition to sun and wind and other renewable forms of power. If we can stop pouring more carbon into the atmosphere, then forests and oceans will slowly suck some of it out of the air and return us to safe levels.
It’s very hard. It means switching off fossil fuel much more quickly than governments and corporations have been planning. Our best chance to speed up that process will come in December in Copenhagen, when the world’s nations meet to agree on a new climate treaty. Right now, they’re not planning to do enough.