Carbon Limit Underestimate as Climate Deaths Start
As climate change caused deaths surge [ark | moreark | search], the world's leading climate scientist is urging the European Union to urgently reconsider their atmospheric carbon dioxide target [ark] of 550 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide. Dr. James Hansen warns this target — which informs global policy efforts — must be slashed to 350 ppm [ark] if “humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilisation developed”. Unfortunately the world is already at 385ppm. Meanwhile the recently completed UN meeting of world governments in Bangkok has agreed upon an agenda for talking about more talks [ark], following upon the victory of the Bali roadmap which, you guessed it, agreed that more talks were desirable.
The growing awareness that carbon levels have already overshot limits that will lead to certain severe impact does not mean we should give up. Whether concentrations are stabilized at 350, 450, 550 or higher is yet to be determined and will have grave impacts upon the habitability of the Earth. What is clear is that humanity must strife for virtually zero carbon emissions — which means no coal or primary forest logging — while pursuing activities that remove carbon from the atmosphere. To do otherwise means avoidable climate change caused deaths already estimated at 150,000 per year, half in Asia [ark], will only intensify exponentially. What we do now and in the short to mid term has never been more important in determining the course of human history and the Earth's ecological and evolutionary trajectory.