Sunday, 19 May 2013

400 ppm

We climate worriers worry daily. Each new day brings climate news that's worse than yesterday's. There's either new research that shows how the ice is melting even faster, the biodiversity is dissapearing faster, or there are new allowances made, letting people pollute more, you know, for "growth". Or new records are being set. Like the other day, when the latest atmospheric CO2 saturation finally hit 400 ppm (part per million).

Numbers can be pretty abstract, so for those who aren't in the know:
- our pre-industrial ppm was 280
- last time the ppm was 400, the sea level was 60-80 meters higher
- we need to stay under 350 ppm to ensure a safe and livable climate, no more than the 'magical' 2 degrees warmer.

So - 400 is just a number for a lot of people - people who can't see, smell, or taste the higher saturation of carbon in the air they breathe. But for us climate worriers, the number gives cause for a lot of feelings, like sorrow, anger, panic, anxiety, wanting to give up.

You wonder how we got this far. Global warming has been a widely known fact since the 80s. The gravity of climate change starting permeating the mainstream in the 90s, but hey, it was still years away. Or so we thought. In 2005, Hurrican Katrina hit it home - it's already happening. Anthropogenic climate change was already causing bigger storms, people were losing their homes and livelihoods, whole cities lay in ruins. 

You'd think politicians would do more than just overseeing the flooded areas, laying a comforting arm on one of the victims. But no.

You'd think the citizens of the world would get out on the streets and demand action from the aforementioned, comatose, politicians. And they did. 
But did it help? No. At least not yet. 
And I'm afraid it's almost too late, despite our efforts. If not already too late. 

In the wake of our latest 'record', I feel the need to delve into some subjects:
1) WHY aren't politicians taking the necessary action to ensure a stable climate for life as we know it?
2) WHAT is actually necessary - to pressure politicians into adequate action, and to keep our climate livable.
3) NEW NARRATIVES we need to create about our world now, and in the future, and the way we live in it. 

I'll be investigating these subjects in coming posts, but please feel free to add your voice to this conversation in the comments!