Carbon Rangers/Ecozoic Times

EDMUND RICE CHRISTIAN BROTHERS NORTH AMERICA


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Copenhagen Accord
December 18, 2009
The Heads of State, Heads of Government, Ministers, and other heads of delegation present at the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen, In pursuit of the ultimate objective of the Convention as stated in its Article 2, Being guided by the principles and provisions of the Convention, Noting the results of work done by the two Ad hoc Working Groups, Endorsing decision x/CP.15 on the Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action and decision x/CMP.5 that requests the Ad hoc Working Group on Further Commitments of Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol to continue its work, Have agreed on this Copenhagen Accord which is operational immediately.
1.   We underline that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. We emphasise our strong political will to urgently combat climate change in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. To achieve the ultimate objective of the Convention to stabilize greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, we shall, recognizing the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius, on the basis of equity and in the context of sustainable development, enhance our long-term cooperative action to combat climate change. We recognize the critical impacts of climate change and the potential impacts of response measures on countries particularly vulnerable to its adverse effects and stress the need to establish a comprehensive adaptation programme including international support. FCCC/CP/2009/L.7 Page 2
2.   We agree that deep cuts in global emissions are required according to science, and as documented by the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report with a view to reduce global emissions so as to hold the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius, and take action to meet this objective consistent with science and on the basis of equity. We should cooperate in achieving the peaking of global and national emissions as soon as possible, recognizing that the time frame for peaking will be longer in developing countries and bearing in mind that social and economic development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of developing countries and that a low-emission development strategy is indispensable to sustainable development.
3.   Adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change and the potential impacts of response measures is a challenge faced by all countries. Enhanced action and international cooperation on adaptation is urgently required to ensure the implementation of the Convention by enabling and supporting the implementation of adaptation actions aimed at reducing vulnerability and building resilience in developing countries, especially in those that are particularly vulnerable, especially least developed countries, small island developing States and Africa. We agree that developed countries shall provide adequate, predictable and sustainable financial resources, technology and capacity-building to support the implementation of adaptation action in developing countries.
4.   Annex I Parties commit to implement individually or jointly the quantified economywide emissions targets for 2020, to be submitted in the format given in Appendix I by Annex I Parties to the secretariat by 31 January 2010 for compilation in an INF document. Annex I Parties that are Party to the Kyoto Protocol will thereby further strengthen the emissions reductions initiated by the Kyoto Protocol. Delivery of reductions and financing by developed countries will be measured, reported and verified in accordance with existing and any further guidelines adopted by the Conference of the Parties, and will ensure that accounting of such targets and finance is rigorous, robust and transparent.
5.   Non-Annex I Parties to the Convention will implement mitigation actions, including those to be submitted to the secretariat by non-Annex I Parties in the format given in Appendix II by 31 January 2010, for compilation in an INF document, consistent with Article 4.1 and Article 4.7 and in the context of sustainable development. Least developed countries and small island developing States may undertake actions voluntarily and on the basis of support. Mitigation actions subsequently taken and envisaged by Non-Annex I Parties, including national inventory reports, shall be communicated through national communications consistent with Article 12.1(b) every two years on the basis of guidelines to be adopted by the Conference of the Parties. Those mitigation actions in national communications or otherwise communicated to the Secretariat will be added to the list in appendix II. Mitigation actions taken by Non-Annex I Parties will be subject to their domestic measurement, reporting and verification the result of which will be reported through their national communications every two years. Non-Annex I Parties will communicate information on the implementation of their actions through National Communications, with provisions for international consultations and analysis under clearly defined guidelines that will ensure that national sovereignty is respected. Nationally appropriate mitigation actions seeking international support will be recorded in a registry along with relevant technology, finance and capacity building support. Those actions supported will be added to the list in appendix II. These supported nationally appropriate mitigation actions will be subject to international measurement, reporting and verification in accordance with guidelines adopted by the Conference of the Parties.
6.   We recognize the crucial role of reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation and the need to enhance removals of greenhouse gas emission by forests and agree on the need to provide positive incentives to such actions through the immediate establishment of a mechanism including REDD-plus, to enable the mobilization of financial resources from developed countries.
7.   We decide to pursue various approaches, including opportunities to use markets, to enhance the cost-effectiveness of, and to promote mitigation actions. Developing countries, especially those with low emitting economies should be provided incentives to continue to develop on a low emission pathway.
8.   Scaled up, new and additional, predictable and adequate funding as well as improved access shall be provided to developing countries, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, to enable and support enhanced action on mitigation, including substantial finance to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD-plus), adaptation, technology development and transfer and capacity-building, for enhanced implementation of the Convention. The collective commitment by developed countries is to provide new and additional resources, including forestry and investments through international institutions, approaching USD 30 billion for the period 2010  2012 with balanced allocation between adaptation and mitigation. Funding for adaptation will be prioritized for the most vulnerable developing countries, such as the least developed countries, small island developing States and Africa. In the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation, developed countries commit to a goal of mobilizing jointly USD 100 billion dollars a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries. This funding will come from a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance. New multilateral funding for adaptation will be delivered through effective and efficient fund arrangements, with a governance structure providing for equal representation of developed and developing countries. A significant portion of such funding should flow through the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund.
9.   To this end, a High Level Panel will be established under the guidance of and accountable to the Conference of the Parties to study the contribution of the potential sources of revenue, including alternative sources of finance, towards meeting this goal.
10.   We decide that the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund shall be established as an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention to support projects, programme, policies and other activities in developing countries related to mitigation including REDD-plus, adaptation, capacitybuilding, technology development and transfer.
11.   In order to enhance action on development and transfer of technology we decide to establish a Technology Mechanism to accelerate technology development and transfer in support of action on adaptation and mitigation that will be guided by a country-driven approach and be based on national circumstances and priorities.
12.   We call for an assessment of the implementation of this Accord to be completed by 2015, including in light of the Conventions ultimate objective. This would include consideration of strengthening the long-term goal referencing various matters presented by the science, including in relation to temperature rises of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Copenhagen Accord

December 18, 2009


The Heads of State, Heads of Government, Ministers, and other heads of delegation present at the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen, In pursuit of the ultimate objective of the Convention as stated in its Article 2, Being guided by the principles and provisions of the Convention, Noting the results of work done by the two Ad hoc Working Groups, Endorsing decision x/CP.15 on the Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action and decision x/CMP.5 that requests the Ad hoc Working Group on Further Commitments of Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol to continue its work, Have agreed on this Copenhagen Accord which is operational immediately.


1.   We underline that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. We emphasise our strong political will to urgently combat climate change in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. To achieve the ultimate objective of the Convention to stabilize greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, we shall, recognizing the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius, on the basis of equity and in the context of sustainable development, enhance our long-term cooperative action to combat climate change. We recognize the critical impacts of climate change and the potential impacts of response measures on countries particularly vulnerable to its adverse effects and stress the need to establish a comprehensive adaptation programme including international support. FCCC/CP/2009/L.7 Page 2


2.   We agree that deep cuts in global emissions are required according to science, and as documented by the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report with a view to reduce global emissions so as to hold the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius, and take action to meet this objective consistent with science and on the basis of equity. We should cooperate in achieving the peaking of global and national emissions as soon as possible, recognizing that the time frame for peaking will be longer in developing countries and bearing in mind that social and economic development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of developing countries and that a low-emission development strategy is indispensable to sustainable development.


3.   Adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change and the potential impacts of response measures is a challenge faced by all countries. Enhanced action and international cooperation on adaptation is urgently required to ensure the implementation of the Convention by enabling and supporting the implementation of adaptation actions aimed at reducing vulnerability and building resilience in developing countries, especially in those that are particularly vulnerable, especially least developed countries, small island developing States and Africa. We agree that developed countries shall provide adequate, predictable and sustainable financial resources, technology and capacity-building to support the implementation of adaptation action in developing countries.


4.   Annex I Parties commit to implement individually or jointly the quantified economywide emissions targets for 2020, to be submitted in the format given in Appendix I by Annex I Parties to the secretariat by 31 January 2010 for compilation in an INF document. Annex I Parties that are Party to the Kyoto Protocol will thereby further strengthen the emissions reductions initiated by the Kyoto Protocol. Delivery of reductions and financing by developed countries will be measured, reported and verified in accordance with existing and any further guidelines adopted by the Conference of the Parties, and will ensure that accounting of such targets and finance is rigorous, robust and transparent.


5.   Non-Annex I Parties to the Convention will implement mitigation actions, including those to be submitted to the secretariat by non-Annex I Parties in the format given in Appendix II by 31 January 2010, for compilation in an INF document, consistent with Article 4.1 and Article 4.7 and in the context of sustainable development. Least developed countries and small island developing States may undertake actions voluntarily and on the basis of support. Mitigation actions subsequently taken and envisaged by Non-Annex I Parties, including national inventory reports, shall be communicated through national communications consistent with Article 12.1(b) every two years on the basis of guidelines to be adopted by the Conference of the Parties. Those mitigation actions in national communications or otherwise communicated to the Secretariat will be added to the list in appendix II. Mitigation actions taken by Non-Annex I Parties will be subject to their domestic measurement, reporting and verification the result of which will be reported through their national communications every two years. Non-Annex I Parties will communicate information on the implementation of their actions through National Communications, with provisions for international consultations and analysis under clearly defined guidelines that will ensure that national sovereignty is respected. Nationally appropriate mitigation actions seeking international support will be recorded in a registry along with relevant technology, finance and capacity building support. Those actions supported will be added to the list in appendix II. These supported nationally appropriate mitigation actions will be subject to international measurement, reporting and verification in accordance with guidelines adopted by the Conference of the Parties.


6.   We recognize the crucial role of reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation and the need to enhance removals of greenhouse gas emission by forests and agree on the need to provide positive incentives to such actions through the immediate establishment of a mechanism including REDD-plus, to enable the mobilization of financial resources from developed countries.


7.   We decide to pursue various approaches, including opportunities to use markets, to enhance the cost-effectiveness of, and to promote mitigation actions. Developing countries, especially those with low emitting economies should be provided incentives to continue to develop on a low emission pathway.


8.   Scaled up, new and additional, predictable and adequate funding as well as improved access shall be provided to developing countries, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, to enable and support enhanced action on mitigation, including substantial finance to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD-plus), adaptation, technology development and transfer and capacity-building, for enhanced implementation of the Convention. The collective commitment by developed countries is to provide new and additional resources, including forestry and investments through international institutions, approaching USD 30 billion for the period 2010  2012 with balanced allocation between adaptation and mitigation. Funding for adaptation will be prioritized for the most vulnerable developing countries, such as the least developed countries, small island developing States and Africa. In the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation, developed countries commit to a goal of mobilizing jointly USD 100 billion dollars a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries. This funding will come from a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance. New multilateral funding for adaptation will be delivered through effective and efficient fund arrangements, with a governance structure providing for equal representation of developed and developing countries. A significant portion of such funding should flow through the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund.


9.   To this end, a High Level Panel will be established under the guidance of and accountable to the Conference of the Parties to study the contribution of the potential sources of revenue, including alternative sources of finance, towards meeting this goal.


10.   We decide that the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund shall be established as an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention to support projects, programme, policies and other activities in developing countries related to mitigation including REDD-plus, adaptation, capacitybuilding, technology development and transfer.


11.   In order to enhance action on development and transfer of technology we decide to establish a Technology Mechanism to accelerate technology development and transfer in support of action on adaptation and mitigation that will be guided by a country-driven approach and be based on national circumstances and priorities.


12.   We call for an assessment of the implementation of this Accord to be completed by 2015, including in light of the Conventions ultimate objective. This would include consideration of strengthening the long-term goal referencing various matters presented by the science, including in relation to temperature rises of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

CO2 RANGERS: JUNE 2009 ECO-JUSTICE BULLETIN Volume 2, No. 6

WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY JUNE 5

co2titleimageThis year’s theme for World Environment Day (WED) is Your Planet Needs You! UNite to Combat Climate Change. But too often we are presented with environmental problems without being given the tools to act. WED is about taking action to be a part of the solution. And the Daily “Do Something” Tips are a great start. (UNEP = United Nations Environment Program.)

We can all do our part to protect the planet by using less and acting more. Going green is not as difficult as you might think. Make your WED commitment today. But don’t stop at today and don’t stop here. Try to incorporate all of these into your life as a matter of routine. Get others to do so the same. And get involved!

TO START: Plant a tree! Help achieve UNEP’s Billion Tree Campaign target of planting seven billion trees – one for every person on the planet – by the end of this year! Three billion are planted. Five billion are pledged. On every continent in the world trees can be planted in June, so start your efforts now.

Here is a link to the United Nations web page for World Environment Day which is celebrated on June 5 each year. When you get to the page you will find lots of options for taking action.

Br. Kevin Cawley, Ph.D., Coordinator for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, Edmund Rice Christian Brothers, N.A. and
Edmund Rice International, New York and United Nations
e-mail: kcawley1@mac.com

EDMUND RICE CHRISTIAN BROTHERS NORTH AMERICA

CO2 RANGERS: MARCH 2009 ECO-JUSTICE BULLETIN Volume 2, No.3

FOOD AND ENVIRONMENT

Girls Walking Home from Mass in Tanzania

Girls Walking Home from Mass in Tanzania

This edition follows up on some earlier discussions about sustainable living. We know the concerns rising in the world around food supply have been heightened recently by some agricultural failures and the crash of certain fish stocks. Earlier Bulletins noted the impact that meat production has on the environment. There is a letter here from Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns about the need for control of speculation in the food commodities markets. Links are provided for those who can take some time to explore the issue in more depth. There are some important reports on the United Nations web site on the use of water — we know that over the globe nearly 1 billion people lack access to clean drinking water. A global economic downturn has taken over the news and has of course made almost everyone now living in relative comfort more fearful of economic hardship for years to come. In this atmosphere the call to live sustainably and “go green” in decisions about food, housing and transportation can seem more and more of a challenge. There will be more news in the coming months about the United Nations Climate Conference in December in Copenhagen. Political leaders should be encouraged to support genuinely effective global agreements at this conference. Please keep informed on these important conversations.

Care for the Earth

This Bulletin has tried to inform readers with news appropriate for our North American context while including from time to time additional notes on global issues. The original inspiration for this bulletin was the request for more information on the climate change crisis that began receiving great attention in the past few years. The climate crisis we realize now is only one factor in care for the Earth that we now see as the larger project we all must engage. Edmund Rice Christian Brothers North America and Edmund Rice International together have encouraged me to continue to use this publication to inform and support the readership, which includes Christian Brothers as well as many other interested parties. The discussion now has expanded from an exclusive focus on climate change to a wider concern for care of the Earth and how each of us might take part in this Great Work.

I have excerpted portions of a new report from the United Nations Environment Program in this Bulletin. I hope it can give some background to the discussion and link us to what is happening around the world as we grapple with how to feed the hungry without destroying further the means of producing the food we all need.

The full report “The Environmental Food Crisis: The environment’s role in averting future food crises” can be accessed at www.unep.org. There is a link to the UNEP site on the JPIC website www.edmundriceinternational.org/jpic

Impact of U.S. Commodity Markets on Food Prices

This next section asks for some help in advocating for the poor.
Sign on statement re: excessive speculation in commodity markets

The U.S. Congress is currently considering legislation to curb the rampant speculation in the commodities markets that propelled the drastic rise in the price of basic food staples over the past year. The global economic collapse fueled by Wall Street recklessness makes legislators receptive to important and constructive reform efforts that can wring the excessive speculation out of the commodities markets. Strong anti-speculation measures in the United States would help reduce the volatility of global prices of wheat, rice, corn, and other food staples on world markets because of the large role that U.S. commodity markets have on world prices. The U.S. Congress needs to hear that social justice organizations worldwide want to eliminate speculative bubbles in commodity markets that put food out of reach for hundreds of millions of people.
Please consider signing your organization on to this important letter and passing it on to other that you know are concerned about high food and energy prices around the world. The deadline to sign on is March 8. To sign on, please send the name of the organization, as you would like it to appear in the letter and where the organization is based. Send your sign on to David Kane at dkane@maryknoll.org.

For background information on the issue, please see these background pieces and websites:

Maryknoll
Trade Observatory
Accidental Hunt

David Kane
Associate for Latin America and Economic Justice
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
PO Box 29132
Washington, DC 20017
(202) 832-1780

www.maryknollogc.org

The Environmental Food Crisis: The Environment’s Role In Averting Future Food Crises

Major Findings:

  • The 100-year trend of falling food prices may be at an end, and food prices may increase by 30-50 per cent within decades with critical impacts for those living in extreme poverty spending up to 90 per cent of their income on food. These findings are supported by a recent report from the World Bank stating that if agricultural production is depressed further, food prices may rise.
  • Up to 25 per cent of the world’s food production may become lost due to “environmental breakdowns” by 2050 unless action is taken. Already, cereal yields have stagnated worldwide and fish landings are declining.
  • Today, over one third of the world’s cereals are being used as animal feed, rising to 50 per cent by 2050. Continuing to feed cereals to growing numbers of livestock will aggravate poverty and environmental degradation.
  • The report instead suggests that recycling food wastes and deploying new technologies, aimed at producing biofuels, to produce sugars from discards such as straw and even nutshells could be a key environmentally-friendly alternative to increased use of cereals for livestock.
  • The amount of fish currently discarded at sea – estimated at 30 million tonnes annually – could alone sustain more than a 50 per cent increase in fish farming and aquaculture production, which is needed to maintain per capita fish consumption at current levels by 2050 without increasing pressure on an already stressed marine environment.

Copenhagen Climate Meeting

Climate change emerges as one of the key factors that may undermine the chances of feeding over 9 billion people by 2050. Increasing water scarcities and a rise and spread of invasive pests such as insects, diseases and weeds— may substantially depress yields in the future. This underlines yet another reason why Governments at the UN Climate Change Convention meeting in Copenhagen in some 300 days’ time (December 2009) must agree on a deep and decisive new global deal.

Food Waste

“We need a Green Revolution in a Green Economy but one with a capital G”, says UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. “We need to deal with not only the way the world produces food but the way it is distributed, sold and consumed, and we need a revolution that can boost yields by working with rather than against nature.”

He said the report also shone a light on perhaps one of the least discussed areas—food waste, from the farm and the seas to the supermarket and the kitchen.

“Over half of the food produced today is lost, wasted, or discarded as a result of inefficiency in the human-managed food chain. There is evidence within the report that the world could feed the entire projected population growth alone by becoming more efficient while also ensuring the survival of wild animals, birds and fish on this planet”, he added.

  • Losses and food waste in the United States could be as high as 40-50 per cent, according to some recent estimates. Up to one quarter of all fresh fruits and vegetables in the US is lost between the field and the table.
  • In Australia, it is estimated that food waste makes up half of that
  • country’s landfill. Almost one-third of all food purchased in the United
  • Kingdom every year is not eaten. Food losses in the developing world are also considerable, mainly due to spoilage and pests. For instance, in Africa, the total amount of fish lost through discards, post-harvest loss and spoilage may be around 30 per cent of landings.

Environmental Degradation

Environmental degradation poses a major risk to food production. For instance:
The melting and disappearing glaciers of the mighty Himalayas, linked to climate change, supply water for irrigation for near half of Asia’s cereal production or a quarter of the world production.

Globally, water scarcity may reduce crop yields by up to 12 per cent. Climate change may also accelerate invasive pests of insects, diseases, and weeds, reducing yields by an additional 2-6 per cent worldwide.

Continuing land degradation, particularly in Africa, may reduce yields by another 1-8 per cent. Croplands may be swallowed up by urban sprawl, biofuels, cotton and land degradation by 8-20 per cent by 2050, and yields may become depressed by 5-25 per cent due to pests, water scarcity, and land degradation.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, population growth is projected to increase from the current 770 million to over 1.7 billion in less than 40 years, while also being the continent on the front-line in terms of climate change, land degradation, water scarcity – and conflicts. Unless a major economic, agricultural and investment boom takes place, the situation may become very serious indeed.

Decline in Biodiversity

Increased use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides, increased water use
and cutting down of forests will result in massive decline in biodiversity. Already, nearly 80 per cent of all endangered species are threatened due to agricultural expansion, and Europe has lost over 50 per cent of its farmland birds during the last 25 years of intensification of European farmlands. “Simply ratcheting up the fertilizer and pesticide-led production methods of the 20th Century is unlikely to address the challenge”, says Mr. Steiner. “It will increasingly undermine the critical natural inputs and nature-based services for agriculture such as healthy and productive soils, the water and nutrient recycling of forests, and pollinators such as bees and bats.”

T

he report is being released during the 25th session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum taking place in Nairobi, Kenya from 16-20 February. The meeting’s main focus is on finding solutions to the current environmental, financial, food and energy crises through the emerging concept of a Green Economy. More information can be found online at: www.unep.org/gc/gc25

Encouragement on “Climate Covenant” at Local Level

More Than 350 EU Mayors Sign New Climate ‘Covenant’. By Holly Fox, AP, February 12, 2009. “Mayors from more than 350 cities across Europe signed an EU climate change agreement Tuesday [in Brussels] pledging to cut CO2 by more than 20 percent by 2020. The pact covers urban areas across 23 EU countries and includes cities like London, Paris, and Madrid. Cities in Switzerland, Norway, Ukraine, and Turkey have also signed it, and faraway places — like New York; Buenos Aires, Argentina and Christchurch, New Zealand — also backed the initiative… EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said the plan — called the Covenant of Mayors — will affect 80 million Europeans and will save around 8 billion euros ($10.4 billion) in energy costs. Under the pact, cities commit to ‘go beyond’ a two-year agreement by EU national governments to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, increase energy efficiency by 20% and to increase the use of renewable energy sources to 20% of all energy used by 2020.

Br. Kevin Cawley, Ph.D., Coordinator for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, Edmund Rice Christian Brothers, N.A. and
Edmund Rice International, New York and United Nations
33 Pryer Terrace New Rochelle, New York 10804

Telephone: 914 636 6194 x28
e-mail: kcawley1@mac.com
WEB: http://edmundriceinternational.org/jpic/
mobile 914 260 4512

Vote Earth | Earth Hour Campaign

350.Org: A Guide and Explanation

The notes here are in response to queries from those who are interested in the science behind the efforts to reduce human production of CO2.

Material below taken from website for 350.org http://350.org/

350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth.

Our Mission

Our first job is to make sure everyone knows the target so that our political leaders feel real pressure to act. Reaching 350 ppm will require unprecedented international cooperation. The United Nations is negotiating a treaty that could put the world on a course to solve the climate crisis, but the current plans for the treaty are much too weak to get us back to safety. 350.org will bring millions of new voices to the table, united by our common call to action. Together, we will redefine the possible and rally the world behind the solutions that science and justice demand.

Understanding 350

  • So, what is global warming and what’s the problem anyway?
  • And what does this 350 number even mean?
  • If we’re already past 350, are we all doomed?
  • How do we get the world on track to get to 350?
  • How do we actually reduce carbon emissions to get to 350??
  • Will this thing work? Will world leaders listen?
  • Where did this 350 number come from?
  • Isn’t America the biggest source of the problem? What about China and India?
  • 350 is just a number. Wouldn’t “Climate Emergency” or “Clean Energy Now” be a better call to action?
  • Why another organization–there are already too many things going on!

# So, what is global warming and what’s the problem anyway?

The science is clear: global warming is happening faster than ever and humans are responsible. Global warming is caused by releasing what are called greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The most common greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide. Many of the activities we do every day like turn the lights on, cook food, or heat or cool our homes rely on energy sources like coal and oil that emit carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases. This is a major problem because global warming destabilizes the delicate balance that makes life on this planet possible. Just a few degrees in temperature can completely change the world as we know it, and threaten the lives of millions of people around the world. But don’t give up hope! You can help stop global warming by taking action here at 350.org.

# And what does this 350 number even mean?

350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide–measured in “Parts Per Million” in our atmosphere. 350 PPM–it’s the number humanity needs to get back to as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change.

# If we’re already past 350, are we all doomed?

No. We’re like the patient that goes to the doctor and learns he’s overweight, or his cholesterol is too high. He doesn’t die immediately—but until he changes his lifestyle and gets back down to the safe zone, he’s at more risk for heart attack or stroke. The planet is in its danger zone because we’ve poured too much carbon into the atmosphere, and we’re starting to see signs of real trouble: melting ice caps, rapidly spreading drought. We need to scramble back as quickly as we can to safety.

# How do we get the world on track to get to 350?

We need an international agreement to reduce carbon emissions fast. The United Nations is working on a treaty, which is supposed to be completed in December of 2009 at a conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. But the current plans for the treaty are much too weak to get us back to safety. This treaty needs to put a high enough price on carbon that we stop using so much. It also needs to make sure that poor countries are ensured a fair chance to develop.

# OK, but how do we actually reduce carbon emissions to get to 350?

Make no mistake–getting back to 350 means transforming our world. 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. 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.

# Will this thing work? Will world leaders listen?

Only 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 people will be heard, if it’s loud enough. That’s all of our 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. http://arxiv.org/abs/0804.1126

# 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 many of us at 350.org have worked hard to change U.S. policy—we 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. http://arxiv.org/abs/0804.1126

# 350 is just a number. Wouldn’t “Climate Emergency” or “Clean Energy Now” be a better call to action?

350 translates into many languages–numerals are among the few things most people around the world recognize. More to the point, 350 tells us what we need to do. Far from boring, it’s the most important number in the world. It contains, rightly understood, the recipe for a very different world, one that moves past cheap fossil fuel to more sensible technologies, more closely-knit communities, and a more equitable global society.

# Why another organization–there are already too many things going on!

It’s true; there are lots of organizations and individuals working hard to solve the climate crisis. This is great news–it means that we don’t really need to build a movement from scratch because it’s already bubbling up all over the world. Our hope is that we can shine a spotlight on the work of existing organizations, highlighting everyone’s incredible work and knitting these many efforts together for a powerful and unified call to action–a call that is global, scientific, and specific. By providing a common platform with the 350 target, we can help to stitch together a whole that is truly greater than the sum of its parts, a diverse movement that speaks with one collective voice.

Link: How to Purchase Carbon Offsets

http://www.climatecare.org

There may be some readers who are looking for ways to offset the CO2 produced by air travel.  The link here has been evaluated by reliable third parties for authenticity and integrity. This is one site that can be recommended.  There are other sites for CO2 offsets that offer less expensive alternatives but have not been reviewed.

CARBON RANGERS BULLETIN

SEPTEMBER 2008

This is the first edition of our new Eco-Justice site for North America.  Welcome!

The audience for this site has expanded recently beginning with the Province Chapter for North America in Cornwall, Ontario.  At the Chapter, the brothers committed to living sustainably in light of the clear evidence of the damage to the environment resulting from unsustainable  habits of living that are causing great harm to the earth  and great suffering to the poor.  The theory of rising human influence on climate endures.  This site responds to the need for regular information for those who wish to learn how to live in a more sustainable way.

Some encouragement and some direction can be expected.  Some global perspective and some suggestions for local action will be included each month.  Please continue to pray for local and national leaders who will place care of the earth in the forefront of concerns.

Website for local action:

www.earth911.org

Some perspective on global warming:

Realclimate.org

Climatepolicy.org

Climateethics.org

United Nations Environment Program

Article on How the Pope is Saving the Earth in the Los Angeles Times of July 14, 2008

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