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Environmentalists Renew Call to Reduce GHGs to 350 PPM

On the first day of United Nations climate change talks in Tianjin, China, environmentalists released a report calling for world leaders to commit to lowering global atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to 350 parts per million.

The 350 ppm goal has become something of a rallying cry for environmentalists — so much so that one group, 350.org, has been formed specifically to advocate it. Many scientists say that countries must commit to lowering CO2 levels from 392 ppm to 350 ppm to avoid catastrophic climate change.

But it seems unlikely that countries will commit to such a goal any time soon, given that talks in Tianjin, as well as December talks in Cancun, are not expected to result in a binding climate treaty. The report, released by the Center for Biological Diversity and 350.org, acknowledges that reducing emissions to these levels could be an uphill battle:

There are viable options now to begin achieving this ambitious goal but enacting them will require bold, willful steps from world leaders.

Nonetheless, the environmentalists are calling for the adoption of a plan put forward by climate scientist and activist James Hansen.

The 350-ppm-by-2100 plan can be achieved by reducing global greenhouse gas pollution to 42 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. It also requires dramatic reductions in fossil fuel emissions; carbon sequestration; and an end to large-scale deforestation.

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