As the 2011 climate summit concluded on Sunday, December 11 in Durban, South Africa, participants agreed to work toward a legally binding agreement, which would be written by 2015 and come into effect after 2020.
Meanwhile, however, some scientists and environmental organizations have cautioned that current government pledges to reduce emissions would not be enough to prevent even a 2-degree global temperature rise, and that more urgent actions would be needed.
Moreover, a new study by Dr. James Hansen and colleagues states that the 2-degree goal, which is equivalent to around 450 parts per million of carbon dioxide concentration, is a "prescription for long term disaster" as it points out that a current concentration of nearly 389 parts per million is already causing climate feedbacks to occur.
In a recent presentation to the American Society of Geophysicists in California, Dr. Hansen, who is the director of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies, stated, "We should be aiming to keep CO2 no higher than about 350 parts per million and possibly somewhat less.
That is probably necessary if we want to maintain stable ice sheets and shorelines and avoid many other issues." He went on to warn against allowing emissions to continue to increase, citing paleoclimate records showing that 50 million years ago, when CO2 reached 560 parts per million, the ice at both poles disappeared and the Earth's sea levels were 70 meters higher than they are today.
Dr. Hansen stated, “If we want to maintain a planet that looks like the one humanity has known, then we're basically out of time. We have got to start reducing emissions.”
Thank you, Dr. James Hansen, for your insightful research indicating a more realistic threshold of climate safety. May such calls inspire leaders and individuals alike toward rapid changes to preserve our planet.
In a December 2010 interview in Cancún, Mexico with Encadena TV, Supreme Master Ching Hai expressed her concern about scientific projections on rising temperatures, while indicating humanity's most urgently needed countermeasures.
Sources: Independent, Scientific American, Guardian, RT.com, Seattle PI