Posted by: JohnnyRook | December 12, 2008

Gore at Poznan Calls for CO2 Target of 350ppm: Draws Major Applause

Bill McKibben of wrote the following a few hours ago at the Daily Kos web site about Al Gore’s speech earlier today at the UN Climate Conference in Poznan.

Al Gore just finished giving his long-awaited speech at the Poznan climate conference, and it was a doozy. The most important part of the talk: He said that negotiators need to abandon the old standard that has driven talks for the last decade–450 ppm co2–and substitute instead the year-old number provided by NASA scientist Jim Hansen. Our little crew at here has just pounded out the press release below, and i’ll update with video soon: Please feel free to spread this important news:

Gore Sets New Bottom Line for Climate Efforts: Launches Global Day of Action

POZNAN: Al Gore gave the international climate talks in Poznan a new set of marching orders this afternoon, declaring that old targets for fighting global warming had been made obsolete by new science and that 350 parts per million C02 was the new standard for which the world must aim.

“Even a goal of 450 parts per million, which seems so difficult today, is inadequate,” said Gore, adding, we “need to toughen that goal to 350 parts per million.”

The number itself is less than a year old–NASA scientist James Hansen first set it as a goal in a scientific paper last winter. But in the months since, a global effort led by has spread the goal with rallies and demonstrations on every continent.

“Our efforts reached a new level this afternoon, when Al Gore changed the decade-old goal for a new climate agreement,” said co-founder Bill McKibben. “The world now has a new target, one that negotiators must figure out how to meet by next year in Copenhagen if those talks are to be a success.” also used the occasion to announce an international day of action to spread the number next October 24, with events planned from high in the Himalayas to undersea on the Great Barrier Reef. “We need to take this movement for survival to the farthest reaches of the planet,” said Ely Katembo, organizer from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “We’re talking to everyone, from wired teenagers in Europe to Masaii tribesman on the plains of Kenya.”

The response to Gore’s remarks highlighted growing international acceptance of the goal–his call for a 350 target drew the longest applause of his speech.

“Actions are already streaming into the website from Norway, Korea, Ecuador, and more” says Jon Warnow, web strategist for the project. “16 years ago, when the Kyoto protocol was debated, this sort of campaign wouldn’t have been possible. Now, with the internet, we have the tools we need to organize at the scale of the problem we face.”

A variety of international voices spoke out in support of’s call to action. International human rights icon, Desmond Tutu, called the campaign, “an effective way to take action to turn around the climate crisis.” Leading United Kingdom environmental author, George Monbiot wrote, “This is a great initiative, which all those who care about the future of humanity should support.” More “350 Messengers” are displayed on the website.

“A year ago, nobody had ever heard of 350. But it turns out it’s the most important number on the planet,” said McKibben. “If people around the world know nothing else about global warming, we need them to understand that 350 represents a kind of safety—if we can get that message across, then they’ll demand dramatic action from their leaders.”

Related Post:

U.K. Scientist Reiterates: Climate Targets Are Too Low



  1. I agree, this is the most important news I’ve heard out of Poznan. I took this position twenty years ago, or something like it, when I wrote the BC Green Party of British Columbia climate policy. I said we were going to work toward returning the composition of the atmosphere to the preindustrial level of 280 ppm. I never understood how people could decide that 550 ppm or 450 ppm was somehow “safe” just because in a civilization that seems like it is determined to commit suicide those targets looked somehow achieveable as opposed to stabilization at 350 ppm which, duh, sounds quite hard as it involves stabilizing as soon as possible and removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

    When Hansen announced in December 2007 that he had realized that anything more than 350 ppm was a “recipe for global disaster” for the first time scientists were willing to sign off on statements more in line with how they felt inside for all these years. Still, people talking about climate talks and Copenhagen targets of 450 ppm or 2 degrees C seemed surreal to me. It was getting so weird that people denying Hansen’s work sticking to their idea that 450 ppm was a legitimate target were telling the world the deniers were the people who didn’t believe in climate change, when their own denial was very similar.

    So its a good day. Gore is helping legitimize Hansen’s work. He’s helping people face the fact that the “dangerous” climate change they’ve been working to try to help civilization avoid is already built into the planetary system. Its always better to face the truth than to live on in denial. We’ll never get anywhere unless we know where we have to go.

  2. This post will help lot of bloggers

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