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James Hansen to the G8: We've passed safe C02 levels





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Cross-posted on The Huffington Post

On the eve the annual G8 Summit where NASA's Dr. James Hansen will announce that we've passed safe C02 levels (safe being maximum 350 ppm; we're now at 385 ppm), Hansen has penned a comprehensive letter (PDF) to Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, host of the G8 Summit, requesting his leadership in addressing his findings:
Dear Prime Minister [Fukuda],

Your leadership, and continued leadership by Japan, is needed on the matter of climate change, a matter with ramifications for life on our planet, including all species. Prospects for today’s children, and especially the world’s poor, hinge upon success in stabilizing climate. ~snip~

Japan has been a strong supporter of actions to mitigate dangerous climate change, including the Kyoto Protocol. It is not Japan’s fault that international action has failed so far to slow emission of dangerous gases. But as the host for the upcoming G8 meeting, you can initiate discussion of an approach that could meet the challenge humanity faces.

The past approach, and extensions now under discussion, are fatally flawed and would doom our children and grandchildren to an increasingly impoverished life on a more desolate planet. Clear thinking and bold leadership of the international community are essential in the next 1-2 years to change the course of human history.
The letter, which includes extensive supporting data, opens with current climate status: the loss of sea ice, the approaching tipping points, the effects on people and wildlife, the unstoppable sea level rise, shifting of climate zones, species extinctions, loss of glaciers, water supply for hundreds of millions, droughts and forest fires, rains and floods, intensified thunderstorms, tornadoes and tropical storms.

My address tomorrow to the United Nations University G8 Symposium summarizes scientific data revealing that the safe level of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is no more than 350 ppm (parts per million), and is likely less than that. Implications for energy policy are profound, as atmospheric CO2 is already 385 ppm.
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