350 ppm (parts per million) of c02 in the atmosphere – the level we are being urged to cut our emissions to – is not a randomly picked number: it is scientifically proven that aiming to cap our emissions at anything higher than 350ppm, say above 400ppm, would lead to run-away climate change from which positive feedback loops would occur, pumping stored C02 into the atmosphere – eventually leading the a mass extinction of life and inducing devastating affects on humans.
In his book ‘Six degrees – Life on a hotter planet’ Mark Lynas explains that aiming to cut our emissions by 90%, by making sure they peak then begin to fall in the next 6 years, is essential if we are going to keep global temperatures at no more than 2 degrees above the current global average: the agreed stable level. This may be difficult to achieve, but if we do not , the average global temperature will rise even higher and, above the 2 degree threshold, the planet is very likely to lapse into a ‘meltdown’ of which we have no control over.
I believe that Capitalism, especially in its evolution into Consumer Capitalism, cannot arrive us at this safe point. We need a ‘sea change’ in our perceptions of how we should live upon this planet.
From the perspective of the governments of the developed nations, and the representatives of the large Corporations, Copenhagen is merely about getting the best deal for Capitalism to continue ‘business as usual’. It doesn’t matter if this is to the detriment of millions; these advocates of pure Capitalism are blind to any other way forward. However, Capitalism cannot co-exist with a stabilised global temperature of 2 degrees above the current global average; one has to give-way, but which one will it be?
Location: George Yard, Barnsley
(Chernobyl photos – James Pierce)