Watching CO2 levels

Current CO2 Level in the Earth's Atmosphere

I just came across the rather disturbing chart below showing CO2 levels in the atmosphere at CO2NOw, and a link to a widget showing current CO2 levels – see above. (350ppm is considered to be the ‘safe’ level by the way).

Published by Michael McGee, a government worker in Canada, who makes no claims about being an expert, he has though put together an outline plan of how to solve global warming. As a plan, it’s one of the simplest to understand that I have come across.

To summarise he says:

    1. Face Atmospheric Reality
    2. We need a science-based target for safe levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.
    3. We need to see the effort to get to Safe CO2 as universally urgent
    4. We need a milestone target for Peak CO2
    5. We need to rewire the world economy with alternative energy and get our emissions as close to zero as possible
    6. Unleash human ingenuity everywhere
    7. Prepare for some of earth’s biggest parties (because it’ll require co-operation on a global level)
    8. Repeat for the other greenhouse gases

More on the data:

The world’s most current data for atmospheric CO2 comes from measurements at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. These high-precision measurements were started by Dave Keeling in March 1958, now published by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) within a week after each month ends. Measurements are taken with high precision instruments at a remote location where CO2 is well mixed in the atmosphere, more than two miles above sea level.

The data shown here is a link to the heart of the global warming problem and the key to the solution. The data is not processed or adjusted. There is practically no time delay. There are no words and no spin doctors between you and what is happening in the atmosphere. Pure and simple, the data is an objective measurement of atmospheric reality, virtually in real time.

When CO2 is rising in the atmosphere, we can expect global warming and climate change trends to worsen. When CO2 stabilizes and declines, we will know that humanity is actually on track to solve the related problems of global warming and climate change. It is not enough for the data to be speaking, we need to pay attention, and know what is going on.

Current chart and data for atmospheric CO2

Turn your lights off for one Earth Hour

This is pretty cool. Turn your lights off on Saturday at 8.30pm for Earth Hour a global initiative from WWF to get 1 billion people to ‘vote with their lights’ and show support for the planet.

Over 500 cities and 75 countries have already signed up. Athens will be switching lights off at the Acropolis, and the Empire State Building joins the list of landmarks switching off for Earth Hour.

The reason?

In December 2009 world leaders meet in Copenhagen to agree on a post-Kyoto policy for tackling climate change. One billion people voting with their light switch during Earth Hour will create a powerful mandate for our leaders to take strong and decisive action on climate change in Copenhagen.

Here’s some more on it:

…people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009.

This meeting will determine official government policies to take action against global warming, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol. It is the chance for the people of the world to make their voice heard.

Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008 the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness.

In 2009, Earth Hour is being taken to the next level, with the goal of 1 billion people switching off their lights as part of a global vote. Unlike any election in history, it is not about what country you’re from, but instead, what planet you’re from. VOTE EARTH is a global call to action for every individual, every business, and every community. A call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet. Over 74 countries and territories have pledged their support to VOTE EARTH during Earth Hour 2009, and this number is growing everyday.

We all have a vote, and every single vote counts. Together we can take control of the future of our planet, for future generations.

VOTE EARTH by simply switching off your lights for one hour, and join the world for Earth Hour.

Saturday, March 28, 8:30-9:30pm.

You can see more on U-tube.

Age of Stupid: climate change film premieres

This Sunday sees the launch of The Age of Stupid, the new UK eco-film which has already won several awards and excellent reviews:

“the first successful dramatisation of climate change to reach the big screen”

Starring oscar nominated Pete Postlethwaite as a man living alone in the devastated future world of 2055, looking at old footage from 2008 and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?

A People’s Premiere screens in venues from Plymouth to Inverness, via The Eden Project, and a solar-powered cinema tent pitched in Leicester Square, it is expected to be the world’s largest Premiere, screened at the same time from 60 UK venues. As well as the film, there will be a live link to the main Premiere in London where you can see the stars on the eco carpet.

I’m off to see it at a screen in London – you can find more details about the film, and where to see it, here: www.ageofstupid.net

Founder of the Transition Town movement, Rob Hopkins, will introduce the Eden Project Premiere, while the Fulham Vue cinema is hosting a special Youth Premiere for under-18s, organised by WeCAN, with teenage speakers and action packs to take away.

On the night Pete Postlethwaite will launch the Not Stupid campaign, with the start of a giant countdown marking the remaining days, hours & minutes until the Copenhagen Climate Summit in December. Copenhagen is being called ‘the most important meeting in human history’ as it is where the successor to the Kyoto Treaty must be finalised. Not Stupid is an epic mission to turn 250 million viewers into climate activists, all focused on making sure the deal agreed at Copenhagen is both just and truly as strong as the science demands.

Making Mother’s Day Meaningful

I don’t know about you but I always struggle with what to get my mum for Mother’s Day, (22nd March this year in case you’d forgotten). Most years she gets a hasty card and sometimes flowers, but I always wish I could come up with something more original, and not just send something for the sake of it.

This time, I’m determined to get her something more thoughtfully chosen, that’s more meaningful and more eco friendly (of course). I’ve found some responsibly grown flowers from Arena Flowers (look for the FFP green label), or I might give her one of our orange trees, or even a sun jar.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on making Mother’s Day meaningful, and what you’re giving your mum.

Ways to Save the Planet

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There’s a great series on TV at the moment: Ways to Save the Planet, Sundays 7pm on the Discovery Channel. My friend, and fellow Brighton resident, David Herman produced the series, so I urge you to watch it.

As climate change and the effects of global warming appear to be moving much faster than we thought, the only thing left might be geo-engineering: using technology to fix the problem. Huge, ambitious projects are being conceived, like putting mirrors in space to reflect the sun’s rays, that could actually save us. Opinion is divided amongst environmentalists though, as to whether these projects could work, or which are the right ones to pursue.

And either way, we can’t afford to carry on regardless with our unsustainable ways.

The Discovery series features some fairly out there geo-engineering proposals:

Is a vast, high-tech blanket enough to save an icecap from melting? Can we bomb the planet’s forests back to life? Could a beam of energy free us from fossil fuels? Ways to Save the Planet joins a team of the world’s most prominent scientists and engineers as they identify and put to the test a selection of highly ambitious and cutting edge proposals from the field of geo-engineering.

Highlights include:

  • Dr. Jason Box, a glaciologist from Ohio State University, wants to prevent glaciers from melting by covering them with blankets that will reflect the powerful rays of the sun
  • Professor Roger Angel of the University of Arizona, has put forward a radical idea to put specially engineered lenses into space in order to deflect 1.8% of the Sun’s rays.
  • Scientist Mark Hodges believes he has devised a way to reforest large areas of Earth from the air.
  • Engineer Fred Ferguson has developed a lighter-than-air tethered wind turbine that rotates about a horizontal axis in response to wind, generating electrical energy.
  • Professors Latham and Salter propose to spray fine droplets of seawater into clouds and thus slow down global warming by increasing cloud’s reflectivity by 10%.
  • Alongside the series, you can win a year’s green electricity from Ecotricity at www.discoverychannel.co.uk/planetinperil.

    Prepare to be inspired and let me know what you think.

    How Much We Earn

    Not that this relates much to anything eco, I just got sent some interesting info by one of our suppliers (thanks Jim), and I thought I’d pass it on:

    I stumbled across a couple of interesting articles recently.

    The first was linked to a program that BBC2 made last year which divided Britain’s workers into 10 different pay brackets, which gave rise to some quite curious comparisons. Here are some examples:

    Salary less than £10k – Cleaners, Hairdressers
    Salary £10k – £20k – Checkout staff, Farmers, Mortuary Assistants
    Salary £20k – £30k – Vicars, Nurses, Rabbis, Carpenters, MI5 agents
    Salary £30k – £40k – RAF pilots, Vets, Pole Dancers, Bishops, Police constables, Black cab drivers, Paramedics.

    Apparently the average UK salary is £24,907, but two thirds of the population earn less than this.

    Then today I found an article online which gives the actual salaries of specific individuals, right across the pay spectrum and in all walks of life.

    Here are a few examples:

    Street Performer, Covent Garden – £25k
    Floor Manager, Borders Books – £21k
    Simon Cowell, TV judge and music exec. – £18million
    Chorus girl in Fame musical, London’s West End – £27k
    Catherine Zeta Jones, Actress – £5million + £1million sponsorship
    Journalist, Sunday Times – £350k
    Film company production manager – £31k
    Fashion Assistant, FHM Magazine – £16k
    PE teacher, Aldershop – £22k
    Jenson Button, F1 driver – £12.5million
    Darren Clarke, Golfer – £2.9million
    The Queen – £7.9million
    Royal Footman – £11.2k
    Secretary of State – £114k
    Head chef, Berkshire – £35k
    Freelance body piercer – £30k
    Assistant fashion buyer for high street chain – £26k
    Bra fitter, Rigby & Peller – £18k
    Tattoo artist, Soho, London – £17k
    Liberty Ross, Model and face of Ungaro – £2million
    Aerobics instructor, David Lloyd leisure, Hants – £13.5k
    Postman – £16.2k
    Elephant keeper – £16.5k
    Antiques dealer, Portobello Rd, London – £43k
    Office manager, London Underground – £32k
    IT support manager, Birmingham – £29.5k
    Barrister, London – £766k
    Detective Inspector, transport police – £39k
    DHL delivery Man – £29.5k
    Economics professor, Bristol – £42k
    AA roadside mechanic, Manchester – £22k
    Chief Executive, NHS – £195k
    Paramedic – £22k

    Makes you think!

    Image courtesy of Newsweek