The earth is doomed unless we do more to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Head of the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, James Hansen, told the EU that their 550 parts per million of C02 was simply not good enough, and should be slashed down to 350 ppm. Europe’s 550 ppm target is already the world’s most rigorous, with countries like the US and China not even coming close to this figure. Hansen is convinced that levels need to be drastically reduced if, "humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed".
The new figure of 350 ppm is a number that scientists have developed after dredging up large amounts of muddy crap from the bottom of the ocean to study the levels of Co2 present in it. What they found was that 35 million years ago, at the beginning of the ice age, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was about 450ppm.
The new study shows that at levels as high as 550ppm, the world would warm up by six degrees centigrade, three degrees warmer than previous studies had estimated.
The previously low estimates were the fault of what Hansen calls " slow feedback" mechanisms which magnify the rise in temperature caused by increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases. To put it more simply, when ice and snow melts, they leave uncovered earth which absorbs even more heat. So, as the world’s glaciers and ice shelves melt, the warming effect is compounded.
Hansen says “What we have found is that the target we have all been aiming for is a disaster - a guaranteed disaster”. The cheerful fellow added, “If we follow business as usual I can't see how west Antarctica could survive a century. We are talking about a sea-level rise of at least a couple of meters this century"