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Seth Borenstein, science writer at the Associated Press AP has just written about the troubling new milestone of 400ppm reached in the Arctic air due to heavy concentration of C02,  the main global warming pollutant.  

Monitoring stations across the Arctic this spring are measuring more than 400 parts per million of the heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere. The number isn't quite a surprise, because it's been rising at an accelerating pace. Years ago, it passed the 350 ppm mark that many scientists say is the highest safe level for carbon dioxide. It now stands globally at 395.

So far, only the Arctic has reached that 400 level, but the rest of the world will follow soon.

C02 carbon dioxide is the chief greenhouse gas and stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years.  Some C02 is natural from decaying dead plants and animals.  Before the industrial age C02 levels were around 275ppm parts per million.

Until now.

The Arctic is the leading indicator in global warming, both in carbon dioxide in the air and effects, said Pieter Tans, a senior NOAA scientist.


"It's an important threshold," said Carnegie Institution ecologist Chris Field, a scientist who helps lead the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "It is an indication that we're in a different world."

The verdicts are coming in with indictments of our politics and political leaders.  If governments can not address the most dangerous crisis ever faced by our planet we need to mobilize to make them do it.
"The news today, that some stations have measured concentrations above 400 ppm in the atmosphere, is further evidence that the world's political leaders — with a few honorable exceptions — are failing catastrophically to address the climate crisis," former Vice President Al Gore, the highest-profile campaigner against global warming, said in an email. "History will not understand or forgive them."
It's becoming unlikely that the world can achieve the goal of limiting global warming to just 2 degrees based on increasing pollution and greenhouse gas levels without rapid intervention.  As mentioned above C02 remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years so even if we went C02 neutral today there would still be the remaining current level in the atmosphere spiraling us toward tipping points and runaway climate change.

From eminent climate scientist James Hansen

The lasting effects of CO2 also have big implications for energy policies, argues James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies. "Because of this long CO2 lifetime, we cannot solve the climate problem by slowing down emissions by 20% or 50% or even 80%. It does not matter much whether the CO2 is emitted this year, next year, or several years from now," [..]
There has been some activity to address the warming planet with our very slow transition to green energy.   This has to be done and we need to speed it up.  We must stop spewing  C02 into our atmosphere!  But as mentioned above this alone will not stop runaway climate change due to the lifespan of C02 in our atmosphere. Hansen and other scientists have been advocating (pdf) for the rapid removal of the shorter-lived climate polluters of Methane, Black Carbon and Tropospheric Ozone.  

The greatest source (pdf) of the short-lived climate pollutants of Methane, Black Carbon and Tropospheric Ozone is livestock production.   This gives us all an opportunity to be a part of the solution to climate change by simply reducing/eliminating our consumption of meat/livestock.

“an individual action, multiplied by millions, creates global change.”
― Jack Johnson

Originally posted to DK GreenRoots on Thu May 31, 2012 at 07:53 AM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Hawks and Meatless Advocates Meetup.

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