(SAN DIEGO) U.S. Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) told hundreds of environmental activists Saturday that he would ask President Obama to go to Copenhagen and seek agreement with other global leaders on the need to reduce the level of carbon-dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere to 350 parts per million.
Filner spoke by teleconference to members and guests of Citizens Climate Lobby who were participating in events marking the International Day of Climate Action. The CCL gatherings were among more than 4,000 events held throughout the world Saturday that called upon policy-makers to target 350 ppm as the limit of CO2 necessary to keep global temperatures from rising to catastrophic levels. The events were organized by the climate action group 350.org.
Filner announced that he and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) will circulate a letter in the House of Representatives next week calling upon the President to lead other nations toward acceptance of the 350 ppm target.
"By agreeing to the goal of 350 ppm," Filner said in the letter, "nations will craft the policies and solutions to meet this challenge, just as America once met the challenge of sending a human being to the moon. And by meeting this challenge we will allow our children and grandchildren to inherit the kind of world that we ourselves have been so blessed to enjoy."
Marshall Saunders, Founder and President of Citizens Climate Lobby, urged those taking part in climate action events to contact their members of Congress and ask them to sign on to Filner's letter.
"The goal of averting the devastating effects of climate change has a number associated with it," said Saunders, "a number we ignore at our own peril: 350. Global leaders can negotiate with one another, but humanity cannot negotiate with the earth's climate. It will not compromise. We must yield or face the wrath of nature.
The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere now stands at 389 ppm and is climbing two parts a year. Leading climate scientist Dr. James Hansen has said the level of CO2 must be brought down to 350 ppm or lower "if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted."