Our Children's Trust bases its work on current climate science.
The scientific community widely recognizes that CO2 is increasing in our atmosphere, and that it is having dramatic effects on our climate. Current science tells us that reducing atmospheric CO2 levels from over 400 parts per million ("ppm") to below 350 ppm is necessary to restore the Earth’s energy balance and to stabilize our climate system. We must do this soon if we are to leave a sustainable planet to our children and grandchildren. The longer we wait, the more drastic the consequences our children will face.
WHY 350PPM AND 1°C
To limit warming to even 1.5°C is not a safe target. All of our experts & United States government witnesses in Juliana v. US say that we are currently in the "danger zone” and an "emergency situation” with already 1°C of heating.
Allowing the planet to heat another .5 or 1°C is not safe for humanity, our collective children, island nations, or so many other species. We will irreversibly lose our ice sheets & the world’s island & coastal communities & entire ways of life if we set 1.5 or 2°C as our target.
Read more about Why 350
RECENT CLIMATE REPORTS
CLIMATE SCIENCE MUST INFORM LEGAL STANDARDS OF PROTECTION AND POLICY-MAKING
To understand how the climate science intertwines with our legal actions, take a look at the Declaration Dr. Hansen filed in our case now pending at the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. Read Dr. Hansen's Declaration here.
CLIMATE SCIENCE SUMMARY
Policies Must Be Based on 350 ppm and 1 Degree Celsius to Protect Young People and Future Generations
The Best Climate Science Provides a Prescription for Restoring the Atmosphere, Stabilizing the Climate System, and Protecting the Oceans from Acidification and Warming. It Requires Us to Return Atmospheric CO2 Levels to Below 350 ppm by 2100.
In order to protect our planet’s climate system and vital natural resources on which human survival and welfare depend, and to ensure that young people’s and future generations’ fundamental and inalienable human rights are protected, government climate pollution policies must be based on the best available climate science. There are numerous scientific bases for setting 350 parts per million (ppm) as the uppermost safe limit for atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations.
First, returning CO2 concentration to below 350 ppm would restore the energy balance of Earth and allow as much heat to escape into space as Earth retains, which has kept our planet in the sweet spot for humans and other species to thrive.
Second, CO2 levels exceeding 350 ppm are creating a planet warmer than humans have ever lived in and are disrupting the physical and biological systems in which human civilization has developed. The consequences of even 1 degree Celsius of warming will be significant for humanity, but scientists believe we can preserve our ice sheets and most of our shorelines and ecosystems if we limit long-term warming to no more than 1 degree Celsius (short-term warming will inevitably exceed 1 degree Celsius but must exceed 1 degree Celsius for only a minimal amount of time). If we allow sustained global average temperature increases of more than 1 degree Celsius, we will suffer irreversible climate destabilization and a planet largely inhospitable to human civilization.
Third, marine animals, including coral reefs, cannot tolerate the acidifying and warming of our ocean waters that results from increased CO2 levels, 30% of which is absorbed by the oceans. At 400 ppm CO2, coral reefs and shellfish are rapidly declining and will be irreversibly compromised if we do not quickly reverse course.
All government policies regarding greenhouse gas/CO2 pollution and de/reforestation worldwide should be aimed at 350 ppm by 2100. Fortunately, it is still not only technically and economically feasible to get there, but transitioning to renewable energy sources will provide significant economic and public health benefits and improve the quality of lives. But time is running out. We cannot continue to base life and death policies on politics rather than science. Read more here for details and references to the science that should govern policies that protect, rather than condemn, the future of humanity and other species on the planet. If we want our children and grandchildren to have a safe planet to live on, full of biodiversity and not chaos and conflict, we will heed the best science we have on how to stop the destruction of our only planet’s atmosphere, climate, and oceans.
Ideal for youth and adults, FISH TANK, by Scott Bischke, is an insightful allegory about the human condition, tackling issues of politics and power, limited resources and climate change. It is now available on Amazon, and by purchasing it through the OCT website, you'll help our campaign. Kids need to know this stuff too!
LIST OF SCIENCE RESOURCES
The Union of Concerned Scientists maintains a great list of some of the most current climate science.