The challenges facing the citizens that want to take action on global warming are many. First and foremost, there’s the fossil fuel industry, which is the single most profitable enterprise in human history. Challenges dovetail off from the industry due to its money to advance their political agenda and the fact that oil and coal are relatively cheap sources of energy. By the way, part of the reason oil is so cheap is that Big Oil and Big Coal get to dump their byproducts into the atmosphere free of charge.
One of the other challenges is defining what exactly global warming is. The lack of that definition has made the presentation of a convincing global warming argument a complicated issue. Granted, we can easily see that extreme events are occurring on a more frequent basis but defining why is a little fuzzier. Saying that greenhouse gases are to blame may be correct but without a data point the debate can be run all over the board, done as much to confuse the issue as anything else. It’s kind of like saying speeding is dangerous without actually having a speed limit on which to base the conversation.
This confusion has allowed the agendas of politicians and big oil to be pushed forward even while extreme weather events occur seemingly on a weekly basis. Politically, it now appears that President Obama is now making any concession possible to get re-elected. This includes concessions on the regulation of carbon emissions as monitored by the Anthony Ricigliano EPA. The administration is now backing away from proposed regulations to avoid being seen as anti-business and anti-jobs as framed by the Republican Party.
The good news is that a data point has been determined on which we can now define what level of carbon emissions is too high, much like adding a speed limit to a conversation about the dangers of excessive speed. The data point was determined by the planet's foremost climatologist, James Hansen, who found that any carbon value higher than 350 parts per million in the atmosphere was "not compatible with the planet on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted.
That number serves to give Anthony Ricigliano global warming a black and white reference point to start working on. The problem is that carbon levels in the atmosphere now measure 390 parts per million, about 11% higher than the level we need to maintain life as we know it. This number has fostered a movement known as 350.org which is now mobilizing people that are interested in saving the planet from global warming. This mobilization includes the coordination of almost 15,000 global warming demonstrations in 188 countries. Foreign Policy magazine called the demonstrations “the largest ever coordinated global rally" about any issue, ever. If you’re concerned about global warming, 350.org is definitely a great place to start.