Fifty months to go

The clock is ticking. This alarming claim reminds of a even more disturbing figure: fifty months to the climate tipping point, after which, according to climate change experts, the world will pass the fatal threshold of 2° Celsius of global temperature increase.

Fifty months are the half term of the One Hundred Months campaign launched in 2008 by New Economics Foundation (NEF), to address climate change by involving all the different components of society. Politicians, businessmen, think thank representatives, and citizens are invited to take part in this extreme attempt to stop the slippery slope of global warming.

According to the climatologists of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) the limit of 2° is the maximum acceptable figure beyond which negative fallouts will be unmanageable. If the concentration of greenhouse gases would exceed 400 parts per million (ppm), laying to a global warming of 2° Celsius, we wouldn’t be able to stabilise the global mean surface temperature, which is still possible if we act now.

The hundred-month figure is probably more marketing than actual science, as the fact checking blog Carbon Brief points out; in fact, climate forecasting is normally done on a larger scale. Thus, there is probably a gap between facts and campaign claim, though pretty small.

However, the idea of a countdown is effective and the entire campaign, based on viral communication strategy, portraits the aim of involving people with different backgrounds and lifestyles. In general, I really like this project’s smart use of the internet as a mash up tool, capable of creating communities both online and in the streets. The Guardian covered the campaign as well, since its start in 2008, and recently provided a number of features and interactive tools about it.

I admit I don’t particularly appreciate the constant ticking sound in the official website. It’s impossible to turn it off, to netiquette’s dismay. Anyway, I think it was done on purpose to put a little pressure on users.

In these days, London was the scene of several initiatives within the campaign’s half term. In Southbank, on the 1st of October, the Southbank Centre hosted a 5×15 event: five speakers give a talk of 15 minutes each. The format, which echoes a TED talk, made this event particularly attractive for a large public. I was there for Monbiot, but I actually enjoyed all the talks.

Protagonists of the night were Giles Fraser, former Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, Guardian columnist George Monbiot, Prof Kevin Anderson, Head of Climate Change & Energy Research and Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, as well as Saci Lloyd, author of ‘The Carbon Diaries’.

Here you can see some highlights of the event.

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