Planet Earth Weekly

Climate Change and Renewable Energy: Saving Our Planet for Future Generations

The Science of 350: What You Should Know!

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Earth's temperature has risen 0.8 degrees Celsius since the late 1880s

What is the danger level of CO2 in our atmosphere?

By Lin Smith

“A different world cannot be built by indifferent people.”

Nelson Mandela

The Science of 350

May 4, 2014—I wrote an article on January 20, 2014 titled, “The Science of 350: How Much CO2 is in our Atmosphere.” In this article I stated, “Scientists say that 350 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in our atmosphere is a safe limit, and unless we rapidly return to below 350ppm this century, we risk reaching tipping points and irreversible impacts, such as continued melting of the Greenland ice sheet and major methane release from increased permafrost melt.”

Protecting the Future of Our Planet

James Hansen, former NASA employee, is a forerunner in warning the planet of eminent danger. In his article,”Dangerous Climate Change: Required Reduction of Carbon Emissons to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature”, published December 2013, along with his Columbia University colleagues, he again warns that the CO2 we are producing today will remain in our atmosphere for a millenia–yes, 1000 years! The Arctic Sea Ice has decreased, along with a decrease in its thickness, melting several hundred cubic kilometers per year and accelerating yearly. Also, mountain glaciers are growing smaller and subtropical climate belts are expanding, contributing to an increase in wildfires. Mr. Hansen states that we need to rethink what a dangerous level of CO2 is in our atmosphere, that the current level of CO2 is at the danger level, which has caused a rise in temperature of approximately 1 degree Celsius in the past 100 years. Sea levels are rising at the rate of 3.2 mm/ per year and cities are already planning to build flood walls to resist the rising seas.

Hansen predicts the earth will continue to warm at an accelerated rate in the coming years. He states, “The important point is that the uncertainty is not about whether continued rapid CO2 emissions would cause large sea level rise, submerging global coastlines-it is about how soon the large changes would begin…carbon from fossil fuel burning will remain in and affect the climate system for many thousands of years, ensuring over time that sea level will continue rising.”

NASA: Data on Global Warming

In an article, (, NASA states, “According to an ongoing temperature analysis conducted by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for space Studies (GISS), the average global temperature on Earth has increased by about 0.8 degrees Celsius since 1880, with two-thirds of the warming occurring since 1995, at a rate of 0.15-0.20C per decade.”…..this is an average over the entire earth’s surface, even though temperatures in a given year or decade might rise 5 degrees in one area and drop several degrees in another area. This data is gathered by NASA from 6,300 meteorological stations around the world, based on land, ships, and satellite data of sea ice. You can download this data at the GISS website.

Hansen and NASA both state that if a rise of 0.8 degrees Celsius has produced a rise of sea levels and melting of the Arctic sea ice, then a continued rise of 2 degrees Celsius would will be disastrous to our planet and that fossil fuels should be reduced as soon as possible. Now is the time to act. Our governments need continual pressure to stop supporting the burning of fossil fuels. Questions to ask yourself: How is my electricity generated? Will I care about what happens to the future of my planet? What can I do today?

Mandela said it best,

“A different world cannot be built by indifferent people.”


Author: Planet Earth Weekly

My goal, as a responsible adult, is to leave a planet that people, plants, and animals can continue to occupy comfortably. I am an educator by profession. While educating myself on Climate Change and Renewable Resources, I hope to share my knowledge and images with those that share my concern. Dr. John J. Hidore is a retired professor from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and I am proud to call him my Uncle. His work has taken him to regions across the globe—including the Middle East, where he conducted research for a year in the Sudan. He has written many books, such as Climatology: An Atmospheric Science and Global Environmental Change.----Linn Smith Planet Earth Weekly recently passed 30,000 views!

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