Over the past year or so, much of the thinking about the severity and timeline of climate change has undergone a major shift. In the fall of 2007, a report titled The Big Melt came out that reviewed the rapid loss of polar ice and its likely implications. In December 2007 James Hansen presented a paper at the American Geophysical Union in which it was argued that safe levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide were at least below 350 parts per million, and in fact may be less than 300 ppm. For anyone familiar with climate science and policy this was a stunning conclusion because current levels of CO2 are over 385 ppm. During the winter of 2008 a new report titled Climate Code Red was released that greatly expanded upon The Big Melt and delved into the socio-political implications of the new scientific information, essentially framing the issue in terms of survival requirements on a damaged spaceship Earth. Soon afterwards, a climate activist group called 350.org was formed by Bill McKibben and friends to spread the message that policy targets need to reflect the scientific imperative.
This show brings us up to date since those developments--and a lot has occurred, including international climate change policy meetings in Poland, more information from scientists, a new U.S. president, and major disruptions to the global economy.
I am very pleased to have Bill McKibben on the program. Bill has been along-time champion of ecologically grounded economies, a safe climate campaigner, a popular writer, and teacher to many.
See the Post Carbon Institute's Energy Scarcity and the Path to Energy, Economic, and Environmental Recovery for our recommendations on carbon and energy policy.