Mark Dixon Breaks Down the Climate Challenge Numbers for COP21


Mark Dixon is an award-winning filmmaker, activist, and public speaker exploring the frontiers of social change on a finite planet.

Mark represented Mayor Bill Peduto and the City of Pittsburgh at an official COP21 precursor event: the World Summit Climate & Territories [in Lyon, France on July 1 & 2].

Recently Mark gave a presentation to the Mayor and the Sustainability Team with some galvanizing statistics, summarized in this graphic*:

In December 2015, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will convene representatives of its 195 members at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris.

The goal of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference is to “achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, the the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.”

However, as Mark discovered, climate scientist James Hansen warns that global warming over 1°C may trigger feedback loops that could raise planetary temperatures to 3 to 4°C above pre-Industrial temperatures, a severe departure from Holocene climate that would result in major disruption. We are currently experiencing an elevated global temperature of 0.85°C, with corresponding unprecedented storms, wildfires and oceanic acidification.

UNFCCC Parties are submitting Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) ahead of COP21 to indicate what degree of carbon mitigation they will commit to, but these cumulative INDCs come in at the low end of the Business As Usual scenario which could take the planet to over 3°C of global warming.

Thus, Mark concludes:”We need to stop emitting CO2 and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere as soon as humanly possible and then update our global agricultural and forestry practices to remove CO2 from the atmosphere ASAP.”** 

Read a more thorough explanation from Mark here at his blog:

* Mark’s caveat: the information is approximate and under constant review and revision as helpful scientists and experts emerge to correct assessments.

**Mark is also compiling a spreadsheet of carbon sequestration options, and notes that this field is currently receiving a great deal of attention which can lead to exciting new developments.

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