Streetfilms: San Francisco 350 Climate Action

350 parts per million. That’s the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide beyond which many scientists warn the
earth’s climate may begin to spiral out of control. At higher
concentrations, they say, heat-reflecting ice sheets will disappear and
permafrost will melt, releasing vast amounts of additional greenhouse
gases and driving sea levels higher in a vicious cycle. The earth’s
atmosphere is currently at around 380 parts per million, and climbing.

For a young international movement, 350 is a rallying cry, an organizing principle. On October 24th, climate activists in over 180 countries with the group
staged more than 5,200 demonstrations, pressuring world leaders to take
meaningful action on global warming at upcoming United Nations climate
talks in Copenhagen. In San Francisco, a ride of 350 cyclists in
snorkels and flippers gathered at a downtown rally and traced a route
through Bay-side neighborhoods threatened by rising sea levels.

Critics of the movement say the goal of stabilizing the atmosphere
is too ambitious, and that even a cap of 450 parts per million would be
difficult to achieve with curbs on carbon emissions. But the heated
debate on the political possibilities of climate action is up against
cold, hard, science.

The head of UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri,
recently endorsed the goal of cutting emissions to 350 parts per
million or less. Pachauri, who in 2007 split the Nobel Peace Prize with
former Vice President Al Gore, was not able to advocate for any
specific goals as chair of the IPCC, “but as  a human being I am
fully supportive of that goal. What is happening, and what is likely to
happen, convinces me that the world must be really ambitious and very
determined at moving toward a 350 target."


SPUR Lunchtime Forum: Planning for the San Francisco Bay

"Sea level rise in San Francisco Bay will challenge the 40 year-old legal framework, which manages development on the Bay’s shoreline. How will we adjust? Will Travis, executive director of the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, will discuss opportunities to amend the Bay Plan to increase our region’s resilience to climate change." 

SFMTA’s Climate Action Strategy Will Require Broad Political Support

San Francisco could be headed on a course toward transportation sustainability, granted it’s the politically popular thing to do. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) recently released its 2011 Draft Climate Action Strategy [PDF], laying out a progressive blueprint for how the city should tackle reducing its greenhouse gas emissions from one of their […]

Things Are Heating Up!

New Bike Plan! Let’s Get Naked and Celebrate! Critical Mass San Francisco, June 2009. I was glad to see “We Are the World” on the ridiculously inadequate Climate Change bill that finally emerged from the corrupt U.S. Congress. Sadly, the bill could only emerge with the support of a number of mainstream environmental lobbyists in […]

Opening Party: Adapt! Climate Change Hits Home

From SPUR: We have known about the perils of climate change for more than two decades. But global efforts to slow it down by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions have largely failed. Although we must do everything in our power to stop climate change, some of its impacts are now inevitable.  Climate change adaptation—preparing for heat waves, […]