Markus Stocker bio photo

Markus Stocker

Between information technology and environmental science with a flair for economics, the clarinet, and the world of soups and salads.

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Ahead of the UN Climate Negotiations in Copenhagen in December, today, is the International Day Of Climate Action, or 350, i.e. the “most important number in the world” aka the “safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.” As far as I know we are now at 390 ppm carbon dioxide; guys, we need to take action.

A search for 350 on Twitter does show some activity but right now it doesn’t look like it is a trending topic. (Halloween and – ouch! – Windows 7 seem to be more trendy.) Though, this might well change over the next few hours as twitterers west of the Atlantic wake up.

I think, to me this event falls into the “make […] history”-category of global events, e.g. Live Aid. Nice pictures, nice music, nice party, nice people, nice drinks, nice quotes but I wonder if there is anything beyond that.

Distressing, I believe, is the hope many have for global negotiations, the belief a bunch of people sitting around a table will do “the right thing.” This urge to march on the streets (or bring a 350 t-shirt up to the highest peaks) to let those “in power” know they need to take action and tell us what actions to take, troubles me, unless the purpose is to have fun. The “debate is over”**but we fail to take individual action? A brief example, although simplistic; Where I currently life, I constantly have to switch off the lights in shared rooms.

I think, if we individually make independent, informed and rational decisions we will most likely head in a better direction than whatever direction is drafted by “global” negotiations. The question is, of course, how can we support independent, informed and rational individual decisions? What rational is, should not (and cannot) be decided and dictated by a few sitting at the table of global negotiations but, instead, should emerge from global knowledge. I would like my action to be rational also w.r.t. people who are required to walk 20 miles a day to collect water.