At the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the Accord that was agreed upon by all nations of our planet only contained one number. This number was 2. The context of this number was that every country present agreed in principle that climate change must be kept below a rise of 2 degrees centigrade, or we will all face severe and damaging impacts. Scientists soon calculated that in order to achieve this we must not exceed the overall emissions total of 565 gigatones of CO2, which on the current trends equate to another 15 years of emissions at current increasing rates. This was disappointing at the time, as it was widely seen as a very weak outcome from a meeting billed to provide the required action on climate change. Since this conference, things have only become worse.
New data from economic institutions such as Price Waterhouse Cooper, The World Bank and the International Energy Agency has now revealed that global fossil fuel corporations currently have the equivalent of 2795 gigatones of CO2 in their reserves, right now – 5 times what some of the most conservative governments on Earth agreed would be unsafe levels to burn. The ramifications of this are enormous, and have sparked the new urgency and passion within 350.org, a group started by US environmentalist Bill McKibben and a team of college students in 2009.
350.org was created to build the required global movement to counter the climate change issue, and has generated mass following in America. Bill McKibben is touring Australia later this year (Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne – with telecasting available in some other centres) and as a part of his tour released the movie Do The Math as a means of generating interest in the campaign and broadening the discussion of the topics raised. This campaign has already seen success with the Australian Minerals Council going on the offensive a long way out from Bills arrival in Australia by declaring that he would be attempting to ‘…fool the media and public…’ with what he has to say. Unfortunately it would perhaps be more accurate to say that the Australian public has already been fooled by much of the media and mining industry when it comes to the issue of climate change!
In support of the 350.org campaign, DEA students in various states held screenings of the Do The Math film. In Tasmania, about 50 people came along to see the compelling film and much discussion was had concerning the planned mining in the Tarkine region of Tasmania as well as the alarming large-scale mining expansion in Queensland. As the films name suggests, the alarming evidence based statistics are front and centre within the production, and they contribute to the films timely overall educative and empowering dialogue. DEA Tasmania gives it 5 stars.
The film is accessible at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsIfokifwSo
Henry West – Tasmania State Student DEA Represenative