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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2010
1:14 PM

CONTACT: Center for Biological Diversity

Bill Snape, Center for Biological Diversity, (202) 536-9351, bsnape@biologicaldiversity.org

Campaign Launched to Gather 500,000 Signatures to Cap Greenhouse Gas Pollution at 350 Parts Per Million

Dr. James Hansen, Barbara Kingsolver, Ed Begley, Jr., Bonnie Raitt, Lemony Snicket, Sierra Club Board Member Among First Signers

WASHINGTON - March 30 - The Center for Biological Diversity today launched a campaign to gather 500,000 signatures on a People's Petition asking the Environmental Protection Agency to set a national pollution standard to reduce carbon dioxide pollution in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million. Atmospheric CO2 is currently at 390 parts per million and growing, causing a dangerous climate disruption.

The People's Petition is in support of a Clean Air Act legal filing submitted by the Center and 350.org in December 2009 to set an upper limit of 350 parts per million on dangerous greenhouse gas pollution. The EPA is currently reviewing the request and is expected to render a decision later this year.

Though Congress and the White House have been crafting legislation, and the EPA is beginning the process of regulation, there is as yet no formal scientific standard determining what the safe level of carbon dioxide is and how deeply emissions need to be reduced to return to the safety zone.

According to actor and environmental activist, Ed Begley, Jr.:

"Setting climate policy without a scientific target is like driving with your eyes closed. You don't know where you're going and you'll probably crash. The EPA should open everyone's eyes as soon as possible by determining the safe level of greenhouse gases."

Begley is joined as an initial signer of the petition by Dr. Jim Hansen of NASA, who said:

"Science demands that we reduce atmospheric carbon pollution to a level of 350 parts per million (ppm) or less to sustain life as we know it.  Energy and climate policies must recognize this 350 ppm limit."

The grassroots campaign is also supported by musician and activist Bonnie Raitt, who said:

"In 40 years of performing and working for social change, I've learned that the best, longest-lasting policy reforms come from the ground up. I hope that 500,000 people join me in asking the EPA to bring atmospheric carbon dioxide pollution back down to 350 parts per million. The lives of polar bears, sea turtles, and the human race depend on it."

Bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver explained the ethical and personal imperative of establishing a clear, specific target for greenhouse gas pollution reduction:

"Reaching 350 ppm is a matter of living by my values - which include both ‘love your neighbor' and ‘try not to wreck every blooming thing on the planet while you're here.'"

Among the many notables joining these initial signers of the People's Petition are activists Michael Dorsey (Sierra Club board member), Brock Evans (president of the Endangered Species Coalition), Dr. Helen Caldicott (anti-nuclear activist), former government official Curtis Moore  (Republican counsel to the Senate's Committee on Environment and Public Works), scientists Dr. Thomas Lovejoy (biodiversity chair, Heinz Center), Dr. Niles Eldredge (American Museum of Natural History) and Dr. John Terborgh (Center for Tropical Conservation, Duke University), and authors Lemony Snicket (i.e. Daniel Handler), Jonathan Lethem (author of Motherless Brooklyn), Rick Moody (author of The Ice Storm) and Donna Tartt (author of The Secret History).

Click here to read the ‘People's Petition' and see a current list of signatories.

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At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.


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