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

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

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 - 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.

###

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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