Dressed as Flight Attendants, 350.org Supporters Present Candidates a Ticket to Poland at Tonight’s Debate
Over 20,000 Invite Obama and McCain to Attend U.N. Climate Meetings
HEMPSTEAD, New York - A group of 350.org
supporters dressed as flight attendants will display a giant airplane
ticket to Poland outside of tonight's Presidential debate at Hoffstra
University as a prize for either Sen. Obama or Sen. McCain, whoever
wins the presidential election.
The ticket is a symbol of nearly 20,000 invitations from citizens
around the world inviting the next U.S. President to attend the
upcoming U.N. Climate Meetings in Poland this December and reassure the
rest of the world that America plans to resume active participation in
the international fight to stabilize the climate.
"We'll get the first big sign of whether the candidates are really
serious about global warming by their willingness to take early action
like this," said Bill McKibben, environmental author and co-founder of 350.org,
an international group of climate activists. "Last week, just as the
nation's finances were collapsing, word came that carbon dioxide output
had grown by record amounts--we need immediate action on this crisis
A wide variety of environmental and human rights groups around the
world, including Sierra Club, 1Sky, Grist, and more are participating
in the email-invitation campaign. College students and recent graduates
have built a website with an interactive globe that allows people to
see where invitations are coming from, and even to send personalized
invitations by video using cellphone cameras.
"We've had invitations streaming in from India, from Australia, from China, and from across the U.S.," said Will Bates, a 350.org
organizer who will be on the ground at tonight's debates. "People
around the world know that much of their future--in some cases their
very survival--may hinge on how the U.S. chooses to re-engage in
international climate talks."
The invites include a video invitation from Yvo de Boer, the top U.N.
climate official. As Executive Secretary of the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Mr. de Boer will
preside over the upcoming meetings in Poznan, Poland.
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"I hope that whichever man it is, he will see it as a possibility to
come to the climate change conference in Poznan this year and tell the
international community that the new U.S. administration is committed
to the issue of climate change," Mr. de Boer, said. "So, you have my
invitation to come Poznan."
The invitations urge the two leaders not only to travel to Poland if
elected, but also to endorse a strong package of measures to cut carbon
emissions so that the atmospheric concentration of CO2 will eventually
drop from its current 387 parts per million (ppm) back to 350, a number
that scientists have deemed as the maximum safe level.
We must return to 350 ppm, NASA climatologist James Hansen wrote
earlier this year, "if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to
that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is
"Think how the world would react to that kind of dramatic U.S.
re-engagement with the global warming issue," said McKibben. "After
eight years of refusing to help, we could suddenly re-energize this
The group of 350.org
flight attendants will display the ticket outside of the David S Mack
Sports and Exhibition Complex from 5:30 pm until 9:00 pm. Hi-resolution
photos of the action will be available on the 350.org website as early as 7:00 pm.
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350.org unites an international grassroots climate campaign behind a common call to action. 350 is the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in parts per million. Led by author Bill McKibben and a staff of young organizers from around the world, 350.org partners with over 100 organizations to push for a strong international climate treaty that meets the 350 ppm target.