Oct 222009
Authors: Madeline Novey

Student government will host a rally Saturday focused not on voter registration, student rights or the city’s housing ordinance, but a number: 350.

This number, 350 parts per million, represents both the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as determined by scientists, and the level the international climate organization 350.org has charged the world’s people to achieve.

The Associated Students of CSU’s Marketing and Environmental Affairs Departments have collaborated to host a 350.org action rally Saturday on the Lory Student Center Plaza that seeks to raise awareness among students and faculty about the future of global climate change.

ASCSU’s Director of Marketing Brian Domann learned about 350.org while watching “Late Night with Conan O’Bryan,” and with his team, decided hosting a rally on International Day of Climate Action would provide a way for students and the community to get involved with improving the environment.

“One of the main reasons we decided to do the event is a lot of students at CSU care about the environment, and we are a green university,” Kaeley Clark, assistant director of Marketing at ASCSU, said. “One of the goals of ASCSU is to make us even more of a green university.”

The event, which will provide more information about how to reduce emissions from the world’s current level of 387 parts per million to 350, will also focus on the future of international agreements to cut emissions.

In December, world leaders will meet in Copenhagen, for the U.N. Climate Change Conference to establish a new global treaty on cutting emissions. The treaty will replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the first treaty developed to fight global warming, when it expires in 2012.

As of October 2009, the Kyoto Protocol, signed in Kyoto, Japan, has united 184 states under the goal of reducing four greenhouse gases:/Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and sulphur hexafluouride and the two groups of gases produced by them — hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons.

The U.S. is the largest industrialized nation that refused to sign the climate change agreement that requires developed countries to cut their 1990 level of greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent by 2012.

In preparation for the summit in December, leaders from 177 nations met in Bangkok to brainstorm way s to extend and expand the protocol, according an article in the Boston Globe.

Feeling it is the only way to persuade the United States to join the initiative, some industrialized nations want to abandon the Kyoto Protocol entirely and develop a new agreement, according to the same article.

Director of ASCSU’s Environmental Affairs Samantha Silberstein said climate change affects people throughout the world on different levels, but that all people should be aware of the issue.

“I see this as taking a different look at climate change,” she said about the rally, later adding, “It’s really about getting the people in your community involved before going to a higher level.”

News Managing Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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