What Does 350 Mean to You?


For me: I may get up to that number of bird species in Britain. It’s about the number of days in a year I don’t wake up and think, “Ooh, goody, start of a new month list.” Historically it’s the year that Nepotian proclaimed himself emperor of Rome and lasted 28 days before the incumbents killed him. A real one-hit wonder, which resonates with today’s meaning of the figure.

Around the world a host of events marked the 350 atmospheric parts per million of carbon dioxide deemed sustainable. Exceed them, which we are doing right now, and we may go the way of Nepotian. I can hear the nitpickers and pedants already: why 350?

Why not? We don’t know, so we may as well choose some goal. Without it we’ll not aim for anything. Why not play the game? It won’t hurt much and with luck, we’ll figure in the historical record with more renown than the usurper of 350AD.

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