Getting to 350 is a wildly ambitious goal.  Sometimes it seems unrealistically ambitious.

With atmospheric carbon currently at 387 parts per million and global emissions rising year after year, getting to 350 a profound global transformation.  Most obviously perhaps, it requires an energy system that is effectively carbon neutral. Sometimes, this level of change seems almost unimaginable–but we perservere because the alternative scenario–a climate spinning wildly out of control–is unthinkable.

But today, the 350 world got quite a bit easier to imagine, as Bill Gates declared at the TED Conference that his top priority was achieving zero global emissions. Gates, it should be noted, isn’t some fringe wacko.  As perhaps the world’s most influential philanthropist and most well-respected business leader, his words carry enormous weight.

350 Messenger Alex Steffen calls it "the most important climate speech of the year."  The zero emissions target is backed up by what is starting to be called "The Gates Climate Equation":


Intriguing, no? If you want to dive deeper into what precisely these letters mean, and the larger implications of the Gate’s speech and the zero target, I highly reccomend scoping Alex’s post on Worldchanging.

(Photos by Nancy Duarte.)

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