Image from Celsias
The round number of 400 ppm of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has no special physical significance. The dreaded atmospheric "tipping point" that will lead us to climate catastrophe could have been passed already, or perhaps it could be somewhere at a higher concentration that we'll reach in the future.
But 400 ppm could herald a different tipping point - one that has to do with the perception of the urgency of the climate problem. A communication tipping point.
Perhaps, the low point in climate consciousness was reached last year, when the US presidential elections went through without climate change even being mentioned in the debate. Think about that: is there any way to sink deeper than that? But things are changing. The writing is on the wall: the Web is bubbling up with sites, blogs, forums, videos. There is a general understanding that if we still have a chance to avoid disaster, we must catch it now. Even the blog you are reading, "the frog that jumped out" is a result of this new perception. And that's going to have effects.
The "communication sphere" is a complex system that is subjected to tipping points just as many physical systems. So far, it has remained precariously balanced on a situation where organized denial has been able to block the consciousness of the danger we face from diffusing in the communication space. But, if we reach the tipping point, the communication system will undergo a transition that will change everything. It will bring back the climate problem to its rightful place in the list of priorities we have: the most worrisome, dangerous, terrible threat that humankind has ever faced in historical times. The number "400" could be the mark of this communication tipping point.
Recognizing that a problem exists is the first step to solving it. A small push in the right direction may be just what we need to pass to the next stage. So, let's all push together!