Vigils step up for 'massive weekend' prior to Copenhagen summit

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Climate awareness group 350.org are targeting the weekend of December 11-13 as a prime opportunity to highlight the urgency and importance of decisions to be made at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, with a series of events scheduled in cities around the world.

There are candlelit vigils planned for Friday 11 and Saturday 12 December, rallies marches and protests on the Saturday, and musical community events on Sunday 13 in an effort to unite the world's people if not their political and corporate leaders.

Professor and environmental author Bill McKibben set up 350.org in recognition of the need to return to safer levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Currently, the amount of CO2 is equivalent to 387 parts per million and 350.org are lobbying for the dramatic cut in carbon emmissions by 2050 - an 80% reduction - in order to meet the target and prevent lasting damage to our own living conditions and that of vital plants, animals and ecosystems.

As drastic as the 80% cut may be, a return to 350ppm has been supported by Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Refusal to alter industrial and consumer lifestyles would lead to a rise in water levels which in turn would have far-reaching and morbid consequences for the people who can least afford to change their circumstances: members of the Alliance of Small Island States (37 of whom are also UN members) are among the world's lowest emitters of greenhouse gases, but rising water levels threaten all of them.

In 2007, the IPCC predicted sea level rises of between 9 and 88cm over the next 100 years. A total sea level rise of 200cm is thought to be enough to entirely submerge the Maldives, one of the AOSIS member states.

To find out more about 350.org's Weekend of Action, or to take part in or initiate an event, visit http://www.350.org/weekend .

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