An original 'TMINO' logo by Rehan Rasool, Pakistan (January 2008)
Themostimportantnumber.org, a new kind of website, first went live on December 17, 2007. Canadian Michael McGee created the site after realizing, two months earlier, that atmospheric CO2 is so important it should have its own, standalone site.
'TMINO' started as a bare-bones, one-page, html site. It featured a graphic (see below) that shows an atmospheric CO2 reading of 382.35 parts per million (ppm) for November 2007 at the famous Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.
The world is overflowing with information about the environment and related issues. For non-specialists, it can be difficult to know what information is useful and reliable.
The mostimportantnumber.org was created to put a spot light on monthly CO2 readings from Mauna Loa because they provide a signal of planetary significance. The readings give regular citizens unfiltered access to a holistic and precise indicator, practically in real time. It tells us very clearly whether humanity is still making future climate problems worse. And it tells us whether the climate system has yet begun to stabilize and settle down.
The idea to create a CO2-focussed website was sparked by a public talk by Al Gore in Victoria, Canada, on September 29, 2007. Gore was at the front of the convention centre talking about the rapid rise of atmospheric CO2. McGee was listening near the back, and short questions were rising in his mind: What is the current CO2 level now? Who measures it? Why isn't the media talking about the current CO2 level? If rising CO2 is bad, what should CO2 be?
The idea to build a website emerged from those questions. 'That is a something that needs doing. That is something I could do. That is a contribution I could make,' McGee thought.
From December 17, 2007, until August 31, 2008, McGee faithfully uploaded the latest CO2 readings onto "Earth's CO2 Home Page," the front page for themostimportantnumber.org.
During that time, James Hansen of NASA Goddard published a paper with nine other distinguished scientists, "Target atmospheric CO2: Where should humanity aim?" Based on their conclusions, environmental leader Bill McKibben began saying that"350" is the most important number on the planet (as in 350 parts per million).
Is any one number the most important? One number is meaningless when it is alone. The original 'tmino' name was too long and it had served a good purpose. And since McGee is a government manager, not a web developer, the html made it hard to expand the site. On September 1, 2008, the html site was replaced with a poweful content management system (CMS) at a new location: CO2Now.org.
More info about TMINO is found in the tabs below.
CO2.Earth 2008-2015: CO2Now.org
Google's internet archive utility, known as the 'Wayback Machine,' archived the front-page of themostimportantnumber.org on May 7, 2008. This is the only Wayback record while the site was actively being updated. The next record was November 24, 2008, after "moved to CO2Now.org" notices had been posted.
The screen-print below gives a larger screenshot of the home page for themostimportantnumber.org when the site launched December 17, 2007.
Themostimportantnumber.org was a low-traffic website. However, people visited the site from locations around the world. The maps below shows an expansion of site visitors from May to August 2008.