Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Nobel Laureates Call for Action on Climate Change

At a recent gathering, Nobel laureates joined a large group of scientists in calling for immediate action to tackle the climate crisis. The call came as a group of 65 Nobel Laureates along with 650 young scientists met in Lindau, Germany. These two groups, with participants hailing from 88 countries, came together for the 65th annual Lindau Nobel Laureates conference that was held between June 28th and July 3rd.

The calls to action during this week of lectures and discussions included a plea to address climate change. The call came on the final day of the conference during meetings that were held on nearby Mainau Island.

The plea was made by 2011 Physics laureate Brian Schmidt who introduced the Mainau Declaration 2015 on Climate Change, that was signed by 36 Nobel laureates. Mainau Island is the same place from which Nobel Laureates expressed their concerns about nuclear weapons 60 years ago. “We believe that our world today faces another threat of comparable magnitude,” the declaration said.

At the conference Schmidt said, “those of us who sign do so because we feel we have a moral-bound duty as a scientist on an issue that has such lasting consequences…We say this not as experts in the field of climate change, but rather as a diverse group of scientists who have a deep respect for and understanding of the integrity of the scientific process.”

This is not the first time the Nobel Laureates have offered their support for environmental issues. In 2009, the concept of a carbon budget was first introduced by a group known as the Nobel Laureates Symposium. This group of scientists, including 20 Nobel Prize winners, signed a memorandum calling for a carbon budget that set limits on global emissions for 2020 and 2050.

In 2011 nine Nobel Laureates sent a letter to President Obama and the Secretary of State urging them not to move forward with the KXL. 

In 2013 Nobel Peace Prize laureates including South African anti-apartheid campaigner Desmond Tutu, published an open letter demanding that Russia release Greenpeace activists known as the Arctic 30.

The Mainau Declaration is clearly directed towards world leaders who will be coming together to negotiate a global climate agreement at COP21 scheduled to take place at the end of the year in Paris.

“We believe that the nations of the world must take the opportunity at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015 to take decisive action to limit future global emissions. This endeavor will require the cooperation of all nations, whether developed or developing, and must be sustained into the future in accord with updated scientific assessments. Failure to act will subject future generations of humanity to unconscionable and unacceptable risk.”

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