Saturday, August 29, 2020

Open Letter Warns Us to Stop Wasting Time and Act Now

An open letter to world leaders warns that we must act now or face the collapse of civilization.

The clock is ticking and what we do in the coming months will determine our future or lack thereof.  On  July 16, 2020 Greta Thunberg, Luisa Neubauer, Anuna De Wever and Adélaïde Charlier published the open letter. Since then, more than 125,000 people have signed this letter which speaks to our moral responsibility to act.

An excerpt from the letter reads as follows:

"We need to end the ongoing wrecking, exploitation and destruction of our life support systems and move towards a fully decarbonised economy that is centred on the wellbeing of all people, democracy and the natural world...If we are to have a chance of staying below 1.5C of warming, our emissions need to immediately start reducing rapidly towards zero and then on to negative figures...We still have the future in our own hands. But time is rapidly slipping through our fingers. We can still avoid the worst consequences. But to do that, we have to face the climate emergency and change our ways. And that is the uncomfortable truth we cannot escape."
The letter speaks to those who wish to dismiss efforts to solve these crisis as facile and unrealistic. They acknowledge that solving these crises are both complicated and difficult. However, the letter also makes the point that, "it is much more unrealistic to believe that our society would be able to survive the global heating we’re heading for, as well as other disastrous ecological consequences of today’s business as usual​."

The letter acknowledges the "horror" and "tragedy" of the COVD-19 pandemic and points out that many world leaders have "stepped up and acted for the greater good of society".  However, it also points out that not all leaders have done so. 

This letter calls for a raft of policy changes and it also prioritizes the need to "safeguard and protect democracy" and design climate policies that protect workers, the most vulnerable and reduce all forms of inequality (economic, racial and gender).  As stated in the letter:
"There is one other thing that has become clearer than ever: Climate and environmental justice can not be achieved as long as we continue to ignore and look away from the social and racial injustices and oppression that have laid the foundations of our modern world. ​The fight for justice and equity is universal. Whether it is the fight for social, racial, climate or environmental justice, gender equality, democracy, human-, indigenous peoples’- LGBTQ- and animal rights, freedom of speech and press, or the fight for a balanced, wellbeing, functioning life supporting system. If we don’t have equality, we have nothing. ​We don’t have to choose, and divide ourselves over which crisis or issue we should prioritize, because it is all interconnected."
The letter makes it emphatically clear that politicians, media, business, and the finance community have to start treating the climate crisis as a crisis.  We cannot pretend we are doing anywhere near enough to reduce emissions,  even the pledges contained in the Paris Climate Agreement and efforts to zeo out emissions by 2050 are inadequate. 

Nor can we find the required solutions available within the existing system.  Although sustainable investments and policies are laudable, they are grossly insufficient.  Both the IPCC SR1.5 Report and the UNEP Production Gap Report, indicate that the climate and ecological crisis cannot be solved within today’s system. 
"That’s no longer an opinion, it’s a fact based on the current best available science," the letter states, it also explains, "We are facing an existential crisis, and this is a crisis that we can not buy, build, or invest our way out of. ​Aiming to ‘recover’ an economic system that inherently fuels the climate crisis in order to finance climate action is just as absurd as it sounds. Our current system is not ‘broken’ – the system is doing exactly what it’s supposed and designed to be doing. It can no longer be ‘fixed’. We need a new system."
Science is central to the demands in the letter, specifically adopting science-based binding carbon budgets, "which gives us the best possible odds to limit the global average temperature rise to below 1.5 °C." These budgets must factor total emissions including consumption, international aviation and shipping as well as global aspect of equity, tipping points and feedback loops.

Arresting our use of fossil fuels is key and this includes ending both investments and subsidies, as well as divestment.  As pointed out in the letter, "The world’s planned fossil fuel production by the year 2030 accounts for 120% more than what would be consistent with the 1,5° target." Another key demand in the letter involves making ecocide an international crime.   

This letter has been signed by the following people, along with thousands of activists and citizens, and hundreds of scientists.
  •  Malala Yousafzai, Activist, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Founder Malala Fund
  •  Billie Eilish, Artist and Activist
  •  Leonardo DiCaprio, Actor
  •  Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Actor, Producer, Activist, Unicef Goodwill Ambassador
  •  Opal Tometi, Human Rights Activist, Writer and Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter
  •  Shawn Mendes, Artist
  •  Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor, Penn State University and Member of the National   Academy of Sciences     
  • Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Laureate and Human Rights Activist  
  • Ben Stiller, Actor, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador
  • Sônia Guajajara, Indigenous leadership, Executive Coordinator of APIB (Brazil’s Indigenous People Articulation)     
  • Mark Ruffalo, Actor, Justice Activist,  Greenpeace    
  • Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Atmospheric Physicist and Founding Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research Scientist 
  • Emma Thompson, Actor
  • Richard Curtis, Writer and Activist   
  • Naomi Klein, Author, Rutgers University
  • Margaret Atwood, Author  
  • Jake Gyllenhaal, Actor 
  • Paul Rudd, Actor 
  • Chris Evans, Actor, PETA  
  • Kevin Anderson, Professor of Energy and Climate Change, University of Manchester 
  • Annie Lennox OBE, Singer, Songwriter, Activist  
  • Ellie Goulding, Artist 
  • Baltasar Garzón, lawyer (former Judge of the National Court of Spain). President of the International Baltasar Garzón Foundation, FIBGAR 
  • Jojo Mehta, Co-Founder, Stop Ecocide  
  • Valérie Cabanes, international law expert, End Ecocide on Earth   
  • Carlos Nobre, Earth System Scientist, University of São Paolo 
  • Russel Crowe, Actor
  • Kumi Naidoo, Global Ambassador of Africans Rising for Justice, Peace & Dignity    
  • Stefan Rahmstorf, Professor of Physics of the Oceans at Potsdam University 
  • Bill McKibben, Author and Founder
  • Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Indigenous Peoples representative and Coordinator of the Indigenous Women and Peoples’ Association of Chad 
  • Joaquin Phoenix, Actor, Environmentalist, Animal Rights Activist, Producer
  • The 1975
  • Daniel Ellsberg, US Economist, Human Rights Activist and Right Livelihood Award Laureate 
  • Björk, Artist
  • Prof. Dr. Maja Göpel, Secretary General German Advisory Council Global Change
  • Juliette Binoche, Actor
  • Jameela Jamil, Actor, Founder of I Weigh 
  • David Hogg, Co-Founder of March For Our Lives   
  • George Monbiot, Writer and Activist
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal, Actor  
  • Susan Sarandon, Actor
  • Nicolas Hulot, Author and Former Minister for the Ecological and Solidary Transition of France   
  • Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President The Club of Rome 
  • Simon McBurney OBE, Director
  • Dr. Vandana Shiva, Indian Scholar and environmental activist, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 
  • Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director Greenpeace International  
  • Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 
  • Chrissy Hynde, Artist
  • Tasneem Essop, Executive Director of CAN International 
  • Varshini Prakash, Cofounder and Executive Director, Sunrise Movement  
  • Dallas Goldtooth, Keep it in the Ground Campaigner, Indigenous Environmental Network 
  • Sabine Gabrysch, Professor of Climate and Health at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research   
  • Professor Gail Whiteman, Executive Director, Arctic Basecamp   
  • Winona LaDuke, Economist, Author and Co-Founder of Honor the Earth
  • Lily Cole, human being   
  • Rajiv Joshi, Community Organiser & Founder, Bridging Ventures 
  • David Suzuki, Academic and Activist 
  • Isak Stoddard, CEMUS Uppsala University 
  • Alyn Ware, Peace Activist and Right Livelihood Award Laureat, Mercy For Animals  
  • Farhana Yamin, lawyer and climate activist, Think & Do Camden
  • Peter Kalmus, Data Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory 
  • Sofia Sprechmann Sineiro, Secretary General of CARE International 
  • Dr. Ruchama Marton, Founder and President of Physicians for Human Rights, Right Livelihood Laureate 
  • Raoul Martinez, Author   
  • János Vargha, Hungarian Biologist and Photographer, Right Livelihood Award Laureate  
  • Roger Waters, Artist 
  • Jane Fonda, Academy Award-winning actor, founder of Fire Drill Fridays 
  • Prof. Dr. Raúl A. Montenegro, President of Fundación para la defensa del ambiente, Argentina, Right Livelihood Award Laureate
  • Kate Raworth, Author Doughnut Economics, University of Oxford  
  • Stella McCartney, Designer
  • Prof. Dr. Anwar Faza l, Director of the Right Livelihood College, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 
  • Peter Sarsgaard, Actor
  • Igor Levit, Pianist  
  • Sigrid, Artist  
  • András Biró, Hungarian Journalist, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 
  • Francesca Martinez, Comedian 
  • Nnimmo Bassey, Nigerian Architect, Health of Mother Earth Foundation and Right Livelihood Award Laureate 
  • Rina Sawayama, Artist
  • Angie Zelter, Trident Ploughshares, Right Livelihood Award Laureate  
  • Volker Quaschning, Engineer and Professor on Renewable Energy, Co-Founder of Scientist for Future
  • Beabadoobee, Artist
  • Dr. Monika Hauser, Founder of Medica Mondiale, Right Livelihood Award Laureate
  • Tokatawin Iron Eyes, Earth Guardians, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation 
  • Rajiv Joshi, Founder Bridging Ventures   
  • Dr. Sima Samar, Chairperson Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, Afghanistan, Right Livelihood Award Laureate   
  • Laurie Anderson, Artist 
  • Mike Skinner, Artist 
  • Basil Fernando, Asian Human Rights Commission, Right Livelihood Award Laureate
  • Jon Hopkins, Artist 
  • Martín von Hildebrand, Founder and Director of Fundación GAIA Amazonas, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 
  • Brian Eno, Music Producer
  • Frances Moore Lappé, Co-Founder Small Planet Institute, Right Livelihood Award Laureate    
  • March For Science 
  • Arizona Muse, model 
  • Sarah Shanley Hope, Executive Director The Solutions Project 
  • Tony Rinaudo, Agronomist, World Vision, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 
  • Rania Batrice, March For Science, Interim Executive Director
  • Dr. Lucky Tran, March For Science, Managing Director
  • Sinéad Gleeson, Author   
  • Hunter Lovins, Natural Capitalism Solutions, Right Livelihood Award Laureate
  • Alejandro Sanz, musician, singer and composer, Spain 
  • Dr. Paul F. Walker, Director, Environmental Security and Sustainability, Green Cross International, Right Livelihood Award Laureate
  • Mercy For Animals 
  • Mohamed Adow, Founder and Director of Power Shift Africa
  • Warren Ellis, Author, Creator
  • Prof. Dr. Stefanie Engel, Environmental Economist
  • Ludovico Einaudi, Pianist and composer
  • David Byrne, Artist
  • Udo Lindenberg, Musician
  • Jenny Ricks, Fight inequality alliance Global Convenor, GRAIN, Right Livelihood Award Laureate  
  • Volker Bertelmann (Hauschka), Artist
  • Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Ph.D., scientist and writer, Urban Ocean Lab, International Baby Food Action Network, Right Livelihood Award Laureate
  • Dolores Huerta, President and Founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, Co-Founder of the United Farm Workers 
  • Olivier De Schutter Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human right at the United Nation   
  • Pat Mooney, Founder ETC Group, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 
  • Extinction Rebellion
  • Helen Mack Chang, Fundación Myrna Mack, Right Livelihood Award Laureate   
  • Siila Watt-Cloutier, Canadian Inuit Human Rights and Environmental Activist, Right Livelihood  Award Laureate
  • Dr. Maude Barlow, National Chairperson, Council of Canadians, Right Livelihood Award Laureate
  • Walden Bello, Filipino Human Rights and Environmental Campaigner, Right Livelihood Award Laureate
  • John F C Turner, British Architect, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 
  • Juan Pablo Orrego, President, Ecosistemas, Right Livelihood Award Laureate
  • Nicanor Perlas, Center for Alternative Development Initiatives, Right Livelihood Award Laureate
  • Fred Gibson, producer
  • Rainn Wilson, Actor
  • Prof. Dr. Theo van Boven, Dutch Human Rights Activist, Right Livelihood Award Laureate
  • Bianca Jagger, Founder, President and Chief Executive, Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation,  Right Livelihood Award Laureate
  • Sam Fender, Artist 
  • Jacqueline Moudeina, Chadian Laywer and Human Rights Activist, Right Livelihood Award Laureate
  • Khadija Ismayilova, Azerbaijani Investigative Journalist, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 
  • Alice Tepper Marlin, President and Founder, Social Accountability International, Right Livelihood  Award Laureate
  • Ben Howard, Artist
  • Roger de Weck, Author and Visiting Professor at the College of Europe 
  • Prof. Dr. Swati Banerjee, Professor and Chairperson, Centre for Livelihoods and Social Innovation  (CLSI), School of Social Work,Tata Institute of Social Sciences
  • Pierre Ozer, scientist, teacher at ULiege Belgium 
  • Marie Esmeralda, Princess of Belgium, activist  
  • Dr. Friederike E. L. Otto, Acting Director Environmental Change Institute
  • Professor Raveendran, Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP), Right Livelihood Award Laureate
  • Margaret Klein Salamon, PhD, Author of Facing the Climate Emergency and Founder, The Climate Mobilization
  • Herbert Grönemeyer, Artis
  • Aurélien Barrau, astrophysicie
  • Sulak Sivaraksa, Founder and Director, Sathirakoses-Nagapradeepa Foundation, Right Livelihood  Award Laureate
  •  Aminatou Haidar, Sahrawi human rights activist, Right Livelihood Award Laureate
  •  Jeremy Thomas CBE, Film Producer
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