Nobel Winners: Global Climate Change Poses Threat of "Similar Proportions" to Thermonuclear Weapons

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The Fierce Urgency of Now...
Matt already mentioned the St James's Palace Nobel Laureates Symposium, but I want to highlight it once more, because when the world's leading scientists speak, we ignore them at our peril. So what was it about? "The Symposium provided a unique opportunity for Nobel Laureates from across the disciplines to gather with world experts in climate change and a small number of policy makers and global business leaders. The focus of the Symposium was the climate crisis and its implications." Read on to find out what the nobel-winners concluded on this topic.

The conclusions of the symposium have been published in the St James Palace Memorandum. Here are the highlights:

#1 The science is solid, and the risks are high.

The evidence is increasingly compelling for the range and scale of climate impacts that must be avoided, such as droughts, sea level rise and flooding leading to mass migration and conflict. The robust scientific process, by which this evidence has been gathered, should be used as a clear mandate to accelerate the actions that need to be taken. Political leaders cannot possibly ask for a more robust, evidence-based call for action.

In fact, they even say this in the conclusion of the document:

Stimulated by the manifesto of Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein, the first Pugwash gathering of 1957 united scientists of all political persuasions to discuss the threat posed to civilization by the advent of thermonuclear weapons. Global climate change represents a threat of similar proportions, and should be addressed in a similar manner.

#2 We need an effective and just global agreement on climate change.

Firm political leadership is now crucial. Leadership is primarily required from developed countries, acknowledging their historical responsibility as well as their financial and technological capacity. However, all countries will need to implement low carbon development strategies. In this spirit of trust, every country must act on the firm assumption that all others will also act.

No more time to waste. To confine the global average temperature rise to 2 degrees Celcius, we would need "a peak of global emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2015 and at least a 50% emission reduction by 2050 on a 1990 baseline". That's 6 years.

#3 We need a low carbon energy infrastructure.

Decarbonising our society requires an increase in energy conservation and efficiency, and a revolution in our energy infrastructure now. The required technological innovations will not be achieved without an unprecedented partnershipbetween government and business.

They also mention the importance of smart grids and of new storage technologies.

#4 We need tropical forest protection, conservation and restoration.

Tropical forests provide the ecosystem services essential for human well-being and poverty alleviation. In addition deforestation and forest degradation are substantially contributing to climate change and global biodiversity loss at the genetic, species and landscape level. Both locally and globally, protecting boreal and tropical forest cover is an essential tool for mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change. Without a solution to rainforest protection, there is no solution to tackling climate change.

That's right. We too often underestimate the damage - and potential benefits - of reversing deforestation.

So what are we waiting for?

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