Nobel Peace Laureates: Urgent Action Needed On Climate Change


The 10TH world summit of Nobel Peace Laureates took place in Berlin last month. It was in the context of the historical implications of the fall of the Berlin Wall, 20 years ago. The Nobel Laureates called on the world to break down the national, international, personal, and institutional walls for a world with peace and justice.

In their ambitious proposal, the Nobel Peace Laureates urged world leaders to take down; the walls that stand in the way of a nuclear-free world; the walls that stand between the rich and the poor; the walls between cultural, religious and ethnic communities; the physical walls or barriers; the walls that stand in the way of the crucial need to combat climate change, by ensuring the success of the upcoming Copenhagen conference in securing firm international commitment to effective global action, and by ensuring sustainable development that will enable mankind to live in harmony with the fragile global environment and with each other. On the specific matter of the critical Copenhagen climate conference starting tomorrow, the Nobel Peace Laureates concluded their summit by the following powerful  statement.

“Climate change now poses an unacceptable risk of catastrophic and irreversible harm at a global scale, possibly even within the next decade, threatening global peace, human security and development, and putting the sustainability of human society in jeopardy.

Current negotiations are based on scientific information that is several years out-of-date. The latest science indicate that, on the balance of probabilities, we have badly underestimated both the extent and speed of climate change, to the point that we now run a rapidly increasing risk of sudden failure of some part of the climatic system, possibly via tipping points which may prove irreversible.

Despite 20 years of negotiation, virtually nothing has been done so far to contain the problem, and there is no sign of that changing at the forthcoming Copenhagen meeting. Excellent work is underway by concerned governments and organizations, but it is now clear that conventional processes will not deliver the speed and extent of change required to avert potentially catastrophic impacts.

New thinking is required to break through politics-as-usual. We have run out of time to take a graduated response and we must now move to global emergency action. This will require cooperation across the spectrum, involving civil society, public and private sectors, bipartisan political involvement, on an unprecedented scale. As the world’s poorest suffer most from but contribute least to climate change, and as we bear responsibility for future generations, climate justice must be a guiding principle.

Successful resolution of our climate and sustainability dilemma requires transformational change, not incrementalism. It means almost complete de-carbonisation of the global economy by 2050, a peaking of global emissions by 2015 and reduction of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere. If an unsatisfactory compromise does materialize or no agreement is reach in Copenhagen, the danger is that the pressure for further change will evaporate, locking in potentially catastrophic outcomes as CO2 emissions continue to accelerate. From a global peace and security perspective, let alone from moral and ethical considerations, that cannot be allowed to happen.”

The Nobel Peace Laureates summit took place before the so called “climate-gate”, which is a despicable effort to undermine the Copenhagen climate conference. The forces behind this new wave of climate change deniers are obvious and have been exposed: They are the government of Saudi Arabia, most Republicans in the US Congress and oil companies. After the criminal neglect from the Bush administration on the issue, and despite his intention to act, President Obama will have to deal with the anti-science but powerful break represented by the deniers claiming that “climate change is a hoax”, GOP politicians in the back pocket of the oil companies and the populist mob supporting the like of Sarah Palin and chanting “Drill, Baby Drill”.

The time for all citizens of the world to act on this was yesterday. But to prevent the certain climate nightmare that will be our tomorrow, we must act today. You can do so by supporting and joining the action of organizations such as and Hopenhagen.

To read the 10TH world summit of Nobel Peace Laureates full  final statement, click here.


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