Forty World’s Leading Climate Scientists Sign Open Letter | Urge Leaders to Cut Deeper
Leading scientists urge leaders to cut deeper
|Forty of the world’s leading climate scientists have signed an open letter demanding global leaders take bolder action against climate change (see full list below)
The joint statement – initiated by WWF and endorsed by recognised climate luminaries such as Sir John Houghton, former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – calls for industrialised countries to make a commitment, at the UN Climate summit in Copenhagen, to cut carbon emissions by at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2020.
Saleemul Huq, one of the signatories, IPCC author and Senior Fellow in the Climate Change Group at the International Institute for Environment and Development, said: “The scientific evidence now indicates that even a rise in temperature of 2°C will entail considerable hardships for poor and vulnerable people around the world, especially those living on low-lying islands and coasts.
“So a 40% reduction in emissions is the very least required to provide a better chance of avoiding devastation for these countries and communities.”
WWF’s Head of Climate Change, Keith Allott, says: “As the UK government rallies the EU to step up to the mark ahead of Copenhagen, it’s time for Gordon Brown and other world leaders to turn words into action.”
Dr Dave Reay, another of the signatories, IPCC contributor and Senior Lecturer in Carbon Management, Edinburgh University, said: "The scientific evidence of climate change from around the world is providing a clear and urgent call for action.
“If we are to be successful in preventing the worst impacts of climate change then world leaders from the industrialised nations must commit to reducing emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020. The meeting in Copenhagen later this year is hugely important in putting the world on a path that leads us away from dangerous climate change."
The WWF say key meetings that will shape the global climate deal take place in coming weeks, including the UN General Assembly in New York and the G20 Heads of State meeting in Pittsburgh.
Campaigners say it is vital that the politicians attending take note of such timely advice from the world’s scientific community.
The scientists’ statement on 40% emissions reduction target for developed countries follows…
Copenhagen climate targets must be more ambitious
Copenhagen represents our best chance to avert the worst impacts of climate change on people, species and ecosystems. More than 120 countries, including the members of the G8, the EU, and key emerging economies such as China, South Africa and Mexico, agree that the rise in global temperature must stay well below 2°C. Beyond this point climate impacts will be more severe, with the risk of crossing ‘tipping points’ with dangerous and irreversible effects.
To stand a good chance of achieving this goal, the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report (2007) recommended that developed countries should reduce emissions by 25-40% on 1990 levels by 2020. Yet more recent evidence shows that only reductions at the top end of this range will be sufficient to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
Developed countries have so far committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by only 10-16% by 2020, a level dangerously inconsistent with their commitment to the 2°C target. The latest scientific evidence clearly shows that these countries must increase their ambition and reduce emissions by 40% by 2020 to maintain a credible ambition of avoiding dangerous climate change.
Dr Paulo Artaxo, Brazil
Samar Attaher, Egypt
Prof Peter Barrett, New Zealand
Dr Nancy Bertler, New Zealand
Sophie des Clers, United Kingdom
Dr Valérie Masson-Delmotte, France
Prof John Harte, USA
Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Australia
Dr Lars R. Hole, Norway
Sir John Houghton, United Kingdom
Prof Lesley Hughes, Australia
Dr Saleemul Huq, United Kingdom
Henry P. Huntington, USA
Prof Philippe Huybrechts, Belgium
Jiang Kejun, China
Bernardus H.J. de Jong, Mexico
Prof Rik Leemans, The Netherlands
Dr José Marengo, Brazil
Prof Anthony J McMichael, Australia
Dr. Charles K. Minns, Canada
Prof Abhijit Mitra, India
Dr Carlos Afonso Nobre, Brazil
Pan Jiahua, China
Dr Barrie Pittock, Australia
Dr Dave Reay, Scotland
Andy Reisinger, New Zealand
Dr Suzana Kahn Ribeiro, Brazil
Dr Luis Pinguelli Rosa, Brazil
Antonio Ruiz de Elvira, Spain
Dr Jim Salinger, New Zealand
Dr Roberto Schaeffer, Brazil
Dr Michael Schirmer, Germany
Bernard Seguin, France
Dr Vijai Pratap Singh, India
Prof Peter Smith, Scotland
Dr Armi Susandi, Indonesia
Wang Yi, China
Dr Wong Poh Poh, Singapore
Dr Richard W. N. Yeboah, Ghana
Zhou Dadi, China
"Regulating by carbon trading is like fiddling as Rome burns. Governments and the UN should impose a carbon tax on corporations, both for production – wherever their facilities are located – and for transport, which the Kyoto Protocol does not account for directly. Incentives for renewable energy are also essential. We face a stark choice: we can destroy the conditions for human life on the planet by clinging to ‘free-market’ fundamentalism, or we can secure our future by bringing commerce within the laws of ecological sustainability and social justice ."
Vandana Shiva, leading author and activist in India, member of the Policy Advisory Board of the Organic Consumers Association