Environmental Laureates’ Declaration on Climate Change
01 July, 2014
that the Earth is heading for 4 to 6 degrees Celsius of global warming, given current policies on the burning of coal, oil and gas.
that we will lose our ability to feed ourselves, run out of potable water, increase the scope for war, and cause the very fabric of civilisation to crash as a consequence of the climate change this global overheating will bring about.
Devastated that our governments have not succeeded yet in slowing, much less stopping, the flow of greenhouse gases into our thin atmosphere, in the full knowledge of these risks, despite a quarter
century of trying.
Aware that the December 2015 Paris Climate Summit may be the last chance to agree a treaty capable of saving civilisation.
Believing that the world's philanthropic foundations, given the scale of their endowments, hold the power to trigger a survival reflex in society, so greatly helping
those negotiating the climate treaty.
Recognising that all the good works of philanthropy, in all their varied forms, will be devalued or even destroyed in a world en
route to six degrees of global warming or more, and that endowments that could have saved the day will end up effectively as stranded assets.
We, xxx winners of the world’s
environmental prizes call on foundations and philanthropists everywhere to deploy their endowments immediately in the effort to save civilisation.”
European Environment Foundation
Prof. Dr. Eicke R. Weber Dr. Bernd Dallmann
of Trustees Chairman
cosigned together with many other laureates by
Zurich (Switzerland) / Cannobio (Italy), 05 July 2014
A Message on Climate Change to World Leaders
Please join this urgent message for delivery at the
United Nations Climate Summit on September 23, 2014, by signing it online at http://unsdsn.org/climate-letter/Please also share this
message widely with your own networks of friends, colleagues, students, and other associates so that they too add their names to this urgent appeal.
Initiated by Sustainable Development Solutions Network (http://unsdsn.org/ )
Put into circulation among others by Julia Marton-Lefèvre IUCN Director General on 24 July 2014
Union for Conservation of Nature http://www.iucn.org/ )
Human-induced climate change is an issue beyond politics. It transcends parties, nations, and even
generations. For the first time in human history, the very health of the planet, and therefore the bases for future economic development, the end of poverty, and human wellbeing, are in the balance. If we were facing an imminent threat from beyond Earth, there
is no doubt that humanity would immediately unite in common cause. The fact that the threat comes from within – indeed from ourselves – and that it develops over an extended period of time does not alter the urgency of cooperation and decisive
The world has agreed to limit the mean temperature increase to less than 2-degrees Centigrade (2°C). Even a 2°C increase will carry us to dangerous and unprecedented conditions not seen on Earth
during the entire period of human civilization. Various physical feedbacks – in the Arctic, the oceans, the rainforests, and the tundra – could multiply a 2°C temperature increase into vastly higher temperatures and climate disruption. For
this reason many scientists and some countries advocate for 1.5°C or even stricter targets.
To give up on the 2°C limit, on the other hand, would be reckless and foolish. We would abandon our remaining chance
to stay within a safe operating space for humanity and that of millions of other species. By holding the 2°C limit, we would retain the global option to adopt an even more stringent emission reduction limit in line with evolving scientific knowledge and
The 2°C limit, or an even stronger target, can be met through long-term national strategies and concerted global cooperation. All countries must commit to a deep decarbonization of
their energy systems, shifting from high-carbon energy (coal, oil, and natural gas) to low-carbon energy of various kinds (e.g. wind, solar, nuclear, carbon capture and sequestration, known as CCS). Low-carbon electricity plus massive gains in energy efficiency
and the electrification of vehicles, heating and cooling systems of commercial as well as residential buildings can lead to a dramatic reduction of carbon-dioxide emissions alongside a growing economy. Changes in lifestyle patterns and urban planning can make
another important contribution. The many co-benefits of decarbonization with the deployment of sustainable energy, information and communication technologies will include cleaner air and water, enhanced biodiversity, and security of domestic renewable energy
resources. Targeted efforts are also required to decarbonize key industries. Finally, countries need to curb greenhouse gas emissions resulting from agriculture, livestock, and land-use change, such as deforestation. They must also manage and restore
ecosystems to ensure they can serve as a significant net sink for greenhouse gas emissions.
The technological transition during the first half of the 21st century is within reach,
especially in light of massive advances in knowhow in recent years. In many parts of the world and in some contexts, solar and wind power are already at “grid parity.” Large-scale deployment of electric vehicles, carbon-capture and sequestration,
next- generation nuclear power plants for those countries deploying nuclear power, and other low-carbon energy technologies are all within reach. They can be pushed to commercial readiness and large-scale deployment through concerted public and private programs
of research, development, demonstration, and diffusion (RDD&D) on a global scale.
We have nearly exhausted the Earth’s carbon budget, which measures the cumulative emissions of CO2 that will likely keep
the planet within the 2°C limit. Only through a drastic reduction of carbon emissions between now and 2050, en route to a zero-net emission economy in the second half of the century, can we meet the challenge of remaining below 2°C. Yet, deep decarbonization
can be accomplished. As President John F. Kennedy said a half-century ago, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure
the best of our energies and skills ...”
In our time, humanity again must choose, this time to save our planet from short-sightedness, greed, and apathy to avoid catastrophic climate change. This time too,
we must organize and measure the best of our energies and skills to stay within 2°C. We call upon you, world leaders, to recognize the gravity of the situation, and to call upon all of us to rise to the occasion. We owe nothing less to ourselves, to future
generations, and to Earth itself.
Founding Signatories See http://unsdsn.org/climate-letter/
Total signatories today, 11 August 2014, 6,452
Co-signed as IUCN/WCPA Member: Andreas Speich, on 26 July 2014