Scientists around the world mobilized on Monday to demand a “climate revolution”, holding rallies and staging acts of civil disobedience in a bid to make the planetary emergency “impossible to ignore”.
With a kickoff timed to coincide with the release of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on Monday, researchers around the world will take part in the Scientists Rebellion this week, organizing strikes and occupations in universities, research institutes and scientific journals to demand that the community speak out forcefully against continued fossil fuel emissions to underscore “the urgency and injustice of the climate and ecological crisis”.
“In short, there’s no good reason for me to do this work if I’m not also pushing for climate action.”
“We haven’t made the changes necessary to limit warming to 1.5°C, which makes that goal effectively impossible,” said Dr Rose Abramoff, an American climatologist, referring to the target set by the United States. Paris climate agreement in 2015. “We need both to understand the consequences of our inaction and to limit fossil fuel emissions as much as possible and as quickly as possible.”
For scientists, Abramoff added, “it is no longer enough to do our research and expect others to read our publications and understand the gravity and urgency of the climate crisis.”
A neuroscientist named Jonathan has posted a video on social media explaining why he is participating in the Scientist Rebellion.
“With our civilization poised to collapse under the weight of climate catastrophe decades from now, incremental advances in understanding are unnecessary,” he said. “In short, there’s no good reason for me to do this work if I’m not also pushing for climate action.”
The Scientist Rebellion is set to be the biggest campaign of civil disobedience ever led by scientists, with experts at risk of arrest in at least 25 countries on every continent of the world.
In Germany, scientists displayed more than 100 posters demanding a climate revolution “after more than 100 days of criminal failure” by the government “to act in accordance with scientific guidance on the climate crisis”.
Climate Action Tracker a assessed Germany’s climate policies, including a coal phase-out by 2038 and a net-zero emissions target of 2045, are “insufficient” to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
Scientists in Spain occupied the campus of the University of Granada on Monday, call for the institution to include “a compulsory module in all its degrees, dedicated to the climate crisis of energy and resources, the collapse of ecosystems and the interrelated systemic impact of these crises”.
“Scientists are particularly powerful messengers, and we have a responsibility to show leadership,” said Charlie Gardner, a conservation scientist at the University of Kent. Recount France Media Agency. “We are failing in this responsibility. If we say it is an emergency, we must act as if it is.”
More than 1,000 scientists are expected to take part in “high levels of disobedience” following the release of the latest IPCC report, which the US and other wealthy nations have tried to water down in what Friends of the Earth International (FOEI) called “a desperate attempt to escape responsibility.”
“The outlook is ecocide, plus genocide, and requires a strong social reaction. We are hundreds of scientists calling on our colleagues from all disciplines to join us in the streets.”
Rich countries have fought to ‘erase references to key concepts like loss and damage and to water down references to the scale of finance needed for adaptation’, FOEI notedeven after the latest IPCC report warned that by burning fossil fuels, humans are producing “unprecedented” global warming and endangering biodiverse ecosystems and frontline communities – with deadly droughts and other effects hitting countries that did little to cause the crisis.
“We are living in an absolutely exceptional historical situation, in terms not only of the history of our universities, our cities or our countries, but of the history of the human species and of planet Earth in the broad sense”, said said Professor Jorge Riechmann, a Spanish sociologist.
“The outlook is ecocide, plus genocide, and requires a strong social reaction,” he continued. “We are hundreds of scientists calling on our colleagues from all disciplines to join us in the streets, to live up to the truth of the words we write: that if we don’t act now, not only will total disaster is certain; but it would happen in the most unfair way possible, where those who caused the problem the least are those who suffer the most from it. I feel a moral obligation to prevent this from happening.
A lack of direct action among scientists and climate experts, said a Scientist Rebellion participant, is tantamount to knowing a house is about to burn down but taking no action to convince those in the building to get out of harm’s way.
“Imagine two people sitting in a house,” said Mike Lynch-White, a former PhD candidate in theoretical physics who is now a full-time climate activist. “One turns to the other and calmly states that the house is on fire and the roof is about to collapse and kill them both, before returning to their morning paper. He would be completely unreasonable for the other to believe in the threat, no matter how real it is.”
“Scientist Rebellion will be on the streets between April 4-9, acting like our house is on fire,” organizers said. “Because it is.”