‘Continuing to say publicly 1.5°C is still alive is no longer defensible’, warn 1,000+ academics

Over 1,000 academics from more than 40 countries have signed an open letter calling ontheir peers to ‘share with the public what they share with each other about the world'sresponse to climate change and biodiversity loss’.

The open letter organised and self-published by the climate action group Scientist Rebellion, has been signed by leading academics and IPCC lead authors. A full list of signatories spanning academic disciplines including: physical sciences, economics, mathematics, socialsciences and psychology, is viewable here.

Signatory to the letter, Professor Marta Guadalupe Rivera Ferre, a food systems expert and an IPCC lead author, says: “This is a landmark statement from academia. It underlines theurgent need for experts to state clearly to the general public, politicians and the environmental movement, that there is no viable pathway for staying below 1.5°C.”

Signatory to the letter Dr Stella Nyambura Mbau, a post-doctorate in sustainable development from Kenya, says: “It is critical that academics from across the global north findt heir voice about the failure to stay below 1.5C of warming. Academics in the global south need our peers across Europe and North America to speak out, since they are so much closer to the centres of political and economic power that resist climate action. This has never been more urgent now that a 1.5C+ world approaches.”

The letter states: “Senior academics accept there is no plausible pathway to 1.5°C. This requires global emissions to peak before 2025 and be reduced by 43% by 2030. Even that would likely lead to 1.5°C being exceeded within the next ten years. The most optimistic scenario reported by the IPCC rests on the hypothetical deployment of large-scale carbon dioxide removal technologies to drag temperatures back down by the end of the century.” It continues: “Continuing to say publicly 1.5°C is still alive is no longer defensible, yet politicians, leading academics and the environmental movement persist in doing so. In response, polluting industries and policymakers are inadvertently being encouraged to resist rapid decarbonisation”. Signatory to the letter Professor Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London says: "Giving the public impression that we can stay this side of the 1.5°C dangerous climate change guardrail is perilous, misleading and just plain wrong. Not only does it suggest that we can still dodge all-pervasive climate breakdown, but it provides an excuse for politicians to continue prevaricating and for polluters to keep polluting.”

In response, the letter calls upon the community of scientists working across all aspects ofclimate change to make a public statement ahead of COP27 consisting of the following:

  • “First, make clear the inevitability of missing the 1.5°C goal as laid out by the IPCC inits latest assessment”.
  • "Second, set out the challenge of restricting temperature rise to ‘well below 2°C’ (in line with 2015 Paris Agreement) using the most conservative assumptions about the potential of negative emissions technologies. This is to reflect scientific uncertainty on the subject, and to show the public the enormity of reducing carbon emissions inline with scientific findings".
  • "Finally, and in direct response to the above, call for the three pillars of climate policy– mitigation, adaptation, and compensation (i.e. loss & damage) – to be effective. This means rich nations treating a still unmet pledge to deliver $100 billion perannum to help poorer countries to cope with climate change, as a minimum starting point".

About Scientist Rebellion

We are a climate action group with over one thousand members across 32 countries. Our members are science students to senior lecturers across a variety of scientific backgrounds. We all believe scientists must take non-violent direct action to gain credibility. During acts of civil resistance we identify ourselves wearing lab coats. The Climate Emergency Fund supports Scientist Rebellion’s recruitment, training, capacity-building, and educational efforts.

More info at: https://scientistrebellion.com