Over 1,000 experts on climate change are calling on the public to take action as activists.
In the 1990s, Wolfgang Cramer became involved with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He contributed to the second assessment report, published in 1995, which confirmed the scientific evidence of human-caused climate change. This report made it impossible for anyone to deny knowledge of the situation.
After nearly thirty years, Cramer was involved in a global group of scientists who compiled the sixth IPCC report. Their findings, released in March, served as a dire “last warning” for human civilization – the biosphere is in danger of irreversible harm.
Currently, as diplomats gather in Dubai for the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (Cop) climate negotiations, in a year that is expected to be the warmest ever recorded, and with carbon emissions still increasing, Cramer is among 33 authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) out of 1,447 scientists and academics who have signed an open letter urging the public to come together and prevent a climate crisis.
They issue a warning, expressing their fear and stating their need for assistance.
The letter, released by Scientist Rebellion, urges individuals to become climate advocates or activists no matter their location. It suggests joining or forming groups that promote policies for a better future and reaching out to existing active groups. Attending their meetings is also encouraged.
In order to ensure a sustainable future, it is crucial that climate action shifts from being a responsibility of some to a responsibility of all.
Delegates are currently meeting in the United Arab Emirates, a wealthy country known for its abundant oil reserves, for Cop28. Among their discussions is the debate of whether to “phase out” or “phase down” the use of fossil fuels, which are the main contributor to climate change. Additionally, a fund has been established for less affluent nations that are already suffering from climate-related disasters.
According to Cramer, he and his fellow scientists are becoming increasingly exasperated. He stated to the Guardian that Western and European governments have a habit of claiming they are already taking substantial action. While it is important to acknowledge and appreciate progress, we must continue to strive for more significant advancements.
“I believe the current issue with communication is not discussing the insufficiency and complete disconnect between the actions made by governments at Cops and their implementation of commitments at home, as well as the specific goals outlined in the Paris agreement.”
Before the 28th Conference of Parties (Cop28), the United Nations Environment Programme released a strong caution that current carbon reduction policies of countries are not sufficient. This could lead to a temperature increase of 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels by the end of this century, which is twice the limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) agreed upon in the Paris climate agreement to prevent the most devastating impacts of climate change.
The Scientist Rebellion letter states that no country is currently following a 1.5C pathway. This course of action will result in immense suffering, as large areas of our planet will become uninhabitable, leading to a significant number of refugees, widespread famine, and intense political conflicts.
The text argues that we do not have to accept this predicted future. It states that the solutions are out there, but their execution requires a widespread effort from society to overcome opposing interests that benefit from the current state of affairs.
The letter states that the elimination of fossil fuels must happen quickly, but the fact that the CEO of an oil company is chairing Cop28 highlights the significant impact of this established authority.
Minal Pathak, a faculty member at the global center for environment and energy at Ahmedabad University, was one of the signatories. She previously worked as a senior scientist in the technical support unit for working group III of the IPCC’s sixth report, which addressed climate change mitigation. Similar to Cramer, she has grown disillusioned with the perceived ineffectiveness of scientists’ warnings. In an interview with The Guardian, she expressed her frustration and anger.
“In the past, we believed that producing influential papers in reputable journals or releasing UN reports was the key to providing evidence,” she expressed. “However, it seems that this approach is not effective or not as effective as it should be. I am deeply disappointed with the current state of affairs. As a mother to a teenage daughter, I have witnessed this pattern for over ten years. What more needs to be done to spur action?”