Agence France-PresseApril 30, 2021 14:16:28 IST
The failure to halt climate change, the destruction of nature, and other intertwined global crises pose an existential risk to humanity, ten Nobel laureates announced on Thursday after the first-ever Nobel Summit. Only profound changes in society’s production, distribution and consumption of almost everything – from energy – can prevent potentially catastrophic changes, they said in a joint statement signed by 20 other top thinkers. “We need to reinvent the relationship with the planet,” the statement said. “Without the effects of change in this decade, humanity will take enormous risks with our common future.”
They pointed out that the risks of pandemics are now greater due to the destruction of natural habitats, well-networked societies and the spread of fake news on social networks.
According to Nobel laureates, societies need to repair and restore the “global commonalities” that have allowed our species to flourish – climate, ice, land, ocean, fresh water, forests, soil, and the rich diversity of life that govern the state of the planet.
“Now there is an existential need to build economies and societies that support the harmony of the earth rather than disrupt it,” they warned.
“The next decade is crucial: global greenhouse gas emissions must be halved and the destruction of nature must be halted and vice versa.”
Humanity’s carbon emissions can emit and still limit global warming by 1.5 degrees Celsius – our “carbon budget” – will run out before 2030, scientists have calculated.
The average global temperature has already risen by 1.2 ° C compared to industrial times.
At the same time, energy demand is growing: every week by 2050, the country’s population will grow by about 1.3 million.
Nobel signatories included economists Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University and Oliver Hart of Harvard, biophysicists William Moerner of Stanford and Jacques Dubochet of the University of Lausanne, and astrophysicist Brian Schmidt of the Australian National University.
The last generation that can work
There is no Nobel Prize for the environment or geography.
“What we are doing is an uncontrolled experiment in a system that sustains life on Earth,” said Earth scientist Johan Rockstrom, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research and signatory to the opinion.
“We are the last generation with a reasonable chance of maintaining the long-term stability of critical parts of the planet.”
The planet has sent one red flag after another about a climate system that penetrates the edge of dangerous landfills, it was said.
Some parts of the Antarctic ice sheet may have already exceeded irreversible melting limits, and the circulation of North Atlantic currents, which ensures mild winters in Europe, has slowed.
Rainforests, permafrost and coral reefs approach dumps in the same way.
Increasing inequalities and distortions in information sharing have also reached the level of global crises, Nobel warned.
“These transnational crises are interconnected and threaten the enormous benefits we have achieved in human development,” they wrote.
Mankind is “only waking up late” to these challenges, but it still has time to act, the statement outlines seven critical areas.
Biologists Linda Buck from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Elizabeth H.Blackburn of the University of California at San Francisco, as well as virologist Charles Rice of Rockefeller University, also signed.