An urgent call to world leaders to prevent catastrophic climate change
To commit to CO2 reductions in line with scientific recommendations
The United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris is only a few weeks away. This global conference is our last chance to tackle catastrophic climate change. If the negotiations fail, there is no plan B – COP21 is effectively the end of the line.
In 1992 the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was established to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations”. Since then we have endured failed negotiations, broken promises, distant targets and shattered hope.
When world leaders meet for COP21 they must commit to effective and practical steps to prevent average global temperature increases of above 2°C. According to climate scientists, existing pledges by governments fall short of achieving this target, which itself is woefully inadequate. Even now many countries are starting to feel the devastating impact of climate change.
In the last 250 years, average global temperatures have already increased by 1.0°C. The Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) submitted by governments up to now, even if fully implemented, will actually increase warming to around 2.7°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100. For decades, scientists have been warning us about the threats of climate change and its impact on the world: How parts of Africa, South Asia and Latin America will heat up more and more, with temperatures becoming increasingly intolerable. How rising sea levels will endanger billions of people, particularly those in low-lying countries such as Bangladesh, the Marshall Islands and the Maldives, as well as people in cities such as Tokyo, Shanghai, New York and London. How melting glaciers will flood river valleys and then, when they have disappeared, unprecedented droughts will occur.
Pope Francis issued a dire warning to the world when addressing the UN General Assembly: “The ecological crisis, and the large-scale destruction of biodiversity, can threaten the very existence of the human species.”
World leaders can no longer ignore the warnings. COP21 is their last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change. They must deliver a comprehensive, just and legally binding climate agreement with adequate provisions for mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, Green Climate Fund financial investments, technology development and transfer, and implementation mechanisms, with safeguards for traditional communities, indigenous peoples’ rights and an emphasis on human rights and gender equality. They must commit to ensure the integrity and resilience of natural ecosystems, restore degraded and deforested land and to transfer subsidies from fossil fuel and nuclear to renewable energy.
We must not forget that we are fighting for our survival, the survival of our children and our children’s children – the survival of future generations. Beyond that, we are fighting for the preservation of all life on Earth. We the appeal to world leaders to do what is necessary to protect and safeguard life on earth – to commit to CO2 reduction targets in line with the best available scientific knowledge to prevent catastrophic climate change.
The Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation (BJHRF) and the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) have issued an Appeal to world leaders: “calling on them to deliver a comprehensive, just and legally binding climate agreement with adequate provisions for mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, Green Climate Fund financial investments, technology development and transfer, and implementation mechanisms, with safeguards for traditional communities, indigenous peoples’ rights and an emphasis on human rights and gender equality. They must commit to ensure the integrity and resilience of natural ecosystems, restore degraded and deforested land and to transfer subsidies from fossil fuel and nuclear to renewable energy”.
The petition has received a tremendous response. Here are some of the names of people who have endorsed it: Frederic Mion, President of the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), Craig Calhoun, Director of the London School of Economics (LSE), John Joughin, Vice-Chancellor of the University of East London (UEL), Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, many of the Laureates from the Right Livelihood Awards, also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize including Alan Rusbridger, the former editor of The Guardian, David Suzuki, Scientist and Broadcaster; NGOs including: Sir Ghillean Prance, Scientific Director of the Eden Project, Scientist John Hemming, Chairman of Hemming Group, Peter Bennett, Executive Director of Rainforest Concern, Simon Counsell, Executive Director of the Rainforest Foundation UK, David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, John Sauven, Director of Greenpeace UK, Homero Aridjis, president of the Group of 100 and Emeritus PEN International; from the entertainment world: Patrick Stewart, Stephen Fry, Annie Lennox, Livia Firth, film producer and Creative Director of Eco-Age, filmmaker Eva Aridjis; architects: Norman Foster, David Chipperfield; art world: Thaddaeus Ropac, Julia Peyton-Jones (the Serpentine Gallery), Nicholas Logsdail (the Lisson Gallery), Yoko Ono, Tracey Emin, Anish Kapoor, Ross Blackner, Antony Gormley, Martin Creed, Bill Viola, Not Vital, Robert Longo, Richard Long, Manolo Blahnik, Raqib Shaw, Jules de Balincourt, Jason Martin, RETNA (Marquis Lewis), Ghazel, Francesco Vezzoli, Vivienne Westwood and Andreas Kronthaler; UN: Amir Dossal, Executive Director of UN Office for Partnerships, and many others.
This petition can only make an impact if it becomes global and viral. It would mean a lot to us if you would go to MoveOn.org and sign up http://goo.gl/rv7c0u and if you could share the petition with your networks, colleagues and friends, asking them to sign it.