Saturday, May 30, 2009

Nobel laureates compare climate crisis to threat from nuclear weapons

Guardian (UK): Twenty Nobel prizewinners, including US energy secretary Steven Chu, Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka, and Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai, have compared the threat of climate change to that posed to civilisation by nuclear weapons.

Borrowing a phrase from US civil rights leader Martin Luther King, they said at the end of a three-day climate change symposium hosted by Prince Charles in London: "We must recognise the fierce urgency of now. The evidence is compelling for the range and scale of climate impacts that must be avoided, such as droughts, sea level rise and flooding leading to mass migration and conflict. The scientific process, by which this evidence has been gathered, should be used as a clear mandate to accelerate the actions that need to be taken. Political leaders cannot possibly ask for a more robust, evidence-based call for action."

The laureates, who included physics and chemistry Nobel winners, called for urgent reduction in emissions. "Without directing current economic recovery resources wisely, and embarking on a path towards a low carbon economy, the world will have lost the opportunity to meet the global sustainability challenge. Decarbonising our economy offers a multitude of benefits, from addressing energy security to stimulating unprecedented technological innovation. A zero carbon economy is an ultimate necessity and must be seriously explored now."…

The XX-34 BADGER explosion on April 18, 1953, as part of Operation Upshot-Knothole, at the Nevada Test Site. US Department of Energy

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