Rise of scientists: scientists take action to save the climate

It’s not enough for them to sound the alarm. Starting this week, scientists from around 20 countries, united in Scientist Rebellion, are planning civil disobedience actions to highlight the urgency of climate action inspired by Extinction Rebellion activists.

The launch of their campaign is based on Monday’s release of a UN Climate Change Experts (IPCC) report on solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, several Scientist Rebellion members tell AFP.

Non-violent actions are planned against leading universities, research centers and scientific journals to encourage all of their employees to speak out more strongly and fight what the group describes as an existential threat to the world of humanity.

“Scientists are especially powerful messengers and we have a responsibility to show leadership,” said Charlie Gardner, a tropical biodiversity specialist at the University of Kent in the UK.

But “we are not doing our duty. If we say it’s an emergency, we must act accordingly.”

From Monday, the group hopes to see “high levels of civil disobedience” from thousands of scientists around the world in action against the notions of governments and academic institutions.

With about +1.1°C of warming since the pre-industrial era, the world is already the victim of an increase in extreme events, heat waves, droughts, floods or storms. And this is just the beginning, as the recently published first two parts of the IPCC on climate physics and impacts have shown.

The Scientist Rebellion group was formed in 2020 by two physics doctoral students from St Andrews College in Scotland, modeled after climate activists Extinction Rebellion, who have been talking about them for several years now.

In their first major action a year ago, about a hundred scientists attacked science publication giant Springer Nature and the British Royal Society. “We have pinned giant copies of their papers to their desks calling for rapid transformation,” said Kyle Topher, an Australian academic and activist for the group.

– “A Question of Survival” –

During COP26, the UN climate conference in Glasgow in November 2021, several participants were arrested.

“To the best of our knowledge, this was the first mass arrest of scientists in the world since Carl Sagan spoke out against nuclear testing in the 1980s,” said Charlie Gardner.

They also made headlines by releasing a preliminary version of the IPCC report, due on Monday, which notes that greenhouse gas emissions must peak within three years if the world is to hope to meet its targets. 2°С, if possible +1.5°С.

A group of “Rise of Scientists” demonstrators in Glasgow on the sidelines of the COP26 summit, November 8, 2021 (AFP/Archive – ANDY BUCHANAN)

“As scientists, we’re not risk-averse, we don’t want to put our work, our reputation, our time at risk,” said Rose Abramoff, a soil scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

“But it’s no longer enough to do our research and wait for others to read it and understand the gravity and urgency of the climate crisis,” insists this Scientist Rebellion activist who wants this crisis to be “impossible” from now on. ignore”.

Many members of this group live in developing countries at the forefront of the impact of global warming, but where the civil movement for climate change has so far been more limited than in rich countries.

“I don’t know if this is our last chance, but time is definitely running out,” said Jordan Cruz, an Ecuadorian engineer who studies the impact of mining on Andean communities.

“I’m horrified,” he told AFP. “But the motivation comes from fear. It’s about survival.”

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