(CNN) – As the world’s most powerful leaders prepare to meet at the virtual summit on climate convened by US President Joe Biden, the Dalai Lama and 100 other Nobel laureates have a clear message for them: keep fossil fuels underground.
These 101 Nobel laureates have written to Biden and those attending Thursday’s meeting, urging them to take concrete steps to phase out fossil fuels in order to avoid catastrophic climate change.
“The burning of fossil fuels is responsible for almost 80% of carbon dioxide emissions since the industrial revolution,” says the letter, shared exclusively with CNN, adding: “Allowing the continued expansion of this industry is inconceivable.” .
The signatories make it clear that they believe it is up to those attending the summit to act. “Leaders, not industry, have the power and moral responsibility to take bold action to address this crisis,” they say.
The awardees point to three steps that they say world leaders must take: end any expansion in oil, gas and coal production; phase out existing fossil fuel production in a fair and equitable manner; and invest heavily in the global transition to renewable energy.
“In addition to being the main source of emissions, the extraction, refining, transport and burning of fossil fuels carry local pollution, environmental and health costs. These costs are often paid by indigenous peoples and marginalized communities,” he says the letter.
The letter, coordinated by the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative, has been signed by some of the world’s leading scientists, pacifists and writers.
The long list of signatories includes Jody Williams, recipient of the 1997 Peace Prize for her campaign to ban landmines; women’s rights activist and 2011 Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee; Frances H. Arnold, awarded the 2018 Chemistry Award for conducting the first “directed evolution” of enzymes; Harald zur Hausen, 2008 Prize for Medicine and Physiology, who discovered that the human papillomavirus causes cervical cancer; Elfriede Jelinek, Prize for Literature 2005; and Christopher Pissarides, 2010 Economics Award.
Calls for the elimination of fossil fuels are not new. The United Nations (UN) says that such a measure is necessary if humanity wants to stop catastrophic man-made climate change.
The goal of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement is to limit warming to below 2 degrees Celsius and as close to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels as possible.
To achieve this, the world needs to reduce fossil fuel production by about 6% each year between 2020 and 2030, although current projections show an annual increase of 2%, according to the UN report on the output gap.
The UN said last year that the world is on track to produce 120% more fossil fuels by 2030 than scientists say is allowable to prevent the planet from warming more than 1.5 ° C, and 50% more fossil fuels. % more than we can burn to keep warming at 2 ° C.
And while the pandemic caused global greenhouse gas emissions to drop slightly last year, a new report released this week by the International Energy Agency claims the rebound is already taking place.
The report estimates that carbon emissions from energy use are on track to increase by 1.5 billion tonnes in 2021, as heavy consumption of coal in Asia, and China in particular, outpaces the rapid growth of sources. renewable. This would be the second largest annual increase in energy-related emissions in history.
The letter’s authors say that efforts to comply with the terms of the Paris Agreement and to reduce demand for fossil fuels will be undermined if supply continues to grow.
“The fossil fuel system is global and requires a global solution, a solution that the Leaders’ Climate Summit must work on,” they wrote. “And the first step is to keep fossil fuels underground.”
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Dalai Lama and 100 other Nobel Laureates Call for Fossil Fuel Elimination | CNN