Johan Rockström is one of the world’s most influential Earth scientists. As director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, he advises governments, corporations and activists, including his Swedish compatriot, Greta Thunberg, about the latest research on the climate and biodiversity and argues for better science communication. Last year, he co-edited Standing Up for a Sustainable World, a book that brought together essays from climatologists, economists, environmental defenders, financiers and school strike activists. In recent months, he has teamed up with David Attenborough to create a new Netflix series, Breaking Boundaries: The Science of Our Planet, participated in President Joe Biden’s climate summit and co-organised a declaration by more than 100 Nobel laureates. Scientifically, we now have a very unfortunate set of data in front of us. We know that the likely impact on humans of climate disruption, mass extinction and air pollution is very, very high indeed. The probability is also uncomfortably high. This adds up to a very high risk. Now divide that by time. We have unequivocal evidence that we have entered a decisive decade. If we have any chance to prevent the loss of more than a million species, we must halt biodiversity loss now, not in 20 or 30 years. If we want to have any chance of keeping global warming to 1.5C, we need to cut emissions by half over the next nine years. That is what the Nobel laureates and other scientists are speaking out about. This isn’t just a matter of raising the volume on the same old data – it is a new juncture. We are running out of time.
Observer 29th May 2021 read more »
Margaret Atwood: The oceans are the living heart and lungs of our planet. They produce most of the oxygen in our atmosphere, and through their circulating currents they control climate. Without healthy oceans, we land-dwelling, air-breathing mid-sized primates will die. The republication of the marine biologist Rachel Carson’s first three books – Under the Sea-Wind, The Sea Around Us and The Edge of the Sea – marks a new, widespread recognition of these facts. When Carson was writing these books, in America in the late 1930s, the 1940s, and the 1950s, a number of things that are now realities in our world had not yet happened. There were warning signs, but these warnings were only glimmers. Few were aware that we had entered the age of the Sixth Great Extinction. The nascent climate crisis had not impacted public consciousness. Large-scale industrial fishing was just beginning, and the cod stocks of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland had not yet crashed due to overfishing.
Telegraph 30th May 2021 read more »