Global warming threatens the future of the earth. Act now, before it is too late.

Update, September 2012:

The appeal below, now signed by 1150 citizens of 47 countries, is as valid today as when we posted it four years ago. In fact, it is more urgent than ever. The “much worse” we feared in our first paragraph is arriving.

We noted in our text of 2008 a warning from the International Energy Agency: that warming beyond an already dangerous 2°C could be unstoppable if CO2 emissions did not level off by 2012. Well, here we are in 2012. Emissions continue to climb; extremely hot weather has decimated the U.S. grain crop; earth scientists predict a century of drought; wildfires, similar to those in California and Greece a few years ago, have devastated large swathes of the American West; and torrential rains have caused flooding, death and evacuations from Southern Russia to heavily populated mega-cities of East Asia: Beijing, Shanghai and Manila. The end-of-summer Arctic sea ice melt was so extensive this year that scientists anticipate the melting of all Arctic sea ice by the summer of 2020 instead of in 2050, as predicted in the worst case scenario of the UN IPCC report of 2007.

Climate skepticism fed by big oil and coal interests is crumbling in the extreme weather, amid the increasing scientific certainty that climate change is behind it. But one climate summit after another fails to produce an international treaty to mitigate future damage.

Although we are a small organization, we can be a significant force for climate sanity. From our base in the Netherlands, we have outreach through our signatories to activists and committed Green parliamentarians in several countries as well as in the European Parliament.

Apart from maintaining a useful file of climate news, opinion and documents, our aim is to work together with global climate lobbies and citizen organizations such as the Climate Action Network, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, WWF, and Avaaz, to alert the citizenry and move the governments to action.

Sign our Appeal, ask your friends to sign, and help us create a safe planet for future generations.

The Arctic melts, as does the Greenland ice shelf. California burns, as did the forests of Greece. The poor of Mozambique and Bangladesh drown, as did those of New Orleans. The farmers of central Africa, whose fields are turning into desert, are exposed to starvation, exile and war. Much worse may be coming. Scientists have warned that the deadline for reversing the steady increase in greenhouse gas emissions may be as early as 2012, if we are to avoid the planetary catastrophe of warming in excess of two degrees centigrade. But in December 2007, while the rain forests of Sumatra and the Amazon – the lungs of the earth – were being destroyed, representatives of 180 states conferred in Bali without result on the steps to be taken after 2012. A month later, comprehensive plans of the European Union to limit the damage were watered down after intense pressure from industrial lobbies fearful of their international competitive position.

A catastrophe is unfolding. It is already happening, it is accelerating and broadening. What can be done to avert it?

It's five minutes to twelve for stopping a warming catastrophe

For decades we have known that the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming need to be reduced. But appeals, protocols and trading schemes addressing industry, governments and individuals, have proven largely ineffective. According to the “reference scenario” of the OECD’s International Energy Agency, CO2 emissions will increase 57% by 2030. Even according to the IEA’s more optimistic “alternative scenario” (based on successful implementation of all known plans for curbing emissions and energy use), CO2 emissions, peaking in 2015, will have risen in 2030 by 27% compared with 2005. Global temperatures would accordingly rise by three degrees centigrade.

Climatologists have presented evidence that warming accelerates. Melted Arctic ice creates ever larger ocean surfaces that absorb the sun’s rays as heat instead of reflecting it back. As the huge West Siberian permafrost is beginning to thaw, it is releasing more and more of its 70 billion tons of methane frozen there, and contributing to the greenhouse effect. Such developments speed up warming and the weather disasters associated with it: continent-wide droughts, violent storms and flooding.

Beyond a two degree temperature increase, such chain reactions may spiral out of hand, possibly rendering the earth uninhabitable for humanity by the end of this century and in any case causing temperature rises unbearable for hundreds of millions, more droughts, more fires and more floods.  The IEA reports that such a temperature increase beyond 2 degrees could be unstoppable unless emissions do level off and start falling by 2012.

We have a very brief time window to reverse a huge global trend, from accelerating emissions to reductions worldwide. The question is not what can be done after 2012, but how to start reversing the greenhouse gas buildup now.

Only drastic and rapidly implemented governmental measures to curb emissions can prevent a planetary catastrophe. These should include:

  • fiscal discouragement of the use of fossil fuels in cars, airplanes and ships; a curb on needless long-distance transportation, and a halt to airport and highway expansion in the developed countries; encouragement of consumption of local produce; a WTO-supported ban on further destruction of rain forests;
  • a concerted, properly-supported effort to develop and improve the production and application of sustainable energy sources;
  • a comprehensive program for transferring sustainable energy technologies to developing countries like China and India;
  • binding international trade agreements restricting and discouraging the import of goods whose production or transportation are environmentally harmful;
  • policies massively favouring energy-efficient public transport so that it becomes a viable alternative to the private use of cars.

These measures do not sit easily with our long-standing commitment to persistent economic and industrial growth and expanding world trade. They are nonetheless imperative. While encouraging the spread of sustainable agriculture, governments and corporate leaders will have to rethink their belief in industrial growth in the light of this emergency – it is industrial growth itself that threatens our planet, and with it the lives of fellow-humans and of our posterity.

As responsible citizens of a small and vulnerable world, we need to convince our governments and captains of industry that we are willing to make material sacrifices for the common good and future of humankind.

Governments and industrialists fear that costly curbs on emissions will damage economic prosperity and render them unpopular.

They assume that consumers care only for their short-term comforts.

They underestimate us.

We support all necessary global action, now.

[Sign the petition]