page:
contents page
previous next
zoom out zoom in
thumbnails double page single page large double page
fit width
clip to blog
 
page:
contents page
previous next
zoom out zoom in
thumbnails double page single page large double page
fit width
clip to blog

TH E ECOLOGIST' S DECLARATIO N O N CLIMAT E CHANG E

tions in the atmosphere to 1990 levels - around 350 parts per mil­ lion by volume (ppmv), whilst never exceeding 400ppmv. A high­ er concentration (including that proposed by the EU of 550ppmv - almost twice the pre-industrial level) would involve straying into a danger zone of catastrophic climatic instability.

• To achieve this goal, a target of 30 years to have cut CO: emis­ sions by 70-80 per cent below 1990 levels, and 50 years for a near total phase-out of fossil fuels should be adopted. This is the very minimum that the current crisis demands. While it may be chal­ lenging for many countries, it is the political will to implement policy options which is the biggest challenge, not the technologi­ cal one.

• Implement nothing less than a crash programme to meet these targets. Measures should be put in place to significantly reduce energy use. Our remaining energy requirements should be met by a combination of existing renewable energy technologies - quite feasible i f invested in sufficiently and produced on a large enough scale.

• Transfer all public subsidies and encourage the transfer of pri­ vate investment away from supporting fossil fuels and cars towards supporting ecologically sustainable renewables and pub­ lic transport. This applies in equal measure to loans and invest­ ments to developing countries from the industrialised world and the international financial institutions. It should be recognised that in developing countries, where dependence upon fossil fuels is less, it will be far easier to turn rapidly towards a renewable ener­ gy path. Everything should be done, therefore, to enable this.

• Change taxation systems to reflect the need to discourage the use of fossil fuels and cars.

• End the exploration and development of new oil, coal and gas reserves immediately.

• Set in place a far more effective, inclusive and hence equitable international political mechanism to curb the consumption of fos­ sil fuels in all countries. The only realistic means proposed so far of achieving this is a formal global programme of "Contraction and Convergence", as advocated by GLOBE International (the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment) and by an increasing number of governments in Europe, Africa and the majority of Southern countries in the so-called Group of 77 and China.

• Recognise that the avoidance of serious climate change cannot succeed without the protection of the planet's natural sinks.

• Hence, take immediate action to stop the continued destruction of the world's remaining forests, particularly tropical rainforests critical for the stability of global climate. At the international level, legally-binding forest protection must be negotiated, even i f this requires the provision of compensation to those countries that possess the principal standing forests. In developed countries, consumption of wood and wood-derived paper will have to be reduced by two-thirds. Measures should also be put in place to ensure massive reforestation, while avoiding monoculture planta­ tions of fast-growing exotics where possible.

• Take immediate action to eliminate all ozone-depleting chemi­ cals - responsible for a hole in the ozone layer that in 1998 was larger than ever - and that are still being produced despite the Montreal Protocol. Also, make the removal of CFCs from all appliances prior to disposal a legal requirement. Unless this is achieved, the phytoplankton in the oceans, upon which we depend

to absorb carbon dioxide, will continue to be destroyed by increas­ ing ultraviolet radiation.

• Transfer all public subsidies away from supporting industrial agriculture, which is largely responsible for the unrelenting destruction of our agricultural soils - another important sink for carbon dioxide - and for substantial emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane. Instead, a rapid transition to lowimpact, ecologically-based organic farming for local consumption should be promoted.

• Reverse the current subordination of ecological and social imperatives to the short-term interests of corporations and investors and the maximisation of world trade. Large-scale global trade massively increases the distance goods are transported, resulting in more greenhouse gas emissions, whilst simultaneous­ ly exerting powerful deregulatory pressures that inhibit govern­ ments from raising environmental standards.

Hence, the provision of subsidies and the signing of treaties that increase this trend should cease. A change of direction towards the nurturing of a network of more self-sustaining, local economies and an end to undemocratic corporate influence on the political process is essential.

• • •

Whilst the changes that are required may seem great, we are not calling upon people to make huge sacrifices. All of the measures that we have outlined, essential to prevent dangerous climatic dis­ ruption, are needed whether or not our climate is in danger, as they will help solve many of the other major problems that confront us today, such as unemployment, il l health and threats to peace. Implementing these measures will ensure that -

• more jobs are created and income saved from the development of new renewable technologies and from the re-emergence of strong local economies;

• a vast improvement in our health takes place with clean air in our cities;

• greater world security is achieved as tensions over the control of oil in the Middle East and elsewhere are diminished;

• the planet's rainforests, the lungs of the world and home to 5080 percent of animal and plant species, are saved from destruction;

• greater food security and better health are attained with ecologi­ cally sustainable methods of agriculture.

Whilst avoiding the worst impacts of climate change, our entire quality of life will also improve. The benefits of such action are clearly huge and the costs low when compared with the massive costs of inaction which climatic destabilisation would inevitably inflict.

• • •

It is for these reasons that we call upon our political and corporate leaders to face their responsibilities and take immediate action to protect our climate.

We urge members of the public and all non-governmental organisations to organise grass roots movements to exert pressure on our governments to ensure they achieve this goal.

Too much time has already been wasted and it is running out fast. We cannot wait until major climate catastrophes strike the developed world and wake us from our slumber - by then it will be too late. We need political action now. A crash programme is therefore an imperative. We have no alternative.

56

The Ecologist, Vol. 29, No 2, March/April 1999 TH E ECOLOGIST S DECLARATIO N O N CLIMAT E CHANG E

Signatories A SEED Europe, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Carl Anthony - Urban Habitat Program, San Francisco, USA. Homero Aridjis - Founder & President of 'Grupo de los Cien', Mexico. President of PEN International. Received the UNEP Global 500 Award in 1985. Henk von Arkel - Director, STROHALM, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Dr. Tim Bayliss-Smith - Senior Lecturer of Geography, St. John's College, Cambridge, UK. Maria Becket - Religion, Science & the Environment, London, UK. Robert W. Benson - Professor of Law, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, USA. Professor David Bellamy - Botanist, author and broadcaster. Director, The Conservation Foundation, and Trustee, WWF London UK,. Father Thomas Berry - Cultural Historian, Theologian, Author of 'The Universe Story', USA. Wendell Berry- Ecologist poet and novelist, Kentucky, USA. Dr. Richard O. Bierregaard Junior - Biology Department, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, USA. Brent Blackwelder - Director of Friends of the Earth, Washington D.C, USA. Dr. Egbert Boeker - Professor of Environmental Physics, Vrye University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Professor Hartmut Bossel - Sustainable Systems Research, University of Kassel, Germany. Dr. Richard A. Bradley - Associate Professor ofEEO Biology, Ohio State University, Ohio, USA. Christopher Le Breton - Executive Director, GLOBE-International, Brussels, Belgium. Associate Professor Lars Broman - Director, Solar Energy Research Center, Dalarna University, Borlange, Sweden. David R. Brower - Founder of Friends of the Earth & Earth Island Institute, USA. Dr. David Brown - Forest Resources, Seattle, USA. Beth Burrows - Director, The Edmonds Institute, Washington D.C, USA. Francis Caas - Director, GLOBE - Southern Africa, Cape Town, South Africa. Dr. Fritjof Capra - Elmwood Institute, Berkeley, USA, author of The Tao of Physics'. Professor E . Carr Everbach - Chair, Environmental Studies, Swarthmore College, USA. Moss Cass - Former Minister for the Environment in Australia. Anthony Cortese, Sc.D. - President, Second Nature Inc., Boston, USA. Sandra Coveny - Co-President, Society for Conservation, Corvallis, USA. Britta Coy - Green City Germany, A SEED Europe. Kevin Danaher - Director, Global Exchange, San Francisco, USA. Dr. Ian Darton-Hill - Helen Keller International, New York, USA. Dr. Joan S. Davis - President, ECOROPA, Zurich, Switzerland. Ulf Doerner - Ingenieurbuero fuer Umwelttechnik, Muenchen, Germany. Richard Douthwaite - Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability, Westport, Republic of Ireland. Mark Dowie - Author of 1 Losing Ground: American Environmentalism at the Close of the Twentieth Century'. Mark Dubrulle - President, European Society for Environment & Development, Brussels, Belgium. Seth Dunn - Worldwatch Institute, Washington D.C, USA. Dr. David Ehrenfeld - Professor of Biology, Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA. Dr. Joan Ehrenfeld - Professor of Ecology, Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA. Dr. Richard W. England - Director of the Center for Business & Economic Research, University of New Hampshire, USA. Paul R. Epstein - M.D., M.P.H., Associate Director, Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA. Dr. Heiner Feldhaus - Director, oeco-Capital Insurance, Munich, Germany. Zsusanna Flachner - Institute of Environmental Management, Environmental Survey Office, Budapest, Hungary. Dr. Tamas Fleischer - Senior Research Fellow, Institute of World Economics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences - Budapest, Hungary.

Professor Elisabet Fogelqvist - Analytical & Marine Chemistry, Goeteborg University, Sweden. Uwe Fritsche - Energy Coordination, oko-Institut, Darmstadt, Germany. Alain-Claude Galtie - Ecologist and writer, Paris, France. Maneka Gandhi - Former Minister for the Environment, Current Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment, India. Ross Gelbspan - Journalist, Pulitzer Prize winner, Author of 'The Heat is On. Susan George - President of VObservatoire de la Mondialisation, Paris, France. Herbert Girardet - Chairman, The Schumacher Society, London, UK. Dr. Michael H. Glantz - Director, Environmental & Societal Impact Group, National Center for Atmospheric Research - Boulder, USA. Robert Goodland - Washington D.C, USA. Dr. Eban Goodstein - Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, USA. Andy Gouldson - Lecturer in Environmental Policy, Department of Geography & Environment, London School of Economics, London. GREENPEACE International, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Eduardo Gudynas - Latin American Center for Social Ecology, Uruguay. Bishop Thomas J . Gumleton - Bishop of Detroit, Michigan, Founder of 'Pax Christi'. Professor Michael G. Hadfield - Director, Kewalo Marione Laboratory, Honolulu, USA. Marie Haisova - Argentura Gaia, Praha, Czech Republic. Jonathan Harris - Senior Research Associate, Global Development and Environment Institute - Tufts University, Medford, USA. Hermann Hatzfeld - Arbeitsgemeinschaft Naturgemaesse Waldwirtschaft, FSC Arbeitsgruppe Deutschland, Germany. Jan Haverkamp - Environmentalist, Czech Republic. Randall Hayes - President, Rainforest Action Network, San Francisco, USA. Dr. G.P. Hekstra - European Editor of Land Degradation & Development, Harich, the Netherlands. Steve Hellinger - President, The Development GAP, Washington D.C, USA. Max Henriques - Meterologist, Director of Serial del Clima, Columbian Television, Bogota, Columbia. Jim Hightower - Broadcaster, Austin, Texas, USA. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho - Biology Department, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK. Henk Hobbelink - Founder of GRAIN, Barcelona, Spain. Oliver Hoedman - Corporate Europe Observatory, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Willem Hoogendiyk - Stichting Aarde, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Dr. Mikulas Huba - Society for Sustainable Living in the Slovac Republic, Bratislava, Slovakia. Mohammed Idris - President, Third World Network & Consumer's Association of Penang, Penang, Malaysia. Stephen Joseph - Executive Director, Transport 2000, London UK. Tony Juniper - Policy & Campaigns Director, Friends of the Earth, London, UK. Alexander Karpov - St. Petersburg Society for Naturalists, St. Petersburg, Russia. James R. Karr - Professor of Fisheries & Zoology, Adjunct Professor of Civil Engineering, Environmental Health & Public Affairs, University of Washington, Seattle, USA. Danny Kennedy - Director, Project Underground, Berkeley, USA. Imran Khan - Founder of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, President of Pakistan's Tehruk Insaaf Party. Martin Khor - Director, Third World Network and Penang's Consumer Association, Malaysia. Andy Kimbrell - Executive Director, International Center for Technology Assessment, Washington DC, USA. Professor Hermann Knoflacher - Institut fuer Verkehrs-planung & technik, Technische Universitaet, Vienna, Austria. Dr. Florianne Koechlin - Biologist, Muenchenstein, Switzerland. Christina Kopernik-Steckel - European Youth Forest Action, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The Ecologist, Vol. 29, No 2, March/April 1999

57