Act now or face an uncontrolled experiment on planet Earth, Nobel laureates and other experts warn

Humanity can and must act to counter “colossal” risks with future, say Nobel laureates and other experts in a statement following the Nobel Prize Summit

Story highlights

  • The Nobel Prize Summit Our Planet, Our Future brough together Nobel Prize laureates, scientists, policymakers, business leaders, and youth leaders to explore what can be achieved to put the world on a path to a more sustainable, more prosperous future for all of humanity
  • The summit was hosted by the Nobel Foundation and organised by the US National Academy of Sciences in partnership with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the Stockholm Resilience Centre/Beijer Institute
  • The statement concludes two days of scientific deliberations as part of the summit

Nobel laureates and academics participating in the scientific sessions of the first Nobel Prize Summit have issued a statement calling for urgent action to value the long-term potential of humanity.

Coordinated by Nobel laureate Brian Schmidt, the vice chancellor and president of the Australian National University, the statement says, “Humanity is taking colossal risks with our common future.”

Schmidt says, “This statement makes clear that this is a critical decade. Humanity is skating on thin ice with our common future. Decisions made now will affect the long-term stability of Earth’s biosphere. There is still time, but only if we take decisive action.”

If we do not act now we run an uncontrolled experiment on Earth’s life-support system. We are the last generation with a reasonable chance of retaining long-term stability of critical parts of the Earth system. Yet solutions for a sustainable future are on the table, all we need to do is implement them.

Johan Rockström, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and a signatory of the statement

The statements highlights the time pressure to act at scale and the links between inequality and long-term ecological crises: “The next decade is crucial: global greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut by half and destruction of nature halted and reversed. An essential foundation for this transformation is to address destabilizing inequalities in the world.”

“Reducing inequality raises social capital. There is a greater sense of community and more trust in government. These factors make it easier to make collective, long-term decisions.”

The statement concludes two days of scientific deliberations as part of the first Nobel Prize Summit, 26-28 April.

The signatories to the statement have signed as individuals, not as institutions.

Read the statement

Explore from the Nobel Prize Summit

Topics: Anthropocene
Published: 2021-04-29

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