There is no Planet B

On the 2nd of September, 2016, an open letter was posted to the Australian Prime Minister on the climate crisis, from 154 scientists. In light of the ratification of the Paris Agreement, which came into force on the 5th of October 2016, I feel it is worth publishing it below as my November JPIC blog article for those of you who have not seen it or are unaware of it. The letter is as follows:

Andrew Glikson,

Australian National University

Dear The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister of Australia,

The following is an open letter signed by 154 Australian atmospheric, marine, environmental, biological and medical scientists, including several leading climatologists, for your and your government’s attention.

There is no Planet B

In July 2016, global temperatures soared to the hottest in the 136 years of the instrumental record, 0.1℃ warmer than previous warm Julys in 2015, 2011 and 2009. It effects-of-climate-change-and-mitigation-policies-6-728followed a succession of rising temperatures, moving from 0.42℃ above average in 2000, to 0.87℃ above average by 2015.

Developments in the atmosphere-ocean system reported by major climate research organisations (including NASA, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US National Snow & Ice Data Center, the UK Met Office Hadley Centre, the Tyndall Centre, the Potsdam Institute; the science academics of dozens of nations; and in Australia the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology) include:

We are concerned that global warming, amplified by feedbacks from polar ice melt, methane release from permafrost, and extensive fires, may become irreversible, including the possible collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, a crucial component of the global climate system that transfers heat from the tropics to the North Atlantic.

According to James Hansen, NASA’s former chief climate scientist, “burning all fossil 22-devastating-effects-of-climate-changefuels would create a different planet than the one that humanity knows“. Joachim Schellnhuber, Germany’s chief climate scientist, has summed up the situation by saying: “We’re simply talking about the very life support system of this planet.”

We note your broad agreement with this point, in light of your 2010 statement that:

…we are as humans conducting a massive science experiment with this planet. It’s the only planet we have got… We know that the consequences of unchecked global warming would be catastrophic… We as a human species have a deep and abiding obligation to this planet and to the generations that will come after us.

While the Paris Agreement remains unbinding and global warming has received minimal attention in the recent elections, governments worldwide are presiding over a large-scale demise of the planetary ecosystems, which threatens to leave large parts of Earth uninhabitable.

We call on the Australian government to tackle the root causes of an unfolding climate tragedy and do what is required to protect future generations and nature, including meaningful reductions of Australia’s peak carbon emissions and coal exports, while there is still time.

There is no Planet B.

Signed:

  • Dr Christine Adams-Hosking, Conservation planner, University of Queensland
  • Associate Professor Stephen Adelstein, Medical scientist, University of Sydney
  • Professor Ross Alford, Tropical ecologist, James Cook University
  • Dr Wallace Ambrose, Archaeological anthropologist, ANU
  • Dr Martin Anda, Environmental engineer, Murdoch University
  • Dr Marion Anderston, Geochemist, Monash University
  • Professor Michael Archer, Paleontologist, UNSW Australia
  • Dr Leanne Armand, Marine Researcher, Macquarie University
  • Professor Patricia Armati, Medical scientist, University of Sydney
  • Professor Owen Atkin, Plant respiration researcher, ANU
  • Professor Elaine Baker, Marine scientist, University of Sydney
  • Associate Professor Cathy Banwell, Medical scientist, ANU
  • Dr Andrew Barnes, Aquatic animal health researcher, University of Queensland
  • Dr Fiona Beck, Renewable energy researcher, ANU
  • Dr Tom Beer, Climatic and environmental change researcher, CSIRO
  • Professor Andrew Blakers, Photovoltaics/energy storage researcher, ANU
  • Professor Phillip Board, Medical scientist, ANU
  • Professor Justin Borevitz, Plant geneticist, ANU
  • Dr Caryl Bosman, Environmental planning researcher, Griffith University
  • Professor David Bowman, Forestry researcher, University of Tasmania
  • Dr Timothy Broadribb, Plant Scientist, University of Tasmania
  • Dr Helen Brown, Environmental health researcher, Curtin University
  • Dr Tim Brown, Medicine and environment researcher, ANU
  • Professor Ralf Buckley, Conservation/ecotourism researcher, Griffith University
  • Dr Florian Busch, Plant scientist, ANU
  • Dr Jason Byrne, Urban design researcher, Curtin University
  • Professor Maria Byrne, Marine and developmental biologist, University of Sydney
  • Dr Martina Calais, Renewable energy researcher, Murdoch University
  • Associate Professor Craig Carter, Engineering and IT researcher, Murdoch University
  • Dr Phill Cassey, Ecologist, Adelaide University
  • Professor Carla Catterall, Ecologist, Griffith University
  • Dr Juleen Cavanaugh, Biomedical scientist, ANU
  • Professor Fred Chow, Plant biologist, ANU
  • Associate Professor David Cohen, Geochemist, UNSW Australia
  • Professor Steven Cooper, Evolutionary biologist, SA Museum
  • Professor Rod Connolly, Marine scientist, Griffith University
  • Professor Jann Conroy, Plant scientist, Western Sydney University
  • Dr Lucy Coupland, Medical scientist, ANU
  • Dr Joseph Coventry, Solar energy researcher, ANU
  • Dr Chris Creagh, Physicist, Murdoch University
  • Professor Patricia Dale, Environment/planning researcher, Griffith University
  • Dr Armanda Davies, Planning geographer, Curtin University
  • Dr Ian Davies, Forestry fire management researcher, ANU
  • Dr Kirsten Davies, Ethno-ecology and environmental law researcher, Macquarie University
  • Dr Robert Davis, Vertebrate biologist, Edith Cowan University
  • Professor Keith Dear, Global health researcher, ANU
  • Dr Fjalar de Haan, Sustainability researcher, University of Melbourne
  • Professor Hans Peter Dietz, Medical scientist, Penrith Hospital
  • Professor Bob Douglas, Medical scientist, ANU
  • Associate Professor Mark Douglas, Medical scientist, University of Sydney
  • Dr Jen Drysdale, Climate and energy researcher, University of Melbourne
  • Professor Angela Dulhunty, Medical scientist, ANU
  • Professor Robyn Eckersley, Climate change governance researcher, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Elin Charles Edwards, Environmental geographer, University of Queensland
  • Professor David Eldridge, Evolutionary biologist, UNSW Australia
  • Professor David Elsworth, Environmental ecologist, Western Sydney University
  • Associate Professor Jason Evans, Climate change researcher, UNSW Australia
  • Dr Isabelle Ferru, Medical scientist, ANU
  • Professor Tim Flannery, Climate Council
  • Professor Barry Fox, Ecologist, UNSW Australia
  • Dr Evan Franklin, Solar energy researcher, ANU
  • Dr Diego Garcia-Bellido, Paleontologist, University of Adelaide
  • Dr Stephen Garnett, Conservation and sustainability researcher, Charles Darwin University
  • Dr John Gillen, Soil scientist, ANU
  • Dr Andrew Glikson, Paleoclimatologist, ANU
  • Dr Susan Gould, Climate change researcher, Griffith UNiversity
  • Professor Colin Groves, Anthropologist, ANU
  • Dr Huade Guan, Hydro-meteorologist, Flinders University
  • Professor Neil Gunningham, Global governance researcher, ANU
  • Dr Asish Hagar, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia
  • Dr Nina Hall, Sustainable water researcher, University of Queensland
  • Dr Willow Hallgren, Atmospheric scientist, Griffith University
  • Dr Elizabeth Hanna, Environmental health researcher, ANU
  • Associate Professor David Harley, Epidemiologist, ANU
  • Professor Robert S. Hill, Paleobotanist, University of Adelaide
  • Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Marine climatologist and Great Barrier Reef researcher, University of Queensland
  • Professor Geoff Hope, Archaeologist and natural history researcher, ANU
  • Associate Professor Michael Howes, Environmental scientist, Griffith University
  • Professor Lesley Hughes, Climate change and species researcher, University of Adelaide
  • Dr Paul Humphries, Environmental scientist, Charles Sturt University
  • Professor Phillip Jenning, Energy researcher, Murdoch University
  • Professor Darryl Jones, Behavioural ecologist, Griffith University
  • Dr Hugh Jones, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia
  • Dr Jochen Kaempf, Physical oceanographer, Flinders University
  • Professor Jeffrey Keelan, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia
  • Professor Peter Kershaw, Biogeographer and botanist, Monash University
  • Dr Carsten Kulheim, Plant physiologist, ANU
  • Professor Rakkesh Kumar, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia
  • Dr Lori Lach, Rainforest conservationist, James Cook University
  • Professor Barry Lacopetta, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia
  • Professor Trevor Lamb, Medical scientist, ANU
  • Professor Tony Larkum, Plant biologist, University of Technology Sydney
  • Dr Annie Lau, Geography and environmental management researcher, University of Quensland
  • Professor Bill Laurance, Tropical environment and sustainability researcher, James Cook University
  • Associate Professor Fred Leusch, Soil, water and energy researcher, Griffith University
  • Professor Andrew Lowe, Plant conservationist, University of Adelaide
  • Dr Fabio Luciano, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia
  • Professor Justin Marshall, Marine biologist, University of Queensland
  • Dr Melanie Massaro, Ecologist and ornithologist, Charles Sturt University
  • Associate Professor John F. McCarthy, Resource environment researcher, ANU
  • Dr Allison McInnes, Plant biologist, UTS
  • Associate Professor Andrew McKenzie, Landscape planning researcher, University of Canberra
  • Dr Kathryn McMahon, Environmental researcher, Edith Cowan University
  • Professor Andrew Millington, Land change scientist, Flinders University
  • Professor Angela Moles, Evolutionary ecologist, UNSW Australia
  • Professor Renee Morris, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia
  • Professor Barbara Norman, Urban planning researcher, University of Canberra
  • Professor Nikos Ntoumanis, Behavioural medicine researcher, Curtin University
  • Dr Bradley Opdyke, Climate historian, ANU
  • Professor Richard G. Pearson, Marine and tropical biologist, James Cook University
  • Dr Barrie Pittock, Climate scientist, CSIRO
  • Dr Jason Potas, Medical scientist, ANU
  • Professor Susan Prescott, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia
  • Dr Lynda Prior, Climate researcher, University of Tasmania
  • Dr Thomas Prowse, Biologist, University of Adelaide
  • Professor Marie Ranson, Molecular biologist, University of Wollongong
  • Professor Steve Redman, Medical scientist, ANU
  • Associate Professor Tracy Rogers, Evolutionary ecologist, UNSW Australia
  • Professor Chris Ryan, Eco-innovation researcher, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Oz Sahnin, Climate change researcher, Griffith University
  • Associate Professor Peter Sainsbury, Climate and health researcher, University of Sydney
  • Professor David Sinclair, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia
  • Dr Tom Sobey, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia
  • Professor Will Steffen, Climate change researcher, ANU
  • Professor Peter Steinberg, Marine scientist, UNSW Australia
  • Associate Professor Christian Stricker, Medical scientist, ANU
  • Professor Ian Suthers, Marine biologist, UNSW Australia
  • Associate Professor Sue Taylor, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia
  • Dr Sebastian Thomas, Sustainability researcher, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Andrew Thomson, Solar researcher, ANU
  • Associate Professor Thomas Thorsten, Marine biologist, UNSW Australia
  • Associate Professor Ian Tibbetts, Marine Scientist, University of Queensland
  • Professor David Tissue, Plant ecophysiologist, Western Sydney University
  • Professor Matthias Tomczak, Oceanographer, Flinders University
  • Mr Shane Toohey, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia
  • Dr Gail Trapp, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia
  • Professor Patrick Troy, Human ecologist, ANU
  • Professor Tom Trull, Antarctic, oceans and atmosphere researcher, CSIRO
  • Professor David Tscharke, Medical scientist, ANU
  • Professor Chris Turney, Antarctic climatologist, UNSW Australia
  • Dr Tania Urmee, Renewable energy technologist, Murdoch University
  • Professor René Vaillancourt, Plant geneticist, University of Tasmania
  • Professor John Veevers, Earth scientist, Macquarie University
  • Professor Charlie Veron, Marine scientist, Australian Institute of Marine Science
  • Professor Phil Waite, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia
  • Dr Elaine Walker, Physics and energy researcher, Murdoch University
  • Dr Hayden Washington, Environmental researcher, UNSW Australia
  • Professor David Watson, Water and society ecologist, Charles Sturt University
  • Dr Scarla J. Weeks, Biophysical oceanographer, University of Queensland
  • Professor Adrian Werner, Hydrologist, Flinders University
  • Mr Peter Weiske, Medical and environmental scientist, ANU
  • Dr Jonathan Whale, Energy researcher, Murdoch University
  • Associate Professor George Wilson, Wildlife management researcher, ANU
  • Dr Phillip Zylstra, Forests and fire researcher, University of Wollongong

 

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About Passionist JPIC Australia

I am a priest with the Passionist Congregation and a part of our Australian Province which includes Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam. I have been ordained since December of 1992. I was born in the Philippines, though am from Spanish decent. I came to Australia in 1972 with my family when I was 11 years old, and we settled in Brisbane. That is where I did the rest of my growing up. On completing high school, I went to Queensland University where I studied for 4 years, completing a B.Sc. with a major in Microbiology. The following year I decided to enter into the Passionist Congregation to study for the priesthood. I trained for 9 years, and have been a priest for 25 years. In my time as a priest I have been Director of the Passionist Family Group Movement in Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland; conducted over 400 Parish Missions all around Australia and New Zealand, but particularly in Victoria and Western Australia; worked in adult faith education, Sacramental preparation for children and parents; Hospital chaplaincy; High school chaplaincy, in-services and retreats. In the year 200 I became engaged in developing young adult retreat teams and training them to carry on our high school retreat programs. I am also chair of our Province’s committee for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC). I am also a member of ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans).
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