Nobel winners urge UN action to save the planet

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected] • 19 May, 2011 Updated Thu 19 May 2011 06:42 CEST

Some 20 Nobel laureates called Wednesday for world leaders to urgently act to ensure global sustainability, in recommendations handed over to a special UN committee.


In the "Stockholm Memorandum," the Nobel laureates and a number of environmental science experts concluded that "the planet has entered a new geological age, the Anthropocene," or the age of man.

In this era, where the most important changes to the planet are brought on by human actions and not natural phenomena, the memorandum "recommends a suite of urgent and far-reaching actions for decision makers and societies to become active stewards of the planet for future generations."

Nobel Chemistry laureates Mario Molina and Paul Crutzen, who invented the concept of Antropocene, Economics laureate Amarya Sen and Literature winner Nadine Gordimer were among the signatories to the document.

The memorandum was created over the past two days at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, where it on Wednesday was handed over to Finnish President Tarja Halonen, who co-chairs the UN High-level Panel on Global Sustainability.

The panel, which was appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, will draw up a report in part based on the memorandum suggestions ahead of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.

Among the suggestions proposed Wednesday was the need to "keep global warming below two degrees Celsius, implying a peak in global CO2 emissions no later than 2015."

Global leaders must also recognise that "environmental sustainability is a precondition for poverty eradication, economic development, and social justice," the memorandum said, also calling for the development of "new welfare indicators that address the shortcomings of GDP."

The Nobel laureates and other experts also stressed the need in a world of almost nine billion people to "foster a new agricultural revolution where more food is produced in a sustainable way on current agricultural land."

On the first day of the symposium on Tuesday the Nobel laureates had staged a mock trial against humanity on charges that it was destroying Mother Earth.


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