IPCC Scientist Warns India-Pakistan Record Temps ‘Testing Limits of Human Survivability’

Republished from the Common Dreams

“Fossil fuels did this,” said one climate justice campaigner. “Unless we ditch fossil fuels immediately in favor of a just, renewable-energy based system, heatwaves like this one will continue to become more intense and more frequent.”

KENNY STANCILMay 2, 2022

As record-breaking temperatures continue to pummel the Indian subcontinent—endangering the lives of millions of people and scorching crops amid a global food crisis—climate scientists and activists are warning that deadly public health crises of this sort will only grow worse as long as societies keep burning fossil fuels.

“Governments can no longer approve fossil fuel projects, and financial institutions can no longer fund them, without our suffering on their hands.”

“This heatwave is definitely unprecedented,” Chandni Singh, senior researcher at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements and a lead author at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told CNN on Monday. “We have seen a change in its intensity, its arrival time, and duration.”

Although heatwaves are common in India, especially in May and June, overpowering temperatures arrived several weeks earlier than usual this year—a clear manifestation of the fossil fuel-driven climate emergency, according to Clare Nullis, an official at the World Meteorological Organization.

As CNN reported:

The average maximum temperature for northwest and central India in April was the highest since records began 122 years ago, reaching 35.9º and 37.78ºC (96.62º and 100ºF) respectively, according to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).

Last month, New Delhi saw seven consecutive days over 40ºC (104ºF), three degrees above the average temperature for the month of April, according to CNN meteorologists. In some states, the heat closed schools, damaged crops, and put pressure on energy supplies, as officials warned residents to remain indoors and keep hydrated.

The heatwave has also been felt by India’s neighbor Pakistan, where the cities of Jacobabad and Sibi in the country’s southeastern Sindh province recorded highs of 47ºC (116.6ºF) on Friday, according to data shared with CNN by Pakistan’s Meteorological Department (PMD). According to the PMD, this was the highest temperature recorded in any city in the Northern Hemisphere on that day.

“This is the first time in decades that Pakistan is experiencing what many call a ‘spring-less year,” Pakistan’s Minister of Climate Change, Sherry Rehman said in a statement.

April’s record-shattering temperatures came on the heels of India’s hottest March in more than a century and one of its driest. Meanwhile, the region’s annual monsoon season is still weeks away.

“This is what climate experts predicted and it will have cascading impacts on health,” said Singh. “This heatwave is testing the limits of human survivability.”

In a statement released late last week, Shibaya Raha, a senior digital organizer with 350.org South Asia, said that “we cannot deny this climate crisis any longer. We are experiencing heatwaves in spring.”

“The heat is unbearable and people are suffering,” Raha continued. “Many in heavily populated areas do not have access to air conditioning, and workers with outdoor jobs are unable to carry out their work in this extreme heat, impacting sources of income.”

Land surface temperatures—a measure of how hot the Earth’s surface would feel to the touch in a particular location—exceeded 60ºC or 140ºF in parts of northwest India on Saturday, according to satellite imagery.

In addition to putting the lives of millions of farmers at risk, extreme heat is wreaking havoc on wheat fields. Gurvinder Singh, director of agriculture in the northern state of Punjab, known as “India’s breadbasket,” told CNN that the April heatwave reduced yields by 500 kilograms per hectare.

“The IPCC report predicts significant increases in heatwaves globally, but we are the human faces of that science,” said Raha. “It looks daunting on paper but is even more devastating in reality and we demand immediate climate action.”

Namrata Chowdhary, chief of public engagement at 350.org, stressed that “the truth behind these heatwaves is searingly clear: fossil fuels did this.”

“While these temperatures are quite literally shocking, they come as no real surprise to communities that have long since lived on the frontlines of the climate crisis,” Chowdhary continued. “This is the latest spike in a rapidly worsening disaster, one that was foretold by climate activists the world over.”

“The IPCC report had already predicted that this densely populated region, where the vulnerabilities of over a billion people are compounded by power outages and lack of access to water, will be one of the worst affected by climate impacts,” said Chowdhary.

Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist and previous IPCC contributor, pointed out last week that the current heatwave is occurring in the context of 1ºC and 1.2ºC of warming in India and Pakistan, respectively.

The United Nations warned last year that even if governments around the world fulfill their current greenhouse gas-reduction pledges—few of which are backed by legislation or dedicated funding—the planet is whirling toward a “catastrophic” global temperature rise of 2.7ºC by 2100.

Based on the world’s current emissions trajectory, India and Pakistan are expected to experience 3.5ºC of warming by century’s end, according to country-level projections from researchers at Berkeley Earth.

“Unless we ditch fossil fuels immediately in favor of a just, renewable-energy based system,” said Chowdhary, “heatwaves like this one will continue to become more intense and more frequent.”

Raha added that “governments can no longer approve fossil fuel projects, and financial institutions can no longer fund them, without our suffering on their hands.”


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.Comments 

Continue ReadingIPCC Scientist Warns India-Pakistan Record Temps ‘Testing Limits of Human Survivability’

Climate protest news 16 April 2022 / 1

Over 1,000 scientists from around the world take to the streets in week-long climate protests

Hundreds of scientists from around the world took part in protests last week to apply pressure on government agencies to make “rapid and deep” cuts to greenhouse gas emissions before it’s too late.  

In Los Angeles, NASA scientist Peter Kalmus and three other people were arrested on Wednesday after they chained themselves to the front door of a Chase Bank building in protest of the company’s investment in fossil fuels.  

“We’ve been trying to warn you guys for so many decades that we’re heading towards a f—— catastrophe, and we’ve been being ignored,” said Kalmus, Business Insider reported. “The scientists of the world are being ignored, and it’s got to stop. We’re not joking. We’re not lying. We’re not exaggerating.” 

Kalmus and his fellow protesters were met with 100 LAPD officers in riot gear and arrested, according to Salon.  

The protests were part of a week of civil disobedience organized by Scientist Rebellion, the scientific branch of the climate change activist group Extinction Rebellion.  

More than 1,000 scientists from over 25 countries took part in the protests to highlight the findings from a United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report stating humanity only has three more years to cut greenhouse gas emissions. 

Extinction Rebellion: Olympian joins activists in oil tanker protest

Climate change activists including an Olympic gold medal-winning canoeist have climbed on top of an oil tanker in a protest against the use of fossil fuels.

Extinction Rebellion protesters have surrounded the Shell tanker on Bayswater Road in London.

Olympian Etienne Stott said he wanted to “disrupt the toxic fossil fuel industry”.

Climate change protesters block central Paris square to protest election choices

PARIS, April 16 (Reuters) – Climate change activists forced the closure of a main square in central Paris on Saturday to protest against the environmental programmes put forward by France’s remaining presidential candidates.

“We are blocking this Paris square to rebel against alternatives that we don’t have. This election leaves us with no choice between a far-right candidate with repugnant ideas … and a candidate who during five years cast the ecology issue aside and lied,” Lou, 26, a history teacher, who joined the Extinction Rebellion movement two years ago told Reuters.

Hundreds of people gathered in Paris’ 9th district brandishing banners targeting the candidates, chanting slogans such as “their inaction leads to our rebellion”, or lay on the floor in protest.

Continue ReadingClimate protest news 16 April 2022 / 1

Rebellious Climate Scientists Have Message for Humanity: ‘Mobilize, Mobilize, Mobilize’

Scientists in the Netherlands blocked an entrance to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy in The Hague on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (Photo: Scientist Rebellion / @ScientistRebel1)

In face of the “escalating climate emergency,” the advocacy group Scientist Rebellion warns that IPCC summary to global policymakers remains “alarmingly reserved, docile, and conservative.”

Republished from Common Dreams under a Creative Commons licence (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

KENNY STANCILApril 6, 2022

Amid a weeklong global civil disobedience campaign to demand climate action commensurate with mounting evidence about the need for swift decarbonization, Scientist Rebellion is highlighting specific gaps between what experts say is necessary and what governments allowed to be published in the United Nations’ latest climate assessment.

“We need a billion climate activists…The time is now. We’ve waited far too long.”

The landmark report on mitigation by Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—part of the U.N.’s sixth comprehensive climate assessment since 1992 and possibly the last to be published with enough time to avert the most catastrophic consequences of the planetary crisis—was compiled by 278 researchers from 65 countries.

The authors, who synthesized thousands of peer-reviewed studies published in the past several years, make clear over the course of nearly 3,000 pages that “without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5°C is beyond reach.”

Meanwhile, a 64-page Summary for Policymakers (SPM) of the report—a key reference point for governments—required the approval of all 195 member states of the IPCC and was edited with their input.

Following a contentious weekend of negotiations in which wealthy governments attempted to weaken statements about green financing for low-income nations and fossil fuel-producing countries objected to unequivocal language about the need to quickly eliminate coal, oil, and gas extraction, the IPCC document was published several hours later than expected on Monday.

“Despite the escalating climate emergency and the total absence of emissions cuts, the framing of the final version of the SPM is still alarmingly reserved, docile, and conservative,” Scientist Rebellion, an international alliance of academics who are advocating for systemic political and economic changes in line with scientific findings, said Tuesday in a statement.

“The science has never been clearer: to have any chance of retaining a habitable planet, greenhouse gas emissions must be cut radically now,” the group continued. “Limiting warming to 1.5°C and responding to the climate emergency requires an immediate transformation across all sectors and strata of society, a mobilization of historic proportions: a climate revolution.”

“The IPCC [has] avoided naming the major culprits for 30 years, which is one reason for the absence of real emissions cuts,” the group added. “Facts detailing the complicity of the world’s richest countries in fueling the climate crisis have been watered down by the IPCC’s political review process.”

Scientist Rebellion proceeded to contrast the final version of the SPM—”the document that garners almost all attention”—to an early draft of a summary of the Working Group III report on mitigation that IPCC authors associated with the group leaked last August out of concern that their conclusions would be diluted by policymakers.

Peter Kalmus, a Los Angeles-based climate scientist and author who is participating in this week’s direct actions, told Common Dreams that the shortcomings of governments and policymakers have driven him to act.

Kalmus said he was willing to engage in civil disobedience and risk arrest this week, “because I’ve tried everything else I can think of over the past decade and nothing has worked. I see humanity heading directly toward climate disaster.”

With humanity “currently on track to lose everything we love,” he said, the scientific community must intensify its efforts.

“If we don’t rapidly end the fossil fuel industry and begin acting like Earth breakdown is an emergency, we risk civilizational collapse and potentially the death of billions, not to mention the loss of major critical ecosystems around the world,” said Kalmus. “This is so much bigger than me. Expect climate scientists to be taking such actions repeatedly in the future and in large numbers.”

On Wednesday, direct actions by scientists took place in Berlin, Germany; The Hague, Netherlands; Bogata, Colombia, and other cities.

In its Tuesday assessment, Scientist Rebellion documented how the political review process weakened or eliminated language about carbon inequality and the need for far-reaching socio-economic transformation to slash greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution in the final SPM:

Example 1: Section B6 of the report originally stated that “institutional inertia and a social bias towards the status quo are leading to a risk of locking in future GHG emissions that may be costly or difficult to abate.” This has been replaced with “global GHG emissions in 2030 associated with the implementation of nationally determined contributions… would make it likely that warming will exceed 1.5°C during the 21st century.” The final version also no longer mentions that “vested interests” and a focus on an “incremental rather than a systemic approach” are limiting factors to ambitious transformation.

Example 2: The leaked SPM stated that “within countries, inequalities increased for both income and GHG emissions between 1970 and 2016, with the top 1% accounting for 27% of income growth,” and that “top emitters dominate emissions in key sectors, for example the top 1% account for 50% of GHG emissions from aviation.” Neither statement appears in the final version.

“While the SPM—being approved line-by-line by all governments—is reserved, docile, and conservative, the situation is clear,” said Scientist Rebellion.

The group went on to quote U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, who said Monday that “we are on a fast track to climate disaster.”

As Common Dreams reported Monday, more than 1,000 scientists in at least 25 countries on every continent in the world are expected to participate in strikes, occupations, and other actions this week to highlight “the urgency and injustice of the climate and ecological crisis,” and several demonstrations are already underway. 

Guterres, for his part, said Monday that “climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals, but the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels.”

For his part, Kalmus acknowledged it was going to take much more than a series of direct actions by scientists to turn the tide against inaction.

“We need a billion climate activists,” Kalmus said. “I encourage everyone to consider where we’re heading as a species, and to engage in civil disobedience and other actions. The time is now. We’ve waited far too long.”

“Mobilize, mobilize, mobilize,” he said, “before we lose everything.”


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Continue ReadingRebellious Climate Scientists Have Message for Humanity: ‘Mobilize, Mobilize, Mobilize’