2016 has a human face: 12 climate activists who risk their lives every day to make a difference

In January 2014, British Ambassador to Japan, Sir Martin Regg Cohn, made a shocking comment in a debate on climate change at the Guardian. “If [the response] is to destroy the economy, it is a much more sustainable response than, let’s cut our emissions and make sure nothing goes wrong … The extent to which we ignore this now could very well mean that the science is already right but we have ceded that moral right to go for a solution to the problem – a system of global governance to ensure the moral integrity of our carbon budgets.”

In response to the statement, a global ranking of climate scientists and environment experts, including Professor Kert Davies, established by Forecast the Facts, showed that the public was better informed than “state leaders who should have the more expertise in this area”, and had agreed on the importance of reducing emissions. One researcher likened the gap between experts and politicians to the difference between a team in soccer and a cat.

In light of the rejection of science in the US, We the People, a coalition of more than 2,000 science associations, scientists, researchers, scientists-in-training, scientists’ organizations, journalists, businesses, citizens, and those concerned about the future, have introduced a “Think Again Pledge” which encourages people to write to a state leader asking him to reconsider his rejection of the reality of climate change.

The pledge says, “Climate change is real. Not just in the sense that most scientists believe it to be. But in the sense that these scientists and scientists-in-training predict is likely to hurt the poorest people the most, affect the most biodiversity and hamper people’s way of life the most. Not just here but globally.”

The Los Angeles Times recently published a piece by Keiji Hasegawa about how the people of California have had enough of inaction on the climate crisis. Indeed, after a decade of dithering and stalling, California Governor Jerry Brown just signed a law to begin to limit carbon emissions. The legislation will begin with an emissions cap and trade program and then shift to a cap-and-trade market in 2020. According to environmental authorities, the bill will “cut greenhouse gas emissions 26% by 2030 and achieve a 28% reduction by 2045.”

Mr. Brown’s reasoning for the law is simple: “Cap and trade is the most direct way to reduce emissions that does not involve passing tax increases, imposing new regulation, or raising utility rates,” he said. “By cap and trade, we impose limits on each and every commercial enterprise and give them a certain amount of credits so they can get out of doing more pollution.” The overall effect of all this is to “shift the trade of emission permits from the polluters to those using and using energy,” according to the letter from Californians to the president of the United States.

The so-called “glory days” of American economic development have been replaced by the gloom and doom of an unsustainable future that threatens our future security and wellbeing. Those who deny the existence of climate change will have us fall prey to a tragic blackmail once again. They know full well that climate change has already begun and that the outcome will be only blood and death. We know the result. We can only hope for a true justice that includes the establishment of a climate charter which is intended to serve as a blueprint for a global climate governance, and the following:

· a United Nations moratorium on use of fossil fuels

· an international system of carbon budgets

· a switch from fossil fuels to renewable energies

· establishing a carbon market that is free from corruption

· requiring that all nations fully respect the commitments they made in 2015 in Paris, such as:

o a goal of keeping global average temperature rise below 2C

o a goal of 1.5C increase

o a goal of 1.5C decrease

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