The Urgent Statement on Climate Change, issued on September 19, is the first of its kind issued by the Science Council of Japan, a representative organization of Japanese scientists. The Statement was issued in response to the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit, which will be held in New York on September 23.
The Statement, addressed to citizens of Japan, blows a whistle on ongoing climate change and its impacts to the nature and humanity and calls for actions to accelerate global warming countermeasures across society.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported in 2018 that if we keep the rise in temperature within 1.5℃ (and not 2℃ as agreed in the Paris Agreement) by the end of this century, the impacts of climate change will greatly decrease (compared to if temperatures rise 2℃). Differences will be especially apparent in global sea level rise, extreme weather events, water-related disasters, terrestrial/marine ecosystems. However, to achieve that goal, we must overcome a high hurdle of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45% over the next decade and achieving net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.
The path of action to take is not simply one of discomfort and burden, but rather one where we can achieve a prosperous society through changing our economic and social systems such as our energy, transportation, urban, and agricultural systems.
The Urgent Statement expresses that Japanese researchers are committed to collaborating closely with citizens in order to accelerate efforts to combat global warming. At the same time, it is calling on people in society to join the movement to speed up change.
This Urgent Statement was created based on discussion among several committees of the Science Council of Japan on the Future Earth including Committee on Promotion and Cooperation of Future Earth, and in close cooperation with the Future Earth Japan Global Hub (The University of Tokyo, National Institute of Environmental Studies, Science Council of Japan and others), and Future Earth Asia Regional Centre (Research Institute for Humanity and Nature).
The full text of the Urgent Statment is available at the website of the Science Council of Japan.
The main text and commentary of the Statement explain the current state of global warming and its impact on the air and ecosystems/ecosystem services that are the basis for human existence, as well as on society and the economy. In addition, securing food, water, and energy necessary for the humanity's survival and preservation of the atmosphere and ecosystems are closely related to each other, and as such it is essential to take all of these in an integrated manner to tackle global warming. To that end, the Statement claims that transformation to a new social and economic system is required, which is based on change in the attitudes of people in various aspects of society including national and local governments, the economy/industry and civil society. The Statement closes with that it is time for everyone to do their best to tackle this challenge from their own standpoint.
About Future Earth
Future Earth is an international platform that works towards sustainability through the promotion of research, in cooperation with society. It was established in 2013 under the support of organisations such as the International Science Council, five United Nations organisations (UNEP, UNESCO, WMO, UNU, SDSN), STS forum, and the Belmont Forum (international association of national research funders).