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Climate Scientists Mobilised Across the World in Largest Scientist-Led Civil Disobedience

by Olivia Lai Americas Europe Apr 11th 20223 mins
Climate Scientists Mobilised Across the World in Largest Scientist-Led Civil Disobedience

Climate scientists have chained themselves to buildings and blocked bridges to sound the alarm in the wake of the damning IPCC report, urging for a climate revolution to avert a global catastrophe. 

More than 1,000 scientists have been mobilised across the globe in a week-long civil disobedience to advocate for a ‘climate revolution’ to avoid a global ecological crisis. 

In what organisers described as “the world’s largest-ever scientist-led civil disobedience campaign”, scientists in various countries and cities have chained themselves to the doors of banks that remain supportive of fossil fuels and occupied the steps of government buildings to demanding immediate climate action to avert a climate catastrophe.

The protests come just days after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest damning report, warning that “it’s now or never” to limit global warming and “unless there are immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, 1.5C is beyond reach.”  We must peak global greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and to halve emissions by the end of the decade. The report also says the world currently has all the tools it needs to take action, but politics is getting in the way.

In light of the dire warnings, members of Scientist Rebellion, a branch of the Extinction Rebellion originally founded in 2020 by two physics PhD students at St Andrews College in Scotland, have organised climate protests to take place across the world, calling for the end to fossil fuels and to tackle the existential threat of global warming.

“Scientists are particularly powerful messengers, and we have a responsibility to show leadership,“ said Charlie Gardner, a conservation scientist at the University of Kent specialised in tropical biodiversity. “We are failing in that responsibility. If we say it’s an emergency, we have to act like it is.“

The group has previously targeted universities, research institutes and major scientific journals, using these platforms to urge colleagues to speak out more forcefully on the climate crisis. But the scientific community is demanding more: as the ecological crisis continues to accelerate, only a “climate revolution” will be enough to avert catastrophe.

In the US, scientists and activists gathered outside of a Chase Bank in Downtown Los  Angeles, as JPMorgan Chase & Co. has invested more money in fossil fuels than any other bank, according to a 2020 report from the Sierra Club and other climate advocacy organisations. A number of the group chained themselves to the doors, including Peter Kalmus, who studies biological systems and climate change at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 

In Washington DC, protestors have chained themselves to the White House fence and were ultimately arrested as they demanded US President Joe Biden declare a “climate emergency,” a step that would unlock a range of tools needed to combat global warming.

Elsewhere in Germany, Scientist Rebellion members blocked a bridge near the country’s parliament building while in Madrid, Spain, scientists threw red paint on the doors and steps of the Spanish Parliament, denouncing the inaction of the Spanish Government on the climate emergency.

“It is not the future that is at stake, it is the present. The present of all of us,” said Fernando Vallerades, a scientist for the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). “Our mental and physical health is at stake. Crop failures, migrations, and marine flooding. What else do we need to know?“

You might also like: Fridays for Future: How Young Climate Activists Are Making Their Voices Heard

Featured image by: Scientist Rebellion FB


About the Author

Olivia Lai

Olivia is a journalist and editor based in Hong Kong with previous experience covering politics, art and culture. She is passionate about wildlife and ocean conservation, with a keen interest in climate diplomacy. She’s also a graduate of University of Edinburgh in International Relations with a Master’s degree from The University of Hong Kong in Journalism. Olivia was the former Managing Editor at Earth.Org.

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