Activist countries

A loosely federated network of scientists in more than two dozen countries is planning acts…

A loosely federated network of scientists in more than two dozen countries is planning acts of civil disobedience starting this week to highlight the climate crisis, members of Scientist Rebellion told AFP.

Their non-violent actions are timed for the release on Monday of a landmark report by the UN’s climate science advisory group outlining options for reducing carbon pollution and controversial programs to extract CO2 from the air. , they said in interviews.

Scientist Rebellion targets universities, research institutes and leading scientific journals, urging them and their staff to speak out more forcefully about what they describe as the existential threat of global warming.

“Scientists are particularly powerful messengers, and we have a responsibility to show leadership,” said Charlie Gardner, a University of Kent conservation scientist specializing in tropical biodiversity.

“We are failing in this responsibility. If we say it’s an emergency, we have to act as if it is.

Starting Monday, the group hopes to see “high levels of disobedience” with more than 1,000 scientists around the world taking part in nonviolent direct actions against government and academic institutions.

The world has seen a crescendo of deadly extreme weather amplified by rising temperatures – heat waves, wildfires, floods, storms clogged by rising seas – and a torrent of recent climate science projects worse to come.

Much of this research is distilled in periodic reports from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Scientist Rebellion was founded in 2020 by two PhD students in physics from St Andrews College in Scotland, inspired in part by the more broadly based Extinction Rebellion.

The group’s first significant action with more than 100 scientists, in March 2021, was aimed at the British Royal Society and science publishing giant Springer Nature.

“We basically pasted enlarged copies of their newspaper articles calling for rapid transformative change in their offices,” said Kyle Topher, an Australian environmental scientist and full-time campaigner for the group.

– ‘It’s survival’ –

Last year’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow saw around 20 of their members arrested.

“As far as we know, this was the first mass arrest of scientists in the world since Carl Sagan protested nuclear weapons testing in the 1980s,” Gardner said.

They also made headlines by releasing an early draft of Monday’s IPCC report, which warned that carbon dioxide emissions must peak within three years if the world is to meet the Paris Agreement targets on global warming remain close at hand.

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“As scientists, we tend to be risk averse — we don’t want to risk our jobs, our reputations, and our time,” said Rose Abramoff, a soil scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Knoxville, Tennessee and a member of the Scientist Rebellion. .

“But it’s no longer enough to do our research and expect others to read it and understand the gravity and urgency of the climate crisis.”

The group’s goal is to “make this crisis impossible to ignore”, she added.

Many of its members are in the Global South, where protests against climate change have so far been more subdued, though the impacts are being felt harder.

“I’m not sure this is our last chance, but time is running out,” said Jordan Cruz, an environmental engineer in Ecuador who studies the devastating impact of mining industries on human communities in the Andes.

“I’m terrified,” he said over email. “But it’s the kind of fear that drives action. It’s survival.”

More information about Scientist Rebellion can be found here: