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Joint call for swift and just climate action: the Katowice Memorandum

10/12/2018 - Researchers, intellectuals and spiritual leaders jointly call for swift and just climate action. Together, they formulate the Katowice Memorandum at a symposium co-organized by the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) during the 24th UN Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 24) in Katowice, Poland.
Joint call for swift and just climate action: the Katowice Memorandum

Joint Symposium "Safeguarding Our Climate, Advancing Our Society". Participants Mario Molina, Stéphanie Thiébault, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Jerzy Duszynski in discussion. Photo: PIK

The joint symposium was opened by Jerzy Duszyński, President of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Andrzej Kowalczyk, Rector of the University of Silesia in Katowice, HE Pierre Levy, French Ambassador to Poland, Stéphanie Thiébault, CNRS Director of Institute of Ecology and Environment, and Msgr Marcello Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

The list of outstanding speakers includes: Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC; Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and Director Emeritus of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research, Valerie Masson Delmotte, Co-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Nobel Laureate Mario Molina; Nicholas Stern, Professor at the London School of Economics and Chair of the Grantham Research Institute; Laurence Tubiana, CEO of European Climate Foundation; and many other distinguished scientists. Contributing religious leaders include the Primate of Poland, Wojciech Polak; the Chair of the German Council of the Evangelical Church, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm; Bruno-Marie Duffé, Head of the Vatican Delegation to COP24; and John Chryssavgis, environmental advisor to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.


Weblink to the Katowice Memorandum: https://www.pik-potsdam.de/aktuelles/pressemitteilungen/dateien/the-katowice-memorandum/at_download/file


On the Katowice Memorandum, the speakers at the joint symposium "Safeguarding Our Climate, Advancing Our Society" issued some quotes:

Jerzy Duszyński the President of the Polish Academy of Sciences, co-organizer of the symposium: "I believe that approaching the climate change point of no return the time has come to remind ourselves of the famous Russel-Einstein Manifesto" – says – "At that time, in the midst of the cold war, they faced the perils of weapons of mass destruction. Today, as the threat of climate change is equally critical, we recall their words: 'In the tragic situation which confronts humanity, we feel that scientists should assemble in conference to appraise the perils that have arisen as a result of [the climate change caused by human activity], and to discuss a resolution in the spirit of the appended draft'."

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director Emeritus of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research in Germany and a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, co-organizer of the symposium: "The alliance of faith and reason might seem surprising at first, while in fact it is quite logical – both scientists and religious leaders share a fundamental sense of responsibility for all humankind. We must not allow that the historical blessing of fossil-fuel use that enabled much of today's living standards all too soon perverts into a curse and shatters the prosperity of future generations."

Stéphanie Thiébault, Director of CNRS Institute of Ecology and Environments, co-organizer of the symposium: "In the context of today's necessary ecological transition, making decisions in situations of uncertainty or controversy will eventually lead to changes in individual and collective behaviors. This requires a solid and constantly evolving scientific base, so that the methods, the data, the knowledge that comes from it, the contingencies associated with it are understood and shared."

Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary: "When it comes to climate change, we're faced with a physical, moral, and philosophical crisis. More than ever before, we need a multitude of different voices to sound the alarm. Scientists and religious leaders both have an essential role in helping humanity to understand the importance of the choice between climate action and inaction."

Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Scripps Institution of Ocenanography, University of California, San Diego: "Climate change is in the living room of most Californians. In about 12 years, when the warming reaches 1.5C, it will be in the living room of every citizen of the planet adversely affecting billions. There is still time to avoid major disasters, provide we deploy rapid action plans such as: drastically cutting super pollutants (methane, black carbon and HFCs); and extracting at least 15 billion tons of Caron Dioxide each year; failing which geoengineering would be forced on us with all its unintended consequences."

Laurence Tubiana, CEO of European Climate Foundation and former French climate diplomate: "The publication of the IPCC's 1.5°C Special Report ahead of this COP has made the urgency for action clearer than ever. Avoiding the worst impacts of climate change will require rapid and deep decarbonization in all sectors, within a very short timeframe. Individuals and communities around the world are calling for this to happen; and it is time for the EU and others to lead the way. Through a shared long-term strategy, they can show that a pathway to a climate-safe and socially-just society is possible if we make the right choices now."

Msgr. Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences: "Today, if we want to satisfy the people's aspiration towards happiness, we need to hear the cry of the earth."

Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change: "While the Communist era ignored fundamental economic principles, modern-day capitalism ignores the most basic scarcities of today's world: the scarcity of natural resources in general, and specifically the limited capacity of our atmosphere, our oceans and forests to capture and store carbon emissions. If we do not respect these fundamental natural scarcities, we will face the same destiny of collapse, though this time at a planetary scale. Drawing lessons from the Solidarność movement of the 20th century, only a strong union of reason and faith, scientific and religious communities, will be able to drive a 'spiritual revolution' strong enough to limit global warming. Here, concepts like truth, freedom and dignity are nobody's exclusive dominion, but our common denominator, as central guiding principles. These powerful guiding principles are needed all the more, in a world that is warming and again increasingly polarized along nationalist lines."


Weblink to more information on the joint symposium "Safeguarding Our Climate, Advancing Our Society" co-organized by the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique: https://institution.pan.pl/index.php/international-news/295-cop-24-register


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