The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21 or CMP11 is being held in Le Bourget, Paris, from November 30 to December 11.
It is the 21st yearly session of the Conference of the Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 11th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The conference objective is to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world.
2498 academics from 75 countries signed this Open Letter calling for world leaders meeting in Paris to do what is necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change.
Prominent signatories include Noam Chomsky, Naomi Oreskes, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Michael E. Mann, Ursula Oswald Spring, Bill McKibben, David Suzuki, and Peter Singer.
Open Letter from Academics to World Leaders ahead of the Paris Climate Conference 2015
Some issues are of such ethical magnitude that being on the correct side of history becomes a signifier of moral character for generations to come. Global warming is such an issue.
Indigenous peoples and the developing world are least responsible for climate change, least able to adapt to it, and most vulnerable to its impacts. As the United Nations Climate Conference in Paris approaches, the leaders of the industrialized world shoulder a grave responsibility for the consequences of our current and past carbon emissions.
Yet it looks unlikely that the international community will mandate even the greenhouse gas reductions necessary to give us a two thirds chance of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. At the moment, even if countries meet their current non-binding pledges to reduce carbon emissions, we will still be on course to reach 3 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.
This is profoundly shocking, given that any sacrifice involved in making those reductions is far overshadowed by the catastrophes we are likely to face if we do not: more extinctions of species and loss of ecosystems; increasing vulnerability to storm surges; more heatwaves; more intense precipitation; more climate related deaths and disease; more climate refugees; slower poverty reduction; less food security; and more conflicts worsened by these factors.
Given such high stakes, our leaders ought to be mustering planet-wide mobilization, at all societal levels, to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
We undersigned concerned academics, researchers and scientists from around the world recognize the seriousness of our environmental situation and the special responsibility we owe our communities, future generations, and our fellow species.
We will strive to meet that responsibility in our educational and communicative endeavors.
We call upon our leaders to do what is necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change. With just as much urgency, we call upon our fellow citizens to hold their leaders responsible for vigorously addressing global warming.
For the full list of signatories please see below.
Around the world, people from all walks of life are standing together to demand a strong climate agreement in Paris and a healthy future for the planet. When the world speaks with one voice, our leaders have to listen.
So we’ve put together this Open Letter with one very clear message: DEAR WORLD LEADERS: TAKE CLIMATE ACTION NOW.
People from around the world are affected by climate change today – right now. And they’re calling out to world leaders to demand real action this year at the UN climate talks in Paris.
“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest.
But for us, it’s different. Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.
The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.
Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character building experience.
There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.
To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
Carl Sagan gives the best speech ever about humanity and how foolish we behave. Pale Blue Dot is one of the most important and reflective speeches about the human condition and our place in the Universe. The Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of Earth taken in 1990 by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers from Earth, as part of the solar system Family Portrait series of images.
“The Earth Prelude” by Ludovico Einaudi, Antonio Leofreddi, Laura Riccardi & Marco Decimo
Black Friday used to be a one-day shopping event for many retailers, but over time, with Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday coming into the mix, it’s become a big weekend-long shopping event.
With so much buzz around this shopping extravaganza, it’s not hard to buy into the circus of it all. You’ll make impulse purchases and fall into every retailers’ trap to get you to spend your small fortune in their stores. They’ll pull out all the stops to get you in their stores and then, well, I’m sure you know the rest.
Don’t be tempted by all the bold colors in the ads that draw you in and especially the low prices that get your attention. During this year’s biggest shopping event, be a smarter shopper by following some of these rules:
A Muslim, sometimes spelled Moslem, relates to a person who follows the religion of Islam, a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion based on the Quran. Muslims consider the Quran to be the verbatim word of God as revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. They also follow the teachings and practices of Muhammad as recorded in traditional accounts called hadith. “Muslim” is an Arabic word meaning “one who submits (to God)”.
A person who followed Buddhism. This is a nontheistic religion or philosophy that encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on teachings attributed to Gautama Buddha, commonly known as the Buddha (“the awakened one“). According to Buddhist tradition, the Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern part of the Indian subcontinent sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BC.
A Sikh is a follower of Sikhism, a monotheistic dharma which originated during the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia. The term “Sikh” has its origin in the Sanskrit words for disciple, student or instruction. A Sikh, according to Article I of the Sikh Rehat Maryada (the Sikh code of conduct), is “any human being who faithfully believes in One Immortal Being; ten Gurus, from Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh; Guru Granth Sahib; the teachings of the ten Gurus and the baptism bequeathed by the tenth Guru”.
Hindu has historically been used as a geographical, cultural or religious identifier for people indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. In contemporary use, Hindu refers to anyone who regards himself or herself as culturally, ethnically or religiously adhering with aspects of Hinduism.
The historical meaning of the term Hindu has evolved with time. Starting with the Persian and Greek references to India in the 1st millennium BC through the texts of the medieval era, the term Hindu implied a geographic, ethnic or cultural identifier for people living in Indian subcontinent around or beyond Sindhu river.
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. “Christian” derives from the Koine Greek word Christós, a translation of the Biblical Hebrew term mashiach.
There are diverse interpretations of Christianity which sometimes conflict. However, “Whatever else they might disagree about, Christians are at least united in believing that Jesus has a unique significance”.
A terrorist is a person who engages in terrorism. In its broadest sense, terrorism is any act designed to cause terror. In a narrower sense, terrorism can be understood to feature a political objective. The word terrorism is politically loaded and emotionally charged.
Freedom fries is a political euphemism for French fries in the United States. The term came to prominence in 2003 when the then Republican Chairman of the Committee on House Administration, Bob Ney, renamed the menu item in three Congressional cafeterias in response to France’s opposition to the proposed invasion of Iraq.
Although originally supported with several restaurants changing their menus as well, the term fell out of use due to declining support for the Iraq War.
Following Ney’s resignation as Chairman, it was quietly reverted.
In light of the Oregon shooting, October 1, 2015, that left 10 people dead, we have updated this story from 2014. It remains our most popular piece.
Whenever a mass shooting occurs, a debate about gun violence ensues. An often-cited counter to the point about the United States’ high rates of gun homicides is that people in other countries kill one another at the same rate using different types of weapons. It’s not true.
Compared to other countries, the United States has exceptional homicide rates, and it’s driven by gun violence.
The U.S. has higher rates of homicides from guns than Pakistan. At 4.5 deaths per 100,000 people, the U.S. rates aren’t much lower than gun homicide rates in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (5.2 deaths per 100,000 people).
Annually, the U.S. has about two fewer gun homicide deaths per 100,000 people than Iraq, which has 6.5 deaths per 100,000.