This seems sort of odd, not only was Michael Mann excluded (probably for good reason) but the names of the signers seems to be a secret.
Nobel Laureates appeal for climate protection
The Mainau Declaration 2015
To mark the final day of the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, on Friday, 3 July, over 30 Nobel laureates assembled on Mainau Island on Lake Constance signed a declaration on climate change. The “Mainau Declaration 2015 on Climate Change” states “that the nations of the world must take the opportunity at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015 to take decisive action to limit future global emissions.” It is expected that a new international agreement on climate protection will be approved at the 21st UN Climate Conference to succeed the Kyoto Protocol.
Following on from the latest climate policy resolutions adopted by the G7 states and the environment- and climate-oriented encyclical “Laudato si'” issued by Pope Francis, the Nobel laureates’ declaration is another urgent warning of the consequences of climate change. “If left unchecked, our ever-increasing demand for food, water, and energy will eventually overwhelm the Earth’s ability to satisfy humanity’s needs, and will lead to wholesale human tragedy,” the declaration continues.
The Mainau Declaration 2015 is the result of an initiative on the part of Nobel Science Laureates who took part in the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. The signatories to the declaration have all been awarded Nobel Prizes in physiology or medicine, in physics or in chemistry. Some of the laureates who have not attended the final day of the meeting had already put their names to the declaration earlier at Lindau.
The spokesperson for the initiators is US astrophysicist Brian Schmidt. Having grown up in Montana and Alaska, he studied physics and astronomy at the University of Arizona. In 1993 he was awarded a doctorate at Harvard University for his work on supernovae, the brief but brilliant results of exploding stars. Since 1995 he has been working in Australia at the Australian National University’s Mount Stromlo Observatory where he heads one of the two teams which, at the end of the 1990s, were able to determine from their measurements of the brightness of remote supernovae that the rate at which the universe is expanding is accelerating. It was for this discovery that he was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics along with Saul Perlmutter and Adam Riess.
This is the first time since 1955 that Nobel laureates use the platform of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting to take a stand on social policy issues. The first Mainau Declaration signed on that occasion by a total of 51 Nobel laureates on the initiative of physics laureate Otto Hahn contained an appeal for the peaceful use of nuclear energy and warned of the dangers inherent in its application for military purposes.
The total of 65 laureates taking part in the 65th Lindau Meeting was the highest number ever assembled here. In addition to the numerous laureates of the medicine, physics or chemistry Nobel Prizes, the speakers also included Indian Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi and Nigerian Nobel Literature Laureate Wole Soyinka. The week-long conference annually provides an opportunity for an inter-generational and an inter-cultural exchange of ideas: Over 650 young scientists from 88 countries successfully passed the multi-stage selection process to take part in this interdisciplinary anniversary meeting. The Lindau Meetings were established in 1951 by Lennart Count Bernadotte af Wisborg and the Lindau city councilors Franz Karl Hein and Gustav Wilhelm Parade. Ever since, the final day of the meeting has traditionally been held on Mainau Island.
As smart as all these Nobel Laureates are, they neglected to put the names of the signers or the document itself in the press release above. I had to dig for it. Here is the document:
Mainau Declaration 2015 on Climate Change
We undersigned scientists, who have been awarded Nobel Prizes, have come to the shores of Lake Constance in southern Germany, to share insights with promising young researchers, who like us come from around the world. Nearly 60 years ago, here on Mainau, a similar gathering of Nobel Laureates in science issued a declaration of the dangers inherent in the newly found technology of nuclear weapons—a technology derived from advances in basic science. So far we have avoided nuclear war though the threat remains. We believe that our world today faces another threat of comparable magnitude.
Successive generations of scientists have helped create a more and more prosperous world. This prosperity has come at the cost of a rapid rise in the consumption of the world’s resources. If left unchecked, our ever-increasing demand for food, water, and energy will eventually overwhelm the Earth’s ability to satisfy humanity’s needs, and will lead to wholesale human tragedy. Already, scientists who study Earth’s climate are observing the impact of human activity. In response to the possibility of human-induced climate change, the United Nations established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to provide the world’s leaders a summary of the current state of relevant scientific knowledge. While by no means perfect, we believe that the efforts that have led to the current IPCC Fifth Assessment Report represent the best source of information regarding the present state of knowledge on climate change. We say this not as experts in the field of climate change, but rather as a diverse group of scientists who have a deep respect for and understanding of the integrity of the scientific process.
Although there remains uncertainty as to the precise extent of climate change, the conclusions of the scientific community contained in the latest IPCC report are alarming, especially in the context of the identified risks of maintaining human prosperity in the face of greater than a 2°C rise in average global temperature. The report concludes that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the likely cause of the current global warming of the Earth. Predictions from the range of climate models indicate that this warming will very likely increase the Earth’s temperature over the coming century by more than 2°C above its pre-industrial level unless dramatic reductions are made in anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases over the coming decades.
Based on the IPCC assessment, the world must make rapid progress towards lowering current and future greenhouse gas emissions to minimize the substantial risks of climate change. We believe that the nations of the world must take the opportunity at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015 to take decisive action to limit future global emissions. This endeavor will require the cooperation of all nations, whether developed or developing, and must be sustained into the future in accord with updated scientific assessments. Failure to act will subject future generations of humanity to unconscionable and unacceptable risk.
Oddly, they also didn’t put the signatories on their website, though they did post a photo:
“With this declaration, we outline the scale of the threat of climate change, and we provide the best possible advice,” says Brian P. Schmidt, Nobel laureate and a spokesperson for the Mainau Declaration 2015 on Climate Change.
He continues that he feels a “moral bound duty as a scientist on an issue that has such lasting consequences.” Four Nobel Laureates met with Brian Schmidt on Thursday, one day before the signing of the declaration on Mainau island of Lake Constance on the last day of the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. These five scientists discussed this threat to mankind and possible steps and solutions: Steven Chu, former US Secretary of Energy, George Smoot, David Gross, Peter Doherty, and Schmidt, a Nobel Prize winning astrophysicist.
The declaration text itself states: “If left unchecked, our ever-increasing demand for food, water, and energy will eventually overwhelm the Earth’s ability to satisfy humanity’s needs, and will lead to wholesale human tragedy.”
Gross tells his fellow laureates and the attending journalists how he just visited Ladakh in the Himalayas: “These are fragile communities, they are very dependent on the rivers that spring from the Himalayan glaciers, and they are the ones that suffer first.” He points out that in the future, there might even be wars fought over water in several regions of the world. Doherty quotes from the Lancet Commission’s latest report: “They say that we may expect the breakdown of civil society in 21. century. And the poor on the planet are going to be the most affected, as always.”
All Nobel Laureates discussing the declaration in Lindau on Thursday morning agree unanimously that there is overwhelming evidence that emissions of greenhouse gases cause global warming. “There might be some uncertainties left,” concedes Chu. “It’s like in the 1950s when people didn’t know what happened if you smoked one pack of cigarettes per day – but the lung cancer rate was rising so rapidly that something had to be done.” Nowadays we can calculate the cancer risk of smoking quite precisely. “But do we want to wait fifty years until we know what will happen with global warming?”, he asks. Chu adds: “You don’t wait until your house is on fire before you take out fire insurance.” Doherty gives another analogy: when the HI virus was first discovered, many people, even scientist, doubted its role in the AIDS epidemic. But once the virus’ life cycle was understood and could be disrupted with antiviral drugs, most denial dropped.
Doherty also defines the difference between denial and scepticism: “If you’re sceptic, you talk to other researchers, you look at the data. If you’re in denial, you simply reject everything that’s being published.” Steven Chu explains how the best data on climate change comes from satellites: they clearly show how glaciers are shrinking all over the world, from Greenland and the Arctic to the Himalaya, the Alps and some parts of Antarctica. “But there are people in Congress who don’t want to look at satellite pictures,” he remembers from his time in politics. “That’s what I call denial.”
The Nobel Laureates agreed that politicians should act immediately to “lower the current and future greenhouse gas emissions”, as the declaration states. These politicians will meet at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, starting November 30, 2015. “It takes half a century to turn the boat,” states Chu. While it is true that newable energy technologies keep getting cheaper, this takes time. “At some point, the technology will be competitive.” Smoot adds: “You need infrastructure for that. This will also create jobs and give us a better infrastructure.” Doherty thinks that not only politicians need to reach results, but voters need to urge their leaders to act: “Politicians care about nothing except votes. So you have to convince the people who vote.” Schmidt replies that yes, voters could and should be informed about climate change, but that many politicians “will realise that they have a responsibility – it’s not only votes.”
Altogether, the laureates are cautiously optimistic, for instance when they think about the US-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change last November. “It shows that we can move forward in the divide between developing and developed nations,” Smoot explained. This divide was one of the main obstacles in the past UN Climate Change Conferences in Copenhagen and Rio de Janeiro. The laureates believe that the global warming challenge can be met with a combination of politics and technology, Doherty: “We’ll solve this through policy and technological innovation – and the latter drives economy.”
Chu concludes: “I’m a technological optimist and political optimist. It is possible to find a solution, but we’re running against the clock,” because change is getting more urgent – and more expensive – all the time.