We must act now to influence our politicians and leaders to declare a climate emergency.
Already convinced that it's an emergency?Jump to the advocacy toolkit
UK has become the world’s first country to declare a climate emergency. This is because our climate is changing rapidly and at our current rate of greenhouse gas emissions, Earth is expected to lock into a scenario similar to what caused five mass extinctions in the past. Each of these five extinctions was caused by natural greenhouse gas emissions and the worst one led to death of 96% of all marine life. The sixth mass exiction is going on and we're the ones responsible for it.
Because there are more than 7 billion of us spread all over the world, in this sixth mass extinction, we’ll suffer tremendously. Imagine massive floods in all coastal cities like New York, Amsterdam and Mumbai. In other regions, imagine wars for access to fresh waters because of terrible droughts. With additional mouths to feed, climate change caused food shortages will lead to starvations and famines .
Each passing day the situation is getting worse. Our global climate is already 1 degree celsius hotter than the period before the mass adoption of fossil fuels. The 1 degree doesn’t sound much but it has all sorts of domino effects: ice melting causes sea level rise, extreme heatwaves and heat related deaths increase, droughts and famines become more likely and destructive storms increase in frequency. If you may be experiencing a change in how climate used to be in your childhood and how it is now, you’re not wrong? Climate is changing fast and it’s expected to get worse. The graph below shows deviations of global mean temperature today from the baseline period (1950 to 1980).
To prevent the worst of climate change, the United Nation's IPCC (the world’s largest group of climate scientists - thousands of them) has calculated how much more fossil-fuel generated greenhouse gases can we put in the atmosphere. Think of the total amount of fossil fuels we're allowed to burn ever across the world as a budget. Until now, ever since human species evolved on Earth, we have already used two thirds of it. At our current emissions of gases, it is estimated that we will use the other half in next 20 years. Yes, you read that right.
If we continue emitting greenhouse gases past the carbon budget, it’s very likely that we’ll warm our planet to unprecedented degree and hundreds of millions of people will get impacted (if not an even worse case scenario: collapse of human civilization due to wars and political instability caused by drought, flooding, food crisis or climate refugees). With our "business as usual" lifestyle, we risk triggering tipping points which may push Earth into a climate region which no life form before has experienced before (except during mass exitinctions)
Twenty years is a timeframe that's within our lifetime. Even if we don’t get personally impacted, our kids and grandkids will suffer because the planet will keep on warming and climate will keep becoming more extreme. If your family doesn't get personally impacted, millions of other people certainly will (who will be mostly poor and low carbon-emitters ). It’s a global crisis and scientists have been shouting about it as loud as they could.
It’s finally time we recognize what it is and call it that:
a worldwide climate emergency.
There are many personal changes you can make in your lifestyle to reduce our emissions rate. As far as collective action is concerned, we recommend a two-pronged strategy:
Because the only way to avert further worsening of climate change is to reduce our fossil fuel emissions to zero. Given our dependence on fossil fuels for everything we do - traveling, air conditioning, heating, electricity - doing this U-turn is going to be extremely uncomfortable. It’ll require rethinking our entire economy and energy infrastructure. The scale of such unprecedented, yet unavoidable changes is what makes it an emergency.
Because politicians will not act until they have pressure from the masses. Public opinion is a significant factor in shaping national and international policies. By covering urgent issues, mass-media such as newspaper and TV play a significant role in shaping such public opinion. Unfortunately, what media is doing is not enough. We need the issue to be front and center of people's attention every single day. People have heard of phrases like “global warming” but the full extent of its impact is yet to percolate. Mass-media has to publish news related to destruction every single day until people understand the true impact of “a few degrees of warming”.
Also, if they give their front page to the royal wedding or a celebrity controversy, they can certainly talk about the fact that more than 600 people are dying every single day because of climate change. These people are invisible. We need the media to do its job and give them visibility. Every single day.
Political pressure is the only lever we have to avert the crisis. Because of public smoking bans by governments worldwide, mllions of people were prevented from lung cancer who would have otherwise died from second hand smoke. The climate change is a crisis that's several orders of magnitude more severe in terms of its potential for human deaths. Yet, despite of all the scientific consensus, fossil fuel companies are spending millions of dollars in lobbying politicians to provide them fuel subsidies (which continue to this day!). These millions of dollars is what we’re up against.
Politicians represent you, and if you’re angry at what’s happening, you need to tell them that. The protestors associated with extinction rebellion are risking jail-time by doing actual, physical civil disobedience of law to get draw attention to the cause. If you’re uncomfortable with that level of political action, you can draw on your strengths and connections and do what you can to help declaring a worldwide climate emergency.
It will put the issue of climate change as the topmost national priority, which it should be. It'll give massive support to already concerned politicians to push for laws that could prevent the worst case. We already know solutions to keep global warming in check. We simply need the political will to do redirect national priority towards doing that.
The most effective action for advocacy is to educate yourself on the topic (the NASA website is a good starting point) and then physically meet journalists and politicians to demand the folllowing from them:
Nothing beats on-ground action. But if you’re not ready for a major commitment right now, you can take smaller steps. We recommend doing two things:
It's unlikely that your single email is going to change the opinion of an editor and s/he will start running climate related news on their front page, or that a politician drops all his/her pre-existing agenda and picks climate emergency as a top priority. A single email will likely not do that, but a hundred emails could. Remember that like you, many hundreds of people will be doing advocating for climate emergency and the pressure you’ll be putting on politicians and journalist is collective. Every single email that you send counts.
We’ve drafted emails for you that you can copy-paste and start sending them. Feel free to send it to as many journalists and politicians as you want to, and as many times as you want to. The more the better. If the journalists, editors and politicians start receiving emails from hundreds of people like you, they will eventually notice.
Here’s how you find email addresses:
if you want to copy-paste the email manually,Click here to see the generated content
So we can track and report on the effectiveness of the campaign.