We are facing an unprecedented global emergency. Life on Earth is in crisis. Scientists agree we have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown, and we are in the midst of a mass extinction of our own making.
The first demand of Extinction Rebellion is for governments and media to Tell the Truth about the extent of the threat we face. Many people who start exploring the science come to us and say “I never knew it was this bad.” The scope and magnitude of the emergency is being deliberately downplayed whilst the UK government continues to give fossil fuel industry over £10billion per year in subsidies.
Don’t just take our word for it. Below you will find a wide range of information sources which we encourage you to explore. The climate emergency is happening right now and you deserve to know the truth. And once you know how bad it really is, we hope you will join us to try to save our Earth and its fragile ecosystem before it’s too late.
A Brief Summary of the Science
Extinction Rebellion’s concern for the future of the climate and the effect of warming in the ecological system is based on the publications of the United Nations body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
In October 2018 “An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels” was published. (“Pre-industrial” refers to the time before 1850 when the large scale industry, powered by burning coal, took off.) Ninety-one authors and review editors from 40 countries prepared the IPCC report in response to an invitation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when it adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015.
The report summarizes the findings of scientists, showing that maintaining a temperature rise to below 1.5°C remains possible, but only through “rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure…, and industrial systems.” Meeting the Paris target of 1.5°C is possible but would require “deep emissions reductions”, “rapid”, “far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” Extinction Rebellion agree the these far-reaching changes are needed– and as soon as possible. We are in an emergency.
The global average temperature is now about 1.1°C above the pre-industrial level. This doesn’t sound like very much, but even this small increase is causing more flooding, storms, wildfires and drought around the world, already killing many each year. At 1.5°C these effect will be much worse, and above 1.5°C even more severe, affecting ever more people.
You can find a 24 page summary of the IPCC report for policymakers online, or you can download a .pdf file of that report here. There is also a 60 page report which critiques the IPCC report here, and those who want the full 630-page IPCC report can click here.
Fossil Fuel Industry Cover-up
Since at least the 1970’s, the oil industry has known that CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions would cause significant climate change. Rather than share this information, they spent decades promoting climate misinformation—an approach many have likened to the lies spread by the tobacco industry regarding the health risks of smoking. This strategy has been very successful as many people still think climate science is too complex to understand or predict. This article on Exxon’s cover up makes for chilling reading.
Here are a few other articles on the disinformation campaign waged by the fossil fuel industry :
Keeping up-to-date with the science of the climate and ecological emergency
These trusted websites are a good place to starting informing yourself further:
The latest science behind the climate and ecological emergency from Dr Emily Grossman: Emergency on Planet Earth.
The Guardian’s Environment coverage: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-change
The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/uk/environment
Union of Concerned Scientists: https://www.ucsusa.org/climate
Carbon Brief: https://www.carbonbrief.org/
Climate Liability News: https://www.climateliabilitynews.org/