A globe-wide international strike of students marching against climate inaction took place in March 2019, a sequel to Greta Thunberg’s activism. 1,700 strike events occurred on every continent (except Antarctica). In the U. S. alone there were 100 strikes. Nadia Nazar, an organizer of a strike in Washington, D.C., said “We’re the first generation that’s being significantly affected by climate change, and the last generation that can do something about it.”
Many of these children, born just after the 21st century began, realize they will be living through most of its remainder. They see and read about the harms already being inflicted upon humanity by weather and climate extremes. They also recognize that global warming poses an existential threat to our planet as this century unfolds, and understand that, barring energetic, ambitious action starting now, their lives risk becoming unsustainable as the earth continues warming. (Please see the post “How Do We Answer Our Children?”)
Climate scientists agree that our children’s climate worries are justified. Twenty-two prominent climate scientists from 10 countries published a letter to the editor of Science (12 April 2019) in support of the youthful climate strikers. The writers affirm: “Their concerns are justified and supported by the best available science. The current measures for protecting the climate and biosphere are deeply inadequate.” Confirming our children’s calls to action they state “It is critical to immediately begin a rapid reduction in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions…. The young protesters rightfully demand that … solutions [already known to us] be used to achieve a sustainable society…. Without bold and focused action, their future is in critical danger.”
The letter forcefully concludes “The enormous grassroots mobilization…of the youth climate movement…shows that young people understand the situation. We approve and support their demand for rapid and forceful action….Only if humanity acts quickly and resolutely can we limit global warming [and its consequent ecological damage, and assure the] well-being of present and future generations. This is what the young people want to achieve. They deserve our respect and full support.”
Climate Science. The science behind our understanding of global warming and its consequences has been understood already for many decades. Indeed, the first findings that burning fossil fuels by humankind produces carbon dioxide (CO2) that warms the atmosphere were uncovered during the nineteenth century. These are summarized in the Details section at the end of this post.
IPCC Assessment Reports. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been issuing Assessment Reports presenting scientific data and discussing warming mitigation and adaptation methodologies since 1990, at intervals of 5-7 years. The most recent one, the fifth, appeared in three parts over 2013-4.