Earth Day is celebrated worldwide every year on April 22nd with the aim to promote environmental awareness and call for the protection of our planet. On this year Earth Day’s 45th anniversary, 17 world-leading scientists launched the Earth Statement, which is believed to be the last opportunity for world leaders to finally pass a binding climate change science-based agreement in Paris.
In 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson founded the first organization of the Earth Day in order to raise awareness of the growing problems of air, water, and soil pollution and pass on the message of green living. Unfortunately, since then, many attempts to create an effective international treaty on climate change mitigation have ended to failure. So, 45 years later it seems we have to redefine what progress looks like. Earth’s day message for this year is: “It’s Our Turn to Lead,” and is addressed to people around the world who want to take a stand.
2015 is a milestone year for our climate future. Global warming, biodiversity collapse, and resource exhaustion are only a few signs of the existential risks humanity is facing. So, according to scientists, it is high time to take a bold action towards a sustainable planet. World leaders will have the chance to meet three times this year and discuss the required actions to advance prosperity and eliminate poverty. In particular, on July 2015, heads of state will gather to discuss Financing for Development, in September of 2015, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be adopted, and in December of 2015, nations will negotiate a new Global Climate Agreement.
As the decisions made in this single year will be the legacy of our generation, in the Earth Statement, scientists invite world decision makers to work towards the following eight essential elements of a Paris Agreement in December of 2015.
Eight Essential Elements of Climate Action in Paris
- The most essential element is to keep global warming below 2°C. Governments should implement their commitments as soon as possible, since even 2°C warming will cause significant environmental damage.
- Global fossil fuel emissions should stay below 1000 Gt CO2 in order to reach the goal of 2°C.
- Nations must transform their economies and phase out greenhouse gases to reach a zero-carbon society by mid-century or shortly thereafter.
- Every country has to achieve deep decarbonization through equitable effort sharing.
- Research and technology should contribute to this global effort to save the planet. However, all technological advances must have universal access.
- World leaders have to adopt a joint strategy to help the poorest and most vulnerable countries, which suffer the most from climate impacts.
- Countries have to protect carbon sinks and natural ecosystems, which play an important role in the reduction of greenhouse gases emissions.
- Governments should engage with climate funding to enable a shift to climate-friendly investments in an effective, transparent, and accountable way.
On this Earth Day, humanity united can show the world a new direction towards a sustainable future. It’s our turn to pave the way for global well-being with the hope that world leaders will follow by example.