World's top climate scientists call for urgent, tough greenhouse gas limits

UN Climate Conference in Bali

Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, (PresseBox) - More than 200 leading climate scientists have today warned the United Nations Climate Conference of the need to act immediately to cut greenhouse gas emissions, with a window of only 10-15 years for global emissions to peak and decline, and a goal of at least a 50% reduction by 2050.

The scientists warn that if immediate action is not taken, many millions of people will be at risk from extreme events such as heat waves, drought, floods and storms, with coasts and cities threatened by rising sea levels, and many ecosystems, plants and animal species in serious danger of extinction.

The researchers, who include many of the world’s most acclaimed climate scientists, have issued the "Bali Climate Declaration by Scientists" in which they call on government negotiators from the 180 nations represented at the meeting to recognize the urgency of taking action now. They say the world may have as little as 10 years to start reversing the global rise in emissions.

The Bali Declaration emphasises the current scientific consensus that long-term greenhouse gas concentrations need to be stabilised at a level well below 450ppm CO2e (450 parts per million measured in carbon dioxide equivalent).

Building on the urgency of the recent Synthesis Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released on 17 November in Valencia, Spain, the declaration calls on governments to reduce emissions "by at least 50% below their 1990 levels by the year 2050".

The Bali Declaration endorses the latest scientific consensus that every effort must be made to keep increases in the globally averaged surface temperature to below 2 degrees C. The scientists say that "to stay below 2 degrees C, global emissions must peak and decline in the next 10 to 15 years".

The critical reductions in global emissions of greenhouse gases and the atmospheric stabilisation target highlighted in the Bali Declaration places a tremendous responsibility on the Bali United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Negotiations at Bali must start the process of reaching a new global agreement that sets strong and binding targets and includes the vast majority of the nations of the world. The Bali Declaration concludes:

"As scientists, we urge the negotiators to reach an agreement that takes these targets as a minimum requirement for a fair and effective global climate agreement."


The Bali Climate Declaration by Scientists was organized under the auspices of the Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC) at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. All of the signatories agreed to sign the Declaration in their personal capacities. The views expressed in the text of the Declaration do not necessarily represent the views of the institutions or international climate research programs to which any of the signatories may be affiliated.

The signatories of the Bali Declaration are being represented in Bali at the UNFCCC/Kyoto Protocol COP13/CMP3 meeting by:

1. Professor Matthew England (Australia)
2. Professor Richard Somerville (United States)
3. Professor Andrew Pitman (Australia)
4. Professor Diana Liverman (United Kingdom)
5. Dr. Michael Molitor (Policy Advisor, Australia)

This initiative was launched and managed by a small group of climate experts that includes Professor Matthew England, Professor Andrew Pitman, Professor Richard Somerville, Dr Michael Molitor and Professor Stefan Rahmstorf (Germany).

The full text of the declaration, official translations, and the list of signatories can be viewed at:

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