The Climate Crisis


In its last Special Report (IPCC, 2018), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of the United Nations with the mission of providing an objective view of the climate crisis and whose Summaries to policymakers are subject to line-by-line approval by all participating governments, called for a reduction of global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero around 2050. This reduction path, which relies on massive use of Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) technologies that are still to be invented for scalable use, would only have a probability of 50% to stay below a warming of 1.5°C (a level for which e.g. all coral reefs will disappear and highly probable coastal flooding will be severe and widespread). The only scenario developed by IPCC (2018: 16) that makes only use of afforestation as CDR assumes that CO2 emissions are reduced by 58% from 2010 levels by 2030 and to zero by 2050 while remaining negative for the whole century. In a more recent study published in Nature Climate Changethe authors conclude that CO2 emissions must be reduced to net zero by 2030 in order to stay below the more dangerous temperature increase of 2°C (Lamontagne et al, 2019).


Scientists for Future (#S4F) are already supporting the Fridays For Future movement (#FridaysForFuture) of school children requesting world governments to implement the IPCC recommendations (Hagedorn et al. 2019). Extinction Rebellion, a social-science based movement applying non-violent, disruptive civil disobedience, is addressing the scenario of Montagne and colleagues (2019) asking for zero net emissions by 2025/30 and spreads worldwide finding adherents in all social classes and age groups.

Which contribution can organizational scientists offer to confront climate disruption?

We can offer our knowledge of organizational and institutional dynamics but also the symbolic power of behavioral changes prefiguring a zero carbon world as other (climate) scientists are already doing (Academics Fly Less, @flyingless; #sabbicycle; Explore our stories, proposals and initiatives or follow us on twitter @OS4Future to find out more.

Cited literature

Hagedorn, G., Kalmus, P., Mann, M., Vicca, S., Van den Berge, J., van Ypersele, J. P., … & Kromp-Kolb, H. (2019). Concerns of young protesters are justified. Science, 364(ARTICLE), 139-140.

IPCC, 2018. Global warming of 1.5° C. Summary for Policymakers.

Lamontagne, Reed, Marangoni, Keller, Garner. 2019. Robust abatement pathways to tolerable climate futures require immediate global action. Nature Climate Change, 9/4: 290-294.

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