"There is no Planet B": 154 scientists write to Turnbull

Dear The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister of Australia,

The following is an open letter signed by 154 Australian atmospheric, marine, environmental, biological and medical scientists, including several leading climatologists, for your and your government's attention.

There is no Planet B

In July 2016, global temperatures soared to the hottest in the 136 years of the instrumental record, 0.1℃ warmer than previous warm Julys in 2015, 2011 and 2009.

It followed a succession of rising temperatures, moving from 0.42℃ above average in 2000, to 0.87℃ above average by 2015.

Developments in the atmosphere-ocean system reported by major climate research organisations (including NASA, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US National Snow & Ice Data Center, the UK Met Office Hadley Centre, the Tyndall Centre, the Potsdam Institute; the science academics of dozens of nations; and in Australia the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology) include:

<< Sea Level Rise: What It Is, Why It Matters, and What Can Be Done? >>

We are concerned that global warming, amplified by feedbacks from polar ice melt, methane release from permafrost, and extensive fires, may become irreversible, including the possible collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, a crucial component of the global climate system that transfers heat from the tropics to the North Atlantic.

According to James Hansen, NASA's former chief climate scientist, "burning all fossil fuels would create a different planet than the one that humanity knows".

Joachim Schellnhuber, Germany's chief climate scientist, has summed up the situation by saying: "We're simply talking about the very life support system of this planet."

We note your broad agreement with this point, in light of your 2010 statement that:

…we are as humans conducting a massive science experiment with this planet. It's the only planet we have got…

We know that the consequences of unchecked global warming would be catastrophic…

We as a human species have a deep and abiding obligation to this planet and to the generations that will come after us.

-Malcolm Turnbull

While the Paris Agreement remains unbinding and global warming has received minimal attention in the recent elections, governments worldwide are presiding over a large-scale demise of the planetary ecosystems, which threatens to leave large parts of Earth uninhabitable.

We call on the Australian government to tackle the root causes of an unfolding climate tragedy and do what is required to protect future generations and nature, including meaningful reductions of Australia's peak carbon emissions and coal exports, while there is still time.

There is no Planet B.

Yours sincerely,

  1. Dr Christine Adams-Hosking, Conservation planner, University of Queensland
  2. Associate Professor Stephen Adelstein, Medical scientist, University of Sydney
  3. Professor Ross Alford, Tropical ecologist, James Cook University
  4. Dr Wallace Ambrose, Archaeological anthropologist, ANU
  5. Dr Martin Anda, Environmental engineer, Murdoch University
  6. Dr Marion Anderston, Geochemist, Monash University
  7. Professor Michael Archer, Paleontologist, UNSW Australia
  8. Dr Leanne Armand, Marine Researcher, Macquarie University
  9. Professor Patricia Armati, Medical scientist, University of Sydney
  10. Professor Owen Atkin, Plant respiration researcher, ANU
  11. Professor Elaine Baker, Marine scientist, University of Sydney
  12. Associate Professor Cathy Banwell, Medical scientist, ANU
  13. Dr Andrew Barnes, Aquatic animal health researcher, University of Queensland
  14. Dr Fiona Beck, Renewable energy researcher, ANU
  15. Dr Tom Beer, Climatic and environmental change researcher, CSIRO
  16. Professor Andrew Blakers, Photovoltaics/energy storage researcher, ANU
  17. Professor Phillip Board, Medical scientist, ANU
  18. Professor Justin Borevitz, Plant geneticist, ANU
  19. Dr Caryl Bosman, Environmental planning researcher, Griffith University
  20. Professor David Bowman, Forestry researcher, University of Tasmania
  21. Dr Timothy Broadribb, Plant Scientist, University of Tasmania
  22. Dr Helen Brown, Environmental health researcher, Curtin University
  23. Dr Tim Brown, Medicine and environment researcher, ANU
  24. Professor Ralf Buckley, Conservation/ecotourism researcher, Griffith University
  25. Dr Florian Busch, Plant scientist, ANU
  26. Dr Jason Byrne, Urban design researcher, Curtin University
  27. Professor Maria Byrne, Marine and developmental biologist, University of Sydney
  28. Dr Martina Calais, Renewable energy researcher, Murdoch University
  29. Associate Professor Craig Carter, Engineering and IT researcher, Murdoch University
  30. Dr Phill Cassey, Ecologist, Adelaide University
  31. Professor Carla Catterall, Ecologist, Griffith University
  32. Dr Juleen Cavanaugh, Biomedical scientist, ANU
  33. Professor Fred Chow, Plant biologist, ANU
  34. Associate Professor David Cohen, Geochemist, UNSW Australia
  35. Professor Steven Cooper, Evolutionary biologist, SA Museum
  36. Professor Rod Connolly, Marine scientist, Griffith University
  37. Professor Jann Conroy, Plant scientist, Western Sydney University
  38. Dr Lucy Coupland, Medical scientist, ANU
  39. Dr Joseph Coventry, Solar energy researcher, ANU
  40. Dr Chris Creagh, Physicist, Murdoch University
  41. Professor Patricia Dale, Environment/planning researcher, Griffith University
  42. Dr Armanda Davies, Planning geographer, Curtin University
  43. Dr Ian Davies, Forestry fire management researcher, ANU
  44. Dr Kirsten Davies, Ethno-ecology and environmental law researcher, Macquarie University
  45. Dr Robert Davis, Vertebrate biologist, Edith Cowan University
  46. Professor Keith Dear, Global health researcher, ANU
  47. Dr Fjalar de Haan, Sustainability researcher, University of Melbourne
  48. Professor Hans Peter Dietz, Medical scientist, Penrith Hospital
  49. Professor Bob Douglas, Medical scientist, ANU
  50. Associate Professor Mark Douglas, Medical scientist, University of Sydney
  51. Dr Jen Drysdale, Climate and energy researcher, University of Melbourne
  52. Professor Angela Dulhunty, Medical scientist, ANU
  53. Professor Robyn Eckersley, Climate change governance researcher, University of Melbourne
  54. Dr Elin Charles Edwards, Environmental geographer, University of Queensland
  55. Professor David Eldridge, Evolutionary biologist, UNSW Australia
  56. Professor David Elsworth, Environmental ecologist, Western Sydney University
  57. Associate Professor Jason Evans, Climate change researcher, UNSW Australia
  58. Dr Isabelle Ferru, Medical scientist, ANU
  59. Professor Tim Flannery, Climate Council
  60. Professor Barry Fox, Ecologist, UNSW Australia
  61. Dr Evan Franklin, Solar energy researcher, ANU
  62. Dr Diego Garcia-Bellido, Paleontologist, University of Adelaide
  63. Dr Stephen Garnett, Conservation and sustainability researcher, Charles Darwin University
  64. Dr John Gillen, Soil scientist, ANU
  65. Dr Andrew Glikson, Paleoclimatologist, ANU
  66. Dr Susan Gould, Climate change researcher, Griffith UNiversity
  67. Professor Colin Groves, Anthropologist, ANU
  68. Dr Huade Guan, Hydro-meteorologist, Flinders University
  69. Professor Neil Gunningham, Global governance researcher, ANU
  70. Dr Asish Hagar, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia
  71. Dr Nina Hall, Sustainable water researcher, University of Queensland
  72. Dr Willow Hallgren, Atmospheric scientist, Griffith University
  73. Dr Elizabeth Hanna, Environmental health researcher, ANU
  74. Associate Professor David Harley, Epidemiologist, ANU
  75. Professor Robert S. Hill, Paleobotanist, University of Adelaide
  76. Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Marine climatologist and Great Barrier Reef researcher, University of Queensland
  77. Professor Geoff Hope, Archaeologist and natural history researcher, ANU
  78. Associate Professor Michael Howes, Environmental scientist, Griffith University
  79. Professor Lesley Hughes, Climate change and species researcher, University of Adelaide
  80. Dr Paul Humphries, Environmental scientist, Charles Sturt University
  81. Professor Phillip Jenning, Energy researcher, Murdoch University
  82. Professor Darryl Jones, Behavioural ecologist, Griffith University
  83. Dr Hugh Jones, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia
  84. Dr Jochen Kaempf, Physical oceanographer, Flinders University
  85. Professor Jeffrey Keelan, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia
  86. Professor Peter Kershaw, Biogeographer and botanist, Monash University
  87. Dr Carsten Kulheim, Plant physiologist, ANU
  88. Professor Rakkesh Kumar, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia
  89. Dr Lori Lach, Rainforest conservationist, James Cook University
  90. Professor Barry Lacopetta, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia
  91. Professor Trevor Lamb, Medical scientist, ANU
  92. Professor Tony Larkum, Plant biologist, University of Technology Sydney
  93. Dr Annie Lau, Geography and environmental management researcher, University of Quensland
  94. Professor Bill Laurance, Tropical environment and sustainability researcher, James Cook University
  95. Associate Professor Fred Leusch, Soil, water and energy researcher, Griffith University
  96. Professor Andrew Lowe, Plant conservationist, University of Adelaide
  97. Dr Fabio Luciano, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia
  98. Professor Justin Marshall, Marine biologist, University of Queensland
  99. Dr Melanie Massaro, Ecologist and ornithologist, Charles Sturt University
  100. Associate Professor John F. McCarthy, Resource environment researcher, ANU
  101. Dr Allison McInnes, Plant biologist, UTS
  102. AssociateProfessor Andrew McKenzie, Landscape planning researcher, University of Canberra
  103. Dr Kathryn McMahon, Environmental researcher, Edith Cowan University
  104. Professor Andrew Millington, Land change scientist, Flinders University
  105. Professor Angela Moles, Evolutionary ecologist, UNSW Australia
  106. Professor Renee Morris, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia
  107. Professor Barbara Norman, Urban planning researcher, University of Canberra
  108. Professor Nikos Ntoumanis, Behavioural medicine researcher, Curtin University
  109. Dr Bradley Opdyke, Climate historian, ANU
  110. Professor Richard G. Pearson, Marine and tropical biologist, James Cook University
  111. Dr Barrie Pittock, Climate scientist, CSIRO
  112. Dr Jason Potas, Medical scientist, ANU
  113. Professor Susan Prescott, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia
  114. Dr Lynda Prior, Climate researcher, University of Tasmania
  115. Dr Thomas Prowse, Biologist, University of Adelaide
  116. Professor Marie Ranson, Molecular biologist, University of Wollongong
  117. Professor Steve Redman, Medical scientist, ANU
  118. Associate Professor Tracy Rogers, Evolutionary ecologist, UNSW Australia
  119. Professor Chris Ryan, Eco-innovation researcher, University of Melbourne
  120. Dr Oz Sahnin, Climate change researcher, Griffith University
  121. Associate Professor Peter Sainsbury, Climate and health researcher, University of Sydney
  122. Professor David Sinclair, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia
  123. Dr Tom Sobey, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia
  124. Professor Will Steffen, Climate change researcher, ANU
  125. Professor Peter Steinberg, Marine scientist, UNSW Australia
  126. Associate Professor Christian Stricker, Medical scientist, ANU
  127. Professor Ian Suthers, Marine biologist, UNSW Australia
  128. Associate Professor Sue Taylor, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia
  129. Dr Sebastian Thomas, Sustainability researcher, University of Melbourne
  130. Dr Andrew Thomson, Solar researcher, ANU
  131. Associate Professor Thomas Thorsten, Marine biologist, UNSW Australia
  132. Associate Professor Ian Tibbetts, Marine Scientist, University of Queensland
  133. Professor David Tissue, Plant ecophysiologist, Western Sydney University
  134. Professor Matthias Tomczak, Oceanographer, Flinders University
  135. Mr Shane Toohey, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia
  136. Dr Gail Trapp, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia
  137. Professor Patrick Troy, Human ecologist, ANU
  138. Professor Tom Trull, Antarctic, oceans and atmosphere researcher, CSIRO
  139. Professor David Tscharke, Medical scientist, ANU
  140. Professor Chris Turney, Antarctic climatologist, UNSW Australia
  141. Dr Tania Urmee, Renewable energy technologist, Murdoch University
  142. Professor René Vaillancourt, Plant geneticist, University of Tasmania
  143. Professor John Veevers, Earth scientist, Macquarie University
  144. Professor Charlie Veron, Marine scientist, Australian Institute of Marine Science
  145. Professor Phil Waite, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia
  146. Dr Elaine Walker, Physics and energy researcher, Murdoch University
  147. Dr Hayden Washington, Environmental researcher, UNSW Australia
  148. Professor David Watson, Water and society ecologist, Charles Sturt University
  149. Dr Scarla J. Weeks, Biophysical oceanographer, University of Queensland
  150. Professor Adrian Werner, Hydrologist, Flinders University
  151. Mr Peter Weiske, Medical and environmental scientist, ANU
  152. Dr Jonathan Whale, Energy researcher, Murdoch University
  153. Associate Professor George Wilson, Wildlife management researcher, ANU
  154. Dr Phillip Zylstra, Forests and fire researcher, University of Wollongong

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