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Nobel Laureates agree on a Global Contract – a proposition for a Great Transformation

Public release date: 10-Oct-2007
Nobel Laureates agree on a Global Contract – a proposition for a Great Transformation

From left to right: Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Peter Frey of ZDF and Sir Nicholas Stern. © WWF / Bernd Lammel


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Deutsche Mitteilung


Potsdam – The Nobel Laureates Symposium “Global Sustainability: A Nobel Cause” in Potsdam was concluded today with a Memorandum that all participants agreed to. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), had invited some 15 Nobel Laureates and internationally renowned experts like Sir Nicholas Stern and Rajendra Pachauri to discuss new solutions to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Humanity is standing at a moment in history when a Great Transformation is needed to respond to the immense threat to the Earth. Anthropogenic global warming through greenhouse gas emissions is the foremost of an entire set of emerging development, security and environmental crises.

Nobel Laureates from all disciplines, high level representatives from politics and world-renowned experts have called for this transformation to begin immediately. An integrated response will have to accommodate human welfare within the capacity of the planet to sustain economical growth. While drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by rich countries is essential, the right for development in the poorer countries, accommodating the vast majority of humanity, will have to be an integral part. This requires, above all, equal access to affordable, sustainable and reliable energy services.

This Great Transformation can only be achieved with a new global contract between science and society which needs to tap all sources of ingenuity and cooperation to meet this challenge of the 21st century. The scientific community and the leaders, institutions and movements representing the worldwide civil society have to engage in a strategic alliance. The need is to embrace a multi-national innovation program on the basic needs of human beings, requiring the scale of for instance the Apollo Program. In addition, it is essential to remove the persisting cognitive divides and to create a global initiative on the advancement of sustainability science to win over the best young minds for laying the cognitive foundations for the well-being of the generations further down the line.

The Symposium was organized by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature and with principal support from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research.