Dozens Arrested as Scientists Worldwide Mobilize

They want to send an urgent message: Only a “climate revolution” will be enough to avert catastrophe.

By Jake Johnson
Common Dreams

More than 1,000 scientists across the globe chained themselves to the doors of oil-friendly banks, blocked bridges and occupied the steps of government buildings this week to send an urgent message to the international community: The ecological crisis is accelerating, and only a “climate revolution” will be enough to avert catastrophe.

What organizers described as “the world’s largest-ever scientist-led civil disobedience campaign” kicked off on Wednesday just days after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report detailing the grim state of efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C by century’s end, a target set by the Paris accord.

As one of the report’s authors put it during a press call earlier this week, “Unless there are immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, 1.5°C is beyond reach.”

Warning that the IPCC report’s language was watered down at the behest of governments unwilling to rapidly phase out fossil fuels, scientists and their allies took that message further during their direct actions on Wednesday, operating under the slogan “1.5°C is dead, climate revolution now!”

“I’m taking action because I feel desperate,” said U.S. climate scientist Peter Kalmus, who along with several others locked himself to the front door of a JPMorgan Chase building in Los Angeles. A recent report found that the financial giant is the biggest private funder of oil and gas initiatives in the world.

“It’s the 11th hour in terms of Earth breakdown, and I feel terrified for my kids, and terrified for humanity,” Kalmus continued.

“World leaders are still expanding the fossil fuel industry as fast as they can, but this is insane. The science clearly indicates that everything we hold dear is at risk, including even civilization itself and the wonderful, beautiful, cosmically precious life on this planet. I actually don’t get how any scientist who understands this could possibly stay on the sidelines at this point.”

The Los Angeles demonstration was accompanied by other protests across the U.S., the largest historical emitter of planet-warming carbon dioxide and home to some of the most powerful fossil fuel companies in the world.

In Washington, D.C., climate scientists chained themselves to the White House fence and were ultimately arrested as they demanded that U.S. President Joe Biden declare a “climate emergency,” a step that would unlock a range of tools needed to combat global warming.

“We have not made the changes necessary to limit warming to 1.5°C, rendering this goal effectively impossible,” said Dr. Rose Abramoff, one of the scientists arrested at the White House. “We need to both understand the consequences of our inaction as well as limit fossil fuel emissions as much and as quickly as possible.”

“I’m taking action to urge governments and society to stop ignoring the collective findings of decades of research,” Abramoff added. “Let’s make this crisis impossible to ignore.”

Similar acts of civil disobedience were held across the globe as scientists took to the streets to demand that governments ramp up their transitions to renewable energy as the climate crisis intensifies extreme weather, endangers critical ecosystems, and takes lives worldwide.

In Madrid, scientists splashed red paint on the walls and steps of the Congress of Deputies to decry lawmakers’ inaction in the face of the existential climate threat. More than 50 scientists were arrested during the demonstration, according to organizers.

Scientists also mobilized in Germany, blocking a bridge near the country’s parliament building.

In an op-ed published in The Guardian on Wednesday, Kalmus warned that “Earth breakdown is much worse than most people realize.”

“The science indicates that as fossil fuels continue to heat our planet, everything we love is at risk,” he wrote. “For me, one of the most horrific aspects of all this is the juxtaposition of present-day and near-future climate disasters with the ‘business as usual’ occurring all around me. It’s so surreal that I often find myself reviewing the science to make sure it’s really happening, a sort of scientific nightmare arm-pinch. Yes, it’s really happening.”

“If everyone could see what I see coming,” Kalmus added, “society would switch into climate emergency mode and end fossil fuels in just a few years.”

Jake Johnson is a reporter for Common Dreams.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

25 comments for “Dozens Arrested as Scientists Worldwide Mobilize

  1. Robert Emmett
    April 10, 2022 at 09:22

    Holy shit! Scientists chaining themselves to banks? Who woulda thunk it??

    Remember back when the IPCC’s first report came out & most scientists were loathe to talk about it in public? Did they slip-up on the Precautionary Principle? Didn’t we all?

    It says: “where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.” (as stated in the Rio Declaration in 1992)

    Lots of people, politicians, businesses, utility lobbyists ducked & hid behind that nagging term “cost effective”. And thus was born a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    A few brave ones like Hanson stood up for the principle, stuck their necks out & took it on the chin.

    Early IPPC reports also projected the most serious effects wouldn’t be seen until the end of the 21st century. Well, they don’t get everything exactly right all the time.

    It’s a sign I tell ya. Scientists occupying the steps of government buildings.

  2. lester
    April 9, 2022 at 19:38

    Many earlier civilizations destroyed themselves by destrying their environments (Mesopotamia, Indus Valley). We are doing it too.

  3. lester
    April 9, 2022 at 19:34

    I’m reminded of an elderly relative who let the roof on his house cave-in rather than spend money on repairs.

    • LennyCat
      April 11, 2022 at 19:35

      It was his house……

      • John Trott
        April 13, 2022 at 12:28

        Ignorance is bliss.

  4. tiska
    April 9, 2022 at 14:30

    In this country war is the best business. And power for the internet, and for automobiles, and for tanks and aircraft carriers, etc.

    The profit enables some to take space flights for amusement. Enables us to carry wars all over the world.

    We do not make the changes we must to avert the catastrophe for our little planet, which is still beautiful….

    I believe we would like to get around without automobiles, but we have set up or society here so we cannot. We would like to get along without powering our electronic gadgets, but we have set up our society so we cannot. We cannot change in time to avert the disaster, the universe will go on, its laws continue despite our breaking them…. God does not change the universal laws to suit men, or mice, or butterflies….. we have to live in harmony with these laws or go down….. so we will go down.

    • rhapsody in green
      April 10, 2022 at 15:27

      I had a family friend from childhood who was a scientist. In one of his lectures he said, “Standing in a forest, seeing a big tree come crashing down, there’s a feeling in the pit of your stomach. It’s the bond of love between you and the big tree.”

      He found a word for what you describe in your comment as the laws of nature, a sanskrit word “ki-wa-di-ne” which he translated to mean “the love between all living things and the planet.” He regarded it as the highest form of love in the universe. He said it is the reason why trees grow towards the sun.

      As a pioneer of environmental awareness many years ago, he also said:
      “Humans seem to be the fly in the ointment. And yet, there is within each one of us the capability of making a change. We’re not going to do it by praying for all of the nations to stop fighting. We’re not going to do it in that sense. We’re going to do it in the sense of making ourselves better and therefore those we come in contact with better. And then it will spread. And that’s the only way it will spread.”

  5. Flinch
    April 9, 2022 at 13:04

    To gauge “warming limits” the proper thing to do with these alleged scientists that feel panic is to ask: if we had to warm the planet 1 degree C in the space of say… 40 years, how do we do it? The first tool to burp up co2 is ignoring the trends clearly demonstrated in the Vostok ice core samples: warming leads co2 about 700 years, not vice versa.
    Most of these folks are not scientists, but useful idiots, trained to worship their computers and the models contained therein… created by Men.

  6. Bishop Penster
    April 9, 2022 at 12:44

    Climate change is a fraud. The calamity that is upon is the geomagnetic excursion that is underway currently. The rapid decline in our geomagnetic field reduces the Earth’s ability to shield the world from the massive amounts of energy released in CME explosions that are released from the sun in large solar flares. The reduced magnetic shield allows this energy to hit the Earth and it will take out the grid systems. Google Carrington Event if you don’t believe me. An episode like that will take out our entire electrical systems and put up back in the stone age just as we are becoming more dependent upon electricity rather than fuels. Burning natural gas to create electricity has virtually zero affects on the climate or anything else and produces power at 2 cents per KWH rather than nearly 40 cents currently.

    Climate models cannot predict the future as non of their models have been successful in predicting the past. Just look at them. They do not consider the particle forcing from high levels of energy that hits the Earth from the Sun every day and from each CME. They only considered the radiance (light) and none of the high energy particles that stream into the world every second of the day.

    I’m sure you’ll see the rabid reactions to this post. Ignorance is bliss.

    • spiny flower
      April 9, 2022 at 22:10

      A+ for effort, however… a Carrington Event would not affect the Earth’s magnetic shield enough to re-orient the needles on a compass or disconnect a cell phone call, much less take out electrical grid systems. Please include a chapter on 5G radiation and aliens in your novel for more variety.

      There are many free documentaries on coral bleaching. Watch one of those and get back to us about whether climate change is real. All of the life forms in the ocean and on the planet are affected.

      • Duane
        April 10, 2022 at 06:12

        Yes, and I would only add a suggestion, for climate change skeptics, that they look at the photographic documentation of worldwide glacial retreat, which correlates closely with the sharp rise of fossil fuel consumption during the past 200 years. And, of course, the close correlation between the global rise of temperature and the rise of atmospheric CO2 since the beginning of accurate measurement of CO2 in the atmosphere in the mid-20th century.

        • John R
          April 10, 2022 at 15:01

          Agree strongly with your comment and the one that preceded it, Duane. Why trust our own lying eyes and lived experiences by bringing up coral bleaching, ocean acidification, glacial retreat, increasing extreme weather events worldwide, extinction of species, the alarming rate of ice melting in the Artic and Antarctic, decimation of rainforests in the Amazon, desertification of vast areas of the planet, etc. I do agree strongly though that Ignorance is bliss, but the price for that Ignorance still needs to be paid.

      • Bishop Penster
        April 10, 2022 at 09:39

        Too funny, you are totally wrong and the historical record of the Carrington Event included telegraph systems both in the US and in Europe that caught fire and burned, keys clicking away with no one on the other end.

        Current climate models only account for 0.10% affects from the Sun and then only irradiance. We all know that if the Sun suddenly went out (which of course it could not) Earth would freeze in an instant. Solar energy output rises and falls hence the amount of energy forced into the Earth (and the other planets) also rises and falls and has an impact on climate and many other factors. You can’t simply ignore that huge fireball out there and its affects on Earth by sweeping it under the carpet. There are thousands of scientific papers on solar climate forcing. Clearly human activity has an affect on the environment, there’s no question about that. There’s also no question that the Sun affects life on earth and denying it does is ignorant.

        • Abra
          April 11, 2022 at 20:42

          Comrade “Bishop Penster” pokes his head up in an all new game of whack-a-mole. Attention is deflected away from the problem of climate change caused by humans. “Bishop Penster” is a pseudoscience “practitioner” by design or by default, peddling theories of solar activity.

          “Bishop Penster” has never heard of SPF 100 sunscreen.

          Hilarity ensues!

        • spiny flower
          April 12, 2022 at 20:05

          You were right about the Carrington Event, Mr. Penster. It did in fact take out the telegraph lines. I don’t mind being wrong or losing an argument, it was an interesting conversation either way. Like the fish say, “my enemy’s anemone is my friend.”

  7. Litchfield
    April 9, 2022 at 12:17

    Has anyone suggested halting the production of cars?

    Also “green” cars? Has anyone actually analyzed the supply chain for mining the metals needed for the “green” revolution?

    Has anyone considered the foolishness of “canceling” nuclear energy?

    Has anyone stopped their cheerleading for NATO and the Ukrainian war, the continual warmongering and war profiteering of the MIC in mainly the USA but also elsewhere?

    Are these well-meaning scientists calling out the biggest polluters on the planet, the US MiC?

    I didn’t think so.

    They are not connecting enough dots to be taken seriously.


  8. SteveK9
    April 9, 2022 at 11:36

    I think we have clearly learned that ‘Scientists’ can be bought, or manipulated. I am one, by the way.

  9. Realist
    April 9, 2022 at 09:29

    Americans have been so brainwashed by the MSM that Ph.D.’s in climate science have about the same credibility as Russia in the cage match with Ukraine that Washington arranged for them, in other words, not much.

    I can say the science is legit, based on first principles of chemistry and physics, not some new age woo woo. There might be some variables we are not totally aware of but would not negate the entire body of collected data or its general interpretation that the climate, the weather and the sea coasts ARE changing and will be notably different in the future. I don’t personally know enough about this field to make my own predictions (temps, sea levels, named storms and intensity etc) but can say, like the coronavirus is real and covid is real, not a hoax, probably genetically engineered and either released or escaped from a lab, so too is global warming and climate change is real. The levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have been increasing at a constant rate since the beginning of the industrial revolution. CO2, like methane, is a greenhouse gas, which means that infrared radiation (i.e., heat) checks in but it don’t check out. Not right away. It lingers long enough before escaping to outer space to perceptively raise the temperature. In fact, if there were no CO2 in the atmosphere, the temp of the planet would fall low enough to bring back the infamous “snowball earth” (an era in which the entire surface of the planet was frozen solid).

    At this point the CO2 may have already done irreversible damage as huge reservoirs of frozen methane (which were not widely known or understood early in this game) are now being released from under the arctic tundra and ocean floors. Methane is even more effective than CO2 as a greenhouse gas, and their are massive amounts of it just waiting to be released. Methane also escapes to the atmosphere wherever natural gas (=methane) or crude oil is pumped from deep wells. So, there’s that too. You’ve heard the rest, I’m sure. Cows do burp and fart out huge amounts of methane daily. So do we humans. Hydrogen gas as well! But nowhere near as much as ruminants like bovines. Actually it’s the bacteria in the guts of all living animals that accomplish this. In ruminants these methanogens convert the celluose in the grass that the cows eat into glucose and other energy-yielding intermediates. So, if farmer John is raising herds of cattle and dairy cows on his 40 acres there is much more methane being released than if the resident fauna were a few sundry gophers, squirrels and the foxes and coyotes who eat them.

    So, “man has many sins,” not just driving cars and flying across country, but eating Big Macs and rib eye steaks as well. No more Big Macs in Russia (for the time being) but the other nearly 8 billion people still consume them. Everybody wants more of the blessings of the modern high tech world. After waiting through all of history until just a few years ago to live the good life, these billions of Chinese, Indian and African masses yearning to breath free and munch on McChicken nuggets are not going to gladly give these vices up so YOU, John Q. Public in America can continue to exclusively indulge. Just perusing the internet daily and visiting news and political sites in all the English-speaking countries, gotta say that most (>90%) commenters on the forums just don’t buy into global warming and all that follows what so ever. Doesn’t matter whether the science is “settled,” “unsettled” or just partially colonised, the public, the consumers, the voters are not buying it and the politicians will not touch it with a stick. They’ll give it perfunctory lip-service, if at a Democratic fund raiser, but it won’t be pushed into law–unless the ruling oligarchs want it. If they want it pushed for some ulterior motive, then I suppose it will be enacted with extreme alacrity.

    All the electronic vehicles being ballyhooed as replacements for internal combustion engines are just a racket. Not possible to scale up to the saturation level the politicians say they “want.” Don’t have the electrical power generating infrastructure to support it and it can’t be expanded anywhere near fast enough to achieve stated goals. Moreover, mining for the components of the batteries is expensive and polluting. They are not recyclable and highly dangerous (explosive). So, every space to park a car, whether in lots or on the street, is NOT going to be fitted up with a charging station. These suckers still have limited range and an inordinate charge time (compared to filling your tank with gasoline) so the public is not gonna want them. Plus, bottom line, you would still have to either burn fossil fuel or build more nuclear power plants to accommodate all these Sons of Tesla. Either the stated policies and goals will have to be severely rescinded, or most people will have to go back to taking the bus to work and maybe a cab for a night out. So, the future even without the promised thermonuclear war will still suck. Don’t get me wrong: EV’s will do just fine for some people who can afford them and the necessary infrastructure (fast chargers at personal parking spaces), but that won’t be most people. Picture LA shown in the opening scenes of “Blade Runner,” that will be life in big city America. Teeming masses, English a minority language, most common transport=foot power, illuminated signs constantly barking orders. If the animals are nearly extinct, that ain’t real chicken in the Moo goo gai pan. For the well-off there WILL be limited-range battery-powered flying cars–quadcopters actually. Have fun fighting over the scraps our generation leaves behind.

    That was a change of pace from geopolitics.

  10. Surrealisto
    April 9, 2022 at 08:45

    Well all I can say is, good luck getting rid of billions of cars.

    • Flinch
      April 9, 2022 at 13:10

      That and they need to sharpen up some 19th century filing skills: they may want to have access to data in filing cabinets after the lights go out. These people think electricity is magic? It sure won’t grow on trees, and you also can’t go out and get a fresh bucket of electrons either.

  11. mgr
    April 9, 2022 at 07:25

    Joe Biden was a Trojan horse for bringing in Cold War 2 which is the fossil fuel industry’s silver bullet for stopping any meaningful climate change action.

    Despite the immediate destruction and misery of using Ukraine and the Ukrainian people as cannon fodder in a fruitless attempt to maintain America’s uni-polar position in the world, the “Democratic” Biden admin has killed the future for everyone.

    These are the remaining few years available to us to act in order to have any hope of mitigating the worse outcomes of climate change. Biden (“America is back! yay…”) has made sure that we will spend these last few years squabbling and fighting among ourselves rather than uniting in a cooperative last “revolutionary” effort to save our planet, people and future. Joe Biden and his admin promised progress and solutions (all lies) but instead has enacted the worst possible outcome for our children, their children, and onward, right until the last children humanity ever produces, with the most selfish, egotistical, and self-serving actions by any of the perverse parade of old men that have riddled the history of human civilization with sorrow. No second chances. Youth voted Biden in and killed their own future. As we see now, Biden and the ironically named “Democrats” with the help of their “woke (in the Orwellian sense)” base, have eaten everyone’s lunch. And they’re not done yet…

  12. Aaron
    April 8, 2022 at 22:59

    And the CEO of J.P. Morgan is…a Democrat! Obviously, our two parties will ensure total climate collapse within a decade.

  13. bobzz
    April 8, 2022 at 19:58

    “It’s the 11th hour in terms of Earth breakdown, and I feel terrified for my kids, and terrified for humanity,” Kalmus continued.

    Captains of the fossil fuel economy know climate change is real, but they are so addicted to money that they have no concern for their own children. They are counting on the severe climate crisis hitting after they are dead and gone. The kids can fend for themselves.

    • April 9, 2022 at 11:55

      This is true and if followed through on this point, then a climate revolution requires that first, a political class based revolution must come first. The current military industrial congressional (political) complex is the greatest polluter on our planet. A scientists’ resistance and message is admirable and important. It would be more promising for human survival if we took the first steps in this hopeful and struggle against US and European imperialism. Germany especially the Green Parties and with other nations that are so enthusiastic for war against Russia and China should be the point of focus for ecological resistance.

      • Who D. Who
        April 11, 2022 at 17:05

        Yes, well said. But one could add that the position of these scientists is politically a rather safe one to take at the moment, and that there are grave problems with far greater urgency pressing on us, such as the destruction of the middle class, medical martial law, and a military-industrial complex that has set the world on fire over the past 20 years.

        First we must rid ourselves of our criminal rulers; then we can address the climate issue. Otherwise the criminals will hijack the issue–indeed they already have–and use it as a cudgel to further control the population.

        It will probably take several generations to get a firm handle on the climate question, whereas changes of leadership can happen very fast in the right circumstances.

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