Nobel Laureates Hand Over Recommendations to UN High Level Panel on Global Sustainability

The Stockholm Memorandum concludes that the planet has entered a new geological age, the Anthropocene. It recommends a suite of urgent and far-reaching actions for decision makers and societies to become active stewards of the planet for future generations.

The verdict from the trial of humanity, which opened the 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium, has been incorporated into the Stockholm Memorandum: Tipping the Scales towards Sustainability [PDF]. In particular, the jury of Nobel Laureates concluded that humans are now the most significant driver of global change, and that our collective actions could have abrupt and irreversible consequences for human communities and ecological systems.

“We are the first generation with the insight of the new global risks facing humanity, that people and societies are the biggest drivers of global change. The basic analysis is not in question: we cannot continue on our current path and need to take action quickly. Science can guide us in identifying the pathway to global sustainability, provided that it also engages in an open dialogue with society, ” says Professor Mario Molina, who acted as judge and received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995.

Some of the other key messages of the Stockholm Memorandum are:

  • Environmental sustainability is a precondition for poverty eradication, economic development, and social justice.
  • With almost a third of the world living on less than $2 per day, we must, as a priority, achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
  • Develop new welfare indicators that address the shortcomings of GDP.
  • Keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, implying a peak in global CO2 emissions no later than 2015 and carrying with it a very high risk of serious impacts and the need for major adaptation efforts.
  • Foster a new agricultural revolution where more food is produced in a sustainable way on current agricultural land.
  • Inspire and encourage scientific literacy especially among the young.

The Stockholm Memorandum will be signed by Nobel Laureates on May 18th and handed over in person to the UN High-level Panel on Global Sustainability, which is preparing the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro (Rio +20).

“The Nobel Laureate Symposium has answered this emergency call from the future: environment and development must go hand in hand. Human pressures are challenging the resilience of the planet, while inequalities remain high. The only way to move towards fair and lasting prosperity for present and future generations is along a pathway of environmental sustainability. The time for procrastination is over. We cannot afford the luxury of denial, ” says Professor Johan Rockström, Symposium chairperson and Executive Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).

You can download the Stockholm Nobel Laureate Memorandum here [PDF]