Quotes - Extinction Rebellion UK


“There is a widespread view that a 4°C future is incompatible with any reasonable characterisation of an organised, equitable and civilised global community.”

Professor Kevin Anderson, deputy director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. “Climate Change Going Beyond Dangerous-Brutal Numbers and Tenuous Hope” in “What Next? Climate, Development and Equity” 2012.

“We are facing a man-made disaster on a global scale. Our greatest threat in thousands of years”

Sir David Attenborough, naturalist and broadcaster. Opening ceremony of United Nations climate talks, Katowice, Poland, 3 Dec. 2018.

“Surely we have a responsibility to leave for future generations a planet that is healthy and habitable by all species”

Sir David Attenborough, “State of the Planet with David Attenborough”, first broadcast BBC One Nov. 2000.

“This isn’t just about losing wonders of nature. With the loss of even the smallest organisms, we destabilise and ultimately risk collapsing the world’s ecosystems – the networks that support the whole of life on Earth.”

Sir David Attenborough, “Climate Change: The Facts”, first broadcast BBC One 18 April 2019.

“Climate crisis is the greatest ever threat to human rights. The economies of all nations, the institutional, political, social and cultural fabric of every state, and the rights of all your people, and future generations, will be impacted.”

Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, The Guardian, 9 Sep. 2019

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

James Baldwin, American essayist, novelist and playwright

“The future for low-lying coastal communities looks extremely bleak… But the consequences will be felt by all of us. There is plenty to be concerned about for the future of humanity and social order”

Professor Jonathan Bamber, Bristol University, 25 Sep. 2019.

“Global warming of 4°C this century is quite possible and would bring massive risks to life and society – heatwaves, coastal and river flooding, droughts and more… We don’t know how society would respond to the massive risks of 4°C global warming. Transformational change would be needed.”

Professor Richard Betts MBE, Chair of Climate Impacts at the University of Exeter and Head of Climate Impacts at the Met Office Hadley Centre, 2020.

“Soil is lost rapidly but replaced over millennia and this represents one of the greatest global threats for agriculture”

Professor Duncan Cameron, Professor of Plant and Soil Biology at the University of Sheffield, speaking at the 21st UN Conference of the Parties in Paris, 2 Dec. 2015.

“Once climate change becomes a defining issue for financial stability, it may already be too late.”

Mark Carney, Former Governor of the Bank of England, “Breaking the tragedy of the horizon – climate change and financial stability”, Lloyd’s of London, 29 Sep. 2015

“Efforts to reverse global warming will lead to “major changes” in the UK economy. Companies that fail to respond to climate change “will go bankrupt without question”

Mark Carney, Former Governor of the Bank of England, Channel 4 News, 31st July 2019

“The political and economic map of the world simply cannot cope with these stresses, without real change in the way nations plan, govern and commit resources. Disaster relief will likely be inadequate, insurance funds will probably fail, and vast dislocations of supplies and services are to be expected. Having a capable army and rescue services will not be enough. The threat of mass casualties, political upheaval, and conflict within and between states will certainly increase.”

General Wesley K Clark (Ret.), Former NATO supreme allied commander for Europe.“Climate change: The next challenge for national security”, Al Jazeera, 25 June 2013

“It is not enough to be compassionate – you must act.”

The Dalai Lama

“Global freshwater security – and therefore global food security – is at far greater risk than we ever imagined.”

Professor Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at NASA’s jet propulsion laboratory, 2 April 2019.

“The shock for us was that tidal flooding could become the new normal in the next 15 years; we didn’t think it would be so soon… If you live on a coast and haven’t seen coastal flooding yet, just give it a few years. You will.”

Dr. Melanie Fitzpatrick, Union of Concerned Scientists, USA, 18 Oct. 2014

“It’s time to participate in non-violent political movements wherever possible.” “Impossible isn’t a fact, it’s an attitude.”

Christiana Figueres, Former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2010-2016), “The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis”, Knopf published 25 Feb. 2020

“Every crisis contains both danger and opportunity. Today I believe we have to slow down our rate of production and consumption and to learn to understand and contemplate the natural world. We need to reconnect with our real surroundings.”

Pope Francis

“I see early signs of an economy that is more human. But let us not lose our memory once all this is past, let us not file it away and go back to where we were. This is the time to take the decisive step, to move from using and misusing nature to contemplating it.”

Pope Francis

“Every crisis contains both danger and opportunity. Today I believe we have to slow down our rate of production and consumption and to learn to understand and contemplate the natural world. We need to reconnect with our real surroundings.”

Pope Francis

“I see early signs of an economy that is more human. But let us not lose our memory once all this is past, let us not file it away and go back to where we were. This is the time to take the decisive step, to move from using and misusing nature to contemplating it.”

Pope Francis

“Listen to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor, who suffer the most. The urgent need for interventions can no longer be postponed.”

Pope Francis, Vatican City, 30 August 2017

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

St. Francis of Assisi

“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.”

Mahatma Gandhi

“Insect decline should be of huge concern to all of us, for insects are at the heart of every food web, they pollinate the large majority of plant species, keep the soil healthy, recycle nutrients, control pests, and much more. Love them or loathe them, we humans cannot survive without insects.”

Professor Dave Goulson, Professor of Biology, The University of Sussex, 2019.

“Climate change is moving faster than we are – and its speed has provoked a sonic boom SOS across our world. We face a direct existential threat.”

António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General. Opening remarks at United Nation General Assembly, 10 Sep. 2018.

“What we are doing [by subsidising fossil fuels] is using taxpayers’ money – which means our money – to boost hurricanes, to spread droughts, to melt glaciers, to bleach corals. In one word: to destroy the world.”

António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General. Reuters, 28 May 2019.

“We have all the resources we need to deal with this. There is nothing magical about reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. There is nothing magical about the greenhouse effect. We know exactly how to deal with it. We just don’t have the political or economic will to do this.”

Professor Stephan Harrison, Professor of Climate and Environmental Change, University of Exeter, “Climate Change: Current state of the Science”, Exeter, 9 March 2019.

“We are in a planetary emergency.”

Professor James Hansen, former Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, US Congress testimony, 23 June 1988.

“Tipping points are so dangerous because if you pass them, the climate is out of humanity’s control: if an ice sheet disintegrates and starts to slide into the ocean there’s nothing we can do about that.”

Professor James Hansen, former Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, 23 Nov. 2009.

“There is tremendous potential for the international shipping industry to decarbonise completely and reach zero emissions by 2050, yet there is very little sign of this sector is moving anywhere near fast enough.”

Bill Hare, CEO / Senior Scientist at Climate Analytics, 24 June 2020.

“The path that the world chooses today will irreversibly mark our children’s futures. We must listen to the millions of young people who have led the wave of school strikes for urgent action.”

Stella Hartinger, Cayetano Heredia University, Peru, author of the 2019 Lancet Countdown Report, The Guardian, 13 Nov. 2019.

“Climate change is accelerating more rapidly and dangerously than most of us in the scientific community had expected or that the IPCC in its 2007 Report presented.”

Sir John Haughton, Former Co-Chair of the IPCC, Former Director General of the UK Met Office, “Climate Safety in Case of Emergency…”, Public Interest Research Centre, 2008.

“To care about climate change, all you have to be, pretty much, is a human being on planet earth”

Professor Katharine Hayhoe, Eighth Annual Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication, 22 Jan. 2019.

“For policy makers who think of climate change as a long-term future issue this should be a wake-up call. Whether we succeed or fail in containing warming to 2°C is determined by what we do now, not in future decades.”

Professor Cameron Hepburn of Oxford University, 30 March 2016.

“We basically have three choices: mitigation, adaptation and suffering. We’re going to do some of each. The question is what the mix is going to be. The more mitigation [(reduction of emissions)] we do, the less adaptation will be required and the less suffering there will be.”

Professor John Holdren, former President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, on publication of IPCC fourth assessment report, 29 Jan. 2007.

“Everything that is expected to result from global climate change driven by greenhouse gases is not only happening, but it’s happening faster than anybody expected.”

Professor John Holdren, Science and Technology advisor to President Barack Obama, director of the Woods Hole Research Center, in “Climate Wars” by Gwynne Dyer, Oneworld publications, 2011.

“Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of green-house gases are the highest in history.”

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, 2014.

“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea level has risen.”

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, 2014.

“Every action matters. Every bit of warming matters. Every year matters. Every choice matters.”

IPCC YouTube video, based on the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C.

“Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history – and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely.”

Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Report, IPBES, 2019.

“The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by obvious realities. We need men and women who can dream of things that never were.”

John F. Kennedy

“It’s not enough to simply pray for a better environment, you have to stand up and take action.”

Fazlun Khalid, Founder of Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science, Deutsche Welle, 2 April 2014.

“This is an emergency and for emergency situations we need emergency action.”

Ban Ki-Moon, Former UN Secretary General, UN address, 10 Nov. 2007

“Climate change will lead to battles for food”

Jim Yong Kim, Former President of The World Bank, World Bank statement, 7 April 2014

“If you got in a plane with a one in 100 chance of crashing you would be appropriately scared. But we are experimenting with the climate in a way that throws up probabilities of very severe consequences of much more than that.”

Sir David King, Former UK Chief Scientist and Former UK Special Representative for Climate Change, 16 Sep 2019.

“There’s this remarkable building of this body of evidence that we’re making these storms more deleterious.”

Dr. James Kossin, Atmospheric Research Scientist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 18 May 2020.

“A rapidly changing climate has dire implications for every aspect of human life, exposing vulnerable populations to extremes of weather, altering patterns of infectious disease and compromising food security, safe drinking water and clean air”

The Lancet Countdown Report “The 2018 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: shaping the health of nations for centuries to come”, The Lancet, Nov. 28 2018

“We’ve found that one of the most worrying impacts of climate change has already begun. This is decades ahead of even the most pessimistic climate models. Humans have been lucky so far, as tropical forests are mopping up lots of our pollution, but they can’t keep doing that indefinitely. We need to curb fossil fuel emissions before the global carbon cycle starts working against us. The time for action is now.”

Professor Simon Lewis, University College London and University of Leeds, 4 Mar 2020.

“The use of forests as an offset is largely a marketing tool for companies to try to continue with business as usual.”

Professor Simon Lewis, University College London and University of Leeds, 4 Mar 2020.

“Our generation is going to be responsible for the loss of one of the most majestic ecosystems on the face of the Earth. We’re literally watching the death of this natural wonder.”

Professor Michael Mann, Professor of Atmospheric Science at Pennsylvania State University, speaking about coral reefs in “Climate Change: The Facts”, first broadcast BBC One 18 April 2019.

“We are seeing increases in extreme weather events that go well beyond what has been predicted or projected in the past. We’re learning that there are factors we were not previously aware of that may be magnifying the impacts of human-caused climate change… Increasingly, the science suggests that many of the impacts are occurring earlier and with greater amplitude than was predicted”

Professor Michael Mann, Director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, 26 Dec. 2017

“We know that with increased storms, increased floods, droughts and heat waves, production of food will be more problematic. Ensuring people have access to clean, safe drinking water will become much more difficult”

Professor Mark Maslin, Professor of Climatology at University College London.  “Climate Change: The Facts”, first broadcast BBC One 18 April 2019.

“While adaptation is now urgent and there are many adaptation opportunities, climate science tells us that further warming and risk increase can only be stopped by achieving zero net greenhouse gas emissions.”

McKinsey Global Institute, “Climate risk and response: Physical hazards and socioeconomic impacts”, 16 Jan. 2020

“Greater awareness of climate risk could make long-duration borrowing more expensive or unavailable, impact insurance cost and availability, and reduce terminal values. This could trigger capital reallocation and asset repricing. This recognition could happen quickly, with the possibility of cascading consequences.”

McKinsey Global Institute, “Climate risk and response: Physical hazards and socioeconomic impacts”, 16 Jan. 2020

“Climate change is a medical emergency … It thus demands an emergency response…”

Professor Hugh Montgomery, director of the University College London Institute for Human Health and Performance, Lancet Commission Co-Chair, 22 June 2015.

“Climate change is the greatest security threat of the 21st century,”

Major General Munir Muniruzzaman (Retd.), chairman of the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change, The Guardian, 1 Dec. 2017

“There is an air pollution pandemic”

Professor Thomas Munzel, Specialist in Interventional Cardiology, Risk Factors and Prevention, University Medical Centre of Mainz, 3 March 2020

“Join the dots. It’s happening. It’s happening in your world, it’s happening in my world. And let’s be very clear about this – it is going to get much worse.”

Dr Sunita Narain, Director General of The Centre for Science and Environment. “Climate Change: The Facts”, first broadcast BBC One 18 April 2019.

“You have to understand, this is also a crisis for the world. The fact is that if the poor are suffering today, then the rich will also suffer tomorrow.”

Dr Sunita Narain, Director General of The Centre for Science and Environment. “Climate Change: The Facts”, first broadcast BBC One 18 April 2019.

“Climate change is the biggest threat wildlife will face this century”

National Wildlife Federation, “Wildlife in a Warming World”, 2013.

“There are three factors with storms like this: rainfall, storm surge and wind. Rainfall levels are on the increase because of climate change, and storm surges are more severe because of sea level rises.”

Dr Friederike Otto, Acting Director of the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, and an Associate Professor in the Global Climate Science Programme.

“The next 20 years will be worse than the last 20 years — all indications point to that – and things will be completely nuts by the end of the century if we keep doing what we’re doing now.”

Dr Angeline Pendergrass, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, Nature, 20 Nov. 2018.

“The impact on families is going to be something that I don’t think we could ever prepare for.”

Colette Pichon Battle, Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy, speaking about rising sea levels. “Climate Change: The Facts”, first broadcast BBC One 18 April 2019.

“Unless we take evasive action, our future oceans will have fewer fish, fewer whales and frequent dramatic shifts in ecological structure will occur, with concerning implications for humans who depend on the ocean.”

Dr Éva Plagányi, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia, 5 March 2019.

“A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use. It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car.”

Dr Joseph Poore, environmental scientist at the University of Oxford, Guardian, 31 May 2018.

“Personally I find the results alarming. Species attempt to adapt to changing environment, but they cannot do it at a sufficient pace to ensure that populations are viable. Climate change has caused irreversible damage to our biodiversity already, as evidenced by the findings of this study. The fact that species struggle to adapt to the current rate of climate change means we have to take action immediately in order to at least halt or decrease the rate.”

Dr Viktoriia Radchuk, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Germany, Guardian, 23 July 2019.

“Sea level is rising much faster and Arctic sea ice cover shrinking more rapidly than we previously expected. Unfortunately, the data now show us that we have underestimated the climate crisis in the past.”

Professor Stefan Rahmstorf, Professor of Physics of the Oceans, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, 2009.

“What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?”

Professor Sherwood Rowland, Nobel prize winner in chemistry for discovering the impact CFCs have in depleting the ozone layer, “Annals of Chemistry: In The Face of Doubt” by Paul Broder, the New Yorker, 9 June 1986.

“Based on sober scientific analysis, we are deeply within a climate emergency state but people are not aware of it.”

Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Founder of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and former chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), European Research and Innovation Days event, 24 Sep. 2019

“It doesn’t matter how strong your opinions are. If you don’t use your power for positive change, you are, indeed, part of the problem.”

Coretta Scott King, American Author, Activist, and Civil Rights Leader

“There is a growing sense of panic in those who really understand what a 4°C world might be like.”

Professor Will Steffen,  Director of the Australian National University Climate Change Institute. “Avoiding the Unadaptable: A 4°C World”, Climate Commision, 2012.

“Climate change is the result of the greatest market failure the world has seen. We risk damages on a scale larger than the two world wars of the last century. What we are talking about is extended world war. People would move on a massive scale. Hundreds of millions, probably billions of people would have to move.”

Lord Nicholas Stern, Professor of Economics and Government and Author of The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, 2007. At Royal Economic Society (RED) Public lecture, Manchester, 29 Nov. 2007.

“The climate emergency is our third world war. Our lives and civilization as we know it are at stake, just as they were in the Second World War.”

Professor Joseph Stiglitz, Economist, recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, The Guardian, 4 June 2019

“Virtually all of us are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization.”

Professor Lonnie Thompson, director of the Byrd Polar Research Centre, “Climate Change: The Evidence and Our Options”, The Behavior Analyst, 2010.

“Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than what is politically possible there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground and we need to focus on equity. And if solutions within this system are so impossible to find then maybe we should change the system itself.”

Greta Thunberg, speech at UN Climate Change COP24 conference, 15 Dec. 2018.

“Forests can become lakes in the course of a month, landslides occur with no warning, and invisible methane-seep holes can swallow snowmobiles whole.”

Professor Merritt Turetsky, director of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at CU Boulder, 2020.

“It really becomes difficult to see at such levels of warming how we’re going to maintain our agriculture, such that the population of the world can actually feed itself.”

Dr Peter Stott, Head of the Climate Monitoring and Attribution Team at the Met Office.  “Climate Change: The Facts”, first broadcast BBC One, April 2019.

“at present rates of human emissions, there will be more CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere by 2025 than at any time in at least the last 3.3 million years.”

Elwyn de la Vega, University of Southampton“Atmospheric CO2 during the Mid-Piacenzian Warm Period and the M2 glaciation”, Scientific Reports, 2020.

“Nobody expected the ice sheet to lose so much mass so quickly, things are happening a lot faster than we expected.”

Professor Isabella Velicogna, University of California, Irvine.“The great Greenland meltdown”, Science magazine, 2017

“We have already observed impacts of climate change on agriculture. We have assessed the amount of climate change we can adapt to. There’s a lot we can’t adapt to even at 2ºC. At 4ºC the impacts are very high and we cannot adapt to them.”

Professor Rachel Warren, University of East Anglia, The Conversation, 2014

“The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

Sir Robert Watson, Chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, on publication of IPBES 2019 report.

“There is no question we are losing biodiversity at a truly unsustainable rate that will affect human wellbeing both for current and future generations”

Sir Robert Watson, chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, 3 May 2019.

“Children’s bodies and immune systems are still developing, leaving them more susceptible to disease and environmental pollutants. The damage done in early childhood lasts a lifetime. Without immediate action from all countries climate change will come to define the health of an entire generation.”

Nick Watts, Executive Director of the 2019 Lancet Countdown Report, The Guardian, 13 Nov 2019

“It is generally foolish to bet against the judgments of science, and in this case, where the planet is at stake, it is insane.”

Professor Steven Weinberg, Nobel-Prize winning Theoretical Physicist, “Third Thoughts”, Harvard University Press, 2018.

“The future of the human race is now at stake.”

Rowan Williams, Former Archbishop of Canterbury, 11 March 2019

“To ignore the challenge of climate change is to betray Jewish values.”

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, the Jewish Chronicle, 19 June 2017.

“…there is also no certainty that adaptation to a 4°C world is possible. A 4°C world is likely to be one in which communities, cities and countries would experience severe disruptions, damage, and dislocation, with many of these risks spread unequally. It is likely that the poor will suffer most and the global community could become more fractured, and unequal than today. The projected 4°C warming simply must not be allowed to occur”

World Bank, “Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must Be Avoided.” Washington, DC, 2012.

“The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity.”

World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency, BioScience, January 2020.
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