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World Scientists keeping up the good work
April 19, 2024

The scholarly team led by Bill Ripple at Oregon State University is back at work, aiming to publish in October 2024 an article that build on the successes of its second CO2 Foundation-supported publication: reaching an upper bound of more than 14 million followers on X, ranking as the highest-impact scientific article among thousands of articles published in the 30 days after its publication, being viewed more than 200,000 times on the BioScience website, and receiving coverage from many major news outlets, including The Washington Post, Scientific American, Forbes, and more.

The 2023 State of the Climate Report: Entering Uncharted Territory was a continuation of the World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency 2022. This series of annual reports bring specific attention to the enormous year-to-year changes being observed in planetary circumstances, and the impacts of those changes on humans and other Earth denizens. The 2022 CO2 Foundation-supported project was itself a follow-up assessment of planetary vital signs with a focus on climate-related disasters and extreme weather. It was very well publicized (see, for example, articles in Forbes, The Daily Mail, and CBS News); it can still be promoted by sharing materials from the project’s social media toolkit.

A companion film, “Scientists Warning,” focuses on some of the backstory of the series of publications. Bill Ripple, lead author on the articles, also founded the Alliance of World Scientists (AWS), which “provides the collective international voice of thousands of scientists regarding the global climate crisis and environmental trends with the intent to turn accumulated knowledge into action.” Many of its 27,000 members signed the original World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency in 2019; in the film, a pledge is taken by many AWS scientists. It goes like this:

In particular, world citizens need to know that:

  • Business as usual with the ever-expanding human enterprise is unsustainable.
  • We must act fast and make progress with quick, bold, and transformative change to avoid untold suffering.
  • Scientists must deliver honest and sometimes even uncomfortable truths to those in power.
  • Speaking truth to power will have a significant influence on policymakers and outcomes.
  • The collective voice of many scientists can help turn knowledge into action.

As scientists, we pledge to stand together to effect positive change, while making a commitment to speak out about threats to life on planet Earth.

The same core group of authors remains committed to the 2024 publication, and they also intend to recruit new coauthors, including diverse international experts. This year, the team plans to present an updated version of an extensive set of planetary climate vital signs and updated assessment of global progress with regard to climate policy. There is especially high interest in current and near-term climate impacts, so the intention is to focus on impacts and attribution of climate disasters and record-breaking climate events, and emphasize the need for immediate action. The team will then give the report a new subtitle and make it and follow-up stories available to millions of people via mass and social media.

The CO2 Foundation holds this work especially close, as it was the first project we funded and the first to move into second and third rounds of funding. We recognize that scientists have a special place in the communication around climate issues, and the scholarship and strong public communications around this project exemplify how scientists’ voices can be collectively powerful.