Area researchers, activists sound alarm over climate report

Jewish Journal

BOSTON – Following an international scientific body’s grim prediction for the future of Planet Earth, Jewish scientists and researchers in the Boston area and the North Shore shared their thoughts on the dire forecast.

On Aug. 9, the Intergovern­mental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a part of the UN, released its latest findings in the Sixth Assessment Report, which stated that it is likely that global warming will increase by 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius in the coming decades. The report linked this to global warming caused by humans, principally through the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, and cited already-record temperatures and extreme weather events that may become more dramatic.

“The key takeaway is that climate change isn’t something happening in the future, it’s happening now,” said Peter Frumhoff, the director of science and policy and chief climate scientist of the Cambridge-based Union of Concerned Scientists. “We’re already seeing demonstrated threats to the Earth’s climate – rising seas, more extreme floods and droughts, more extreme heat in every section of the world, including the U.S.”

Frumhoff had participated in a previous IPCC study, the Fourth Assessment Report, which was released in 2007 and won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The point of the most recent study, he said, “is that the unbelievably extreme heat in the Pacific Northwest, the floods in Europe, the wildfires that – even though they’re in the West – [we see] smoke coming over New England and affecting our air quality … we know the cause – burning fossil fuels, primarily the major driver, CO2 pollution in the atmosphere. … If we are to limit the worst consequences of climate change, we have no time to wait.”

It’s a call echoed by local advocacy organizations such as the Jewish Climate Action Network (JCAN), the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action (JALSA) and Dayenu, which were among the cosponsors of climate rallies in multiple locations across Massachusetts on Aug. 19.