Nobel science laureates stress urgency of addressing climate change

James Marshall
December 10, 2019

The winners of the Physics, Chemistry and Economy Awards made the assessment on Saturday at a press conference ahead of the award ceremony next week.

The comments come with politicians and diplomats in the second week of climate change talks in Madrid, where they are attempting to finalise details of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

As space agencies like NASA are busy formulating plans for human colonization in Mars, Didier Queloz, a Swizz astronomer who shared the 2019 Nobel Prize for Physics for discovering planets orbiting distant suns has revealed that the missions to colonize distant planets are far-fetched and unrealistic.

He says this view is "irresponsible" and there is no serious hope of it.

Mr Queloz appeared to be referencing the theory held by some scientists, including late cosmologist and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, that threats such a nuclear war and climate change could become so serious that humans will eventually have to depart the planet in order for the species to survive.

"So we better spend our time and energy trying to fix it than trying to imagine that we will ... destroy it and leave it", he said.

Esther Duflo, one of the economics laureates, cautioned that dealing with climate change "will require a change in behaviour, particularly in the rich countries" that are heavy consumers of goods and energy.

While some believe that there is no need to consume less provided consumption is fuelled by renewable energy, "it would be great if that were the case but I don't think we can count on it necessarily", she said.

Briton Stanley Whittingham, awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize for Chemistry along with American John Goodenough and Akira Yoshino of Japan for inventing the lithium-ion battery, said a pragmatic approach was needed to the climate crisis.

From left, Nobel Laureates in Economic Sciences Michael Kremer, Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee attend a press conference at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019.

"Maybe some of the young folks don't realize how long it takes".

The prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace have been created and funded within the will of Swedish dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel and have been awarded since 1901. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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