From lab work to global action: Local scientist signs climate emergency letter

Michelle de Leon/ November 5, 2018

(Dr. Arthur Fredeen is a Professor at UNBC and handles on-going projects for forest management / Source: University of Northern British Columbia)

On our side of the world

An open letter signed by thousands of scientists and experts from around the world have made it loud and clear about their universal agreement over the planet’s emerging climate crisis.

Published Tuesday in the journal BioScience, the letter includes 11,258 signatures from 153 countries – including forest ecophysiologist, Dr. Arthur Fredeen.

Dr. Freeden says the letter resonated on what he feels is a major risk to the future, and signing it was a way to provide his opinion and lend his expertise.

“As a scientist, I felt like it was a way for me to have a voice. Typically, we write papers that end up on journals that get read by other scientists but we don’t necessarily inform the public about what we know.” – Dr. Arthur Fredeen

The UNBC professor studies the effects of increasing greenhouse gasses on global warming with plant communities as well as effects of climate change on the biosphere.

He hopes that by joining the many scientists getting behind on the open letter, it would catch the attention of world nations and leaders as he feels the efforts on creating solutions are inadequate.

Dr. Fredeen also notices that the youth are taking action, with faces like Greta Thunberg declaring it’s the future of the next generation that is being compromised.

“I’m hoping we stop investing in fossil fuels and subsiding fossil fuels. I’m hoping we can move towards a sustainable society that uses energy sources that don’t create greenhouse emissions.” – Dr. Arthur Fredeen

The Open Letter

The document was published on the 40thanniversary of the first world climate conference, in 1979 held in Genea.

To read the full open letter, click here.

Scientists say the changes are urgent and need to inc lude ending population growth, leaving remaining fossil fuels in the ground and halting forest destruction.

“…We declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.” – Alliance of World Scientists

As a result of these human activities, there are trends of increasing land and ocean temperatures as well as rising sea levels and extreme weather events.

To read more information about rising sea levels, click here.


The world must quickly implement massive energy efficiency and conservation practices and must replace fossil fuels with low-carbon renewables and other cleaner sources of energy if safe for people and the environment.

Short-lived Pollutants

Promptly reduce the emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, which include methane, black carbon and greenhouse gasses. Doing this could potentially reduce the short-term warming trend by more than 50% over the next few decades.


Protect and restore Earth’s ecosystems and protect the remaining primary and intact forests. Quickly reduce habitat and diversity loss and preserve plants, animals and microorganisms that play significant roles in carbon and nutrient cycling storage.


Eating mostly plant-based foods while reducing the global consumption of animal products especially livestock can improve human health and significantly lower GHG emissions. This will free up croplands for growing much-needed human plant food instead of livestock feed, while releasing some grazing land to support natural climate solutions.


The world population must be stabilized—and, ideally, gradually reduced—within a framework that ensures social integrity. There are proven and effective policies that strengthen human rights while lowering fertility rates and lessening the impacts of population growth on greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss. These policies include making family-planning services available to all people, removing barriers to their access and achieve full gender equity, and primary and secondary education as a global norm for all, especially girls and young women.


Adopting a carbon-free economy that addresses human dependence on the biosphere. The goals need to shift from economic growth towards sustaining ecosystems and improving human well-being by prioritizing basic needs and reducing inequality.

Solutions and Action

The open letter states the Alliance of World Scientists are ready to help decision-makers in the transition to a sustainable future.

They urge the widespread of this knowledge for policy makers and the general public to understand the magnitude of this crisis and then realign priorities for alleviating climate change.

We believe that the prospects will be greatest if decision-makers and all of humanity promptly respond to this warning and declaration of a climate emergency and act to sustain life on planet Earth, our only home. – Alliance of World Scientists

The scientists behind the letter are hopeful that efforts for transformative change promises far greater human well-being than continuing on with the state of the world right now.