Media & Events

Cutting CO2 Emissions to Limit Global Temperature Rise to Below 2°C Is Definitely Achievable









JAMES HANSEN, 2007 laureate, and his colleagues argue that “the modern world as we know it” – is adapted to what scientists call the Holocene climate that has existed for more than 10,000 years – since the end of the Ice Age, the beginnings of agriculture and the first settlement of the cities.

Warming of 1°C relative to 1880–1920 keeps global temperature close to the Holocene range, but warming of 2°C, could cause “major dislocations for civilization.”

Despite the global agreement to stay below 2°C, the world is on a path that, without action, will lead to an increase of 4°C or more. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in its Fifth Assessment Report, known as AR5, that such a rise might exceed the world’s ability to adapt.

The scientific report for the UN Climate Summit shows how the countries that emit the most greenhouse gases (GHGs) can cut their carbon emissions by mid-century to prevent dangerous climate change. Prepared by independent researchers in 15 countries, it is the first global co-operation to identify practical pathways to a low-carbon economy by 2050.

Read the Climate News Network articles:

2C rise will be a disaster say leading scientists

Bold pathways point to a low-carbon future


Don't want to get pregnant? Just turn on your microchip!









Remote-controlled Chip Could Be the Future of Contraceptives

MIT's ROBERT LANAGER, 2005 laureate, invented the controlled release microchip technology with colleagues Michael Cima and John Santini in the 1990s. He now leads a team  that is part of the Bill & Miranda Gates Foundation Family Planning Program and is adapting this technology for contraceptives. He hopes to have FDA approval for pre-clinical trials next year, with a view to have it available on the market by 2018.

Read the CNET article



Revisiting 9/11: Unpublished Photos by James Nachtwey

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James Nachtwey [2003 laureate] awoke early on September 11, 2001, having flown in from France late the night before. It was unusual for him to be in the city at that time, when he would normally be on assignment elsewhere in the world, documenting conflicts. He took his morning coffee to the east side of his Water Street loft, and looked out across the East River to the Brooklyn Bridge. He remembers that the sky was the bluest and clearest he’d seen in a long time, a condition pilots call “severe clear.” The bridge was lit from behind, with the sun glinting off the surface of the water. Nachtwey glanced down, and noticed some people standing on an adjacent roof, looking west and pointing toward the sky. He crossed the room to the windows on the other side of the loft and saw the north tower of the World Trade Center in flames. A few minutes later, the second plane hit the south tower. Nachtwey, the greatest war photographer of our time, knew instantly that this was an act of war. He packed up his cameras, loaded all the film he had, and ran toward the burning towers.

“Through the years my work has been fueled by anger at injustices and atrocities, but always in another country. Now it had happened in my own country, my own city, my own backyard, and the sense of anger had an edge that was even more personal.”

View photos and read Nachtwey's impressions of that fatal morning from TIME

What Climate Change Will Do To The American Economy








One of parameters of climate change is Mortality

"To put it bluntly, heat waves kill. Citing the study’s data, DR. ALFRED SOMMER, [2013 laureate], Dean Emeritus and Professor of Epidemiology and International Health at John Hopkins, said, “There will be 10 to 20 times as many incremental deaths because of excess heat and humidity 100 years from now.” In pure economic terms, never mind the emotional and moral toll, the likely costs of those deaths could reach as high as $710 per person each year by the close of the century — or $1,736 according to the VSL methodology. The states in the southeast corner of the country suffer the worst."

Read about the effects of climate change on other parameters - Agriculture, Energy Costs, Labor Productivity, Violent Crime, Coastal Damage, Think Progress, June 27, 2014 

A Contract between Earth and Its Inhabitants

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The Natural Contract [by Michel Serres, 2013 laureate]








The University of Michigan Press

Translated by Elizabeth MacArthur and William Paulson
Meditations on environmental change and the necessity of a pact between Earth and its inhabitantsDescription

Studies in Literature and Science

Global environmental change, argues Michel Serres, has forced us to reconsider our relationship to nature. In this translation of his influential 1990 book Le Contrat Naturel, Serres calls for a natural contract to be negotiated between Earth and its inhabitants.

World history is often referred to as the story of human conflict. Those struggles that are seen as our history must now include the uncontrolled violence that humanity perpetrates upon the earth, and the uncontrollable menace to human life posed by the earth in reaction to this violence. Just as a social contract once brought order to human relations, Serres believes that we must now sign a "natural contract" with the earth to bring balance and reciprocity to our relations with the planet that gives us life. Our survival depends on the extent to which humans join together and act globally, on an earth now conceived as an entity.

Tracing the ancient beginnings of modernity, Serres examines the origins and possibilities of a natural contract through an extended meditation on the contractual foundations of law and science. By invoking a nonhuman, physical world, Serres asserts, science frees us from the oppressive confines of a purely social existence, but threatens to become a totalitarian order in its own right. The new legislator of the natural contract must bring science and law into balance.

Serres ends his meditation by retelling the story of the natural contract as a series of parables. He sees humanity as a spacecraft that with the help of science and technology has cast off from familiar moorings. In place of the ties that modernity and analytic reason have severed, we find a network of relations both stranger and stronger than any we once knew, binding us to one another and to the world. The philosopher's harrowing and joyous task, Serres tells us, is that of comprehending and experiencing the bonds of violence and love that unite us in our spacewalk to the spaceship Mother Earth.
Read "Revisiting The Natural Contract" by Michel Serres, translated by Anne-Marie Feenberg-Dibon