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The Stockholm Memorandum

Posted on 27 May 2011 by grypo

Tipping the Scales towards Sustainability

From May 16th to May 19th, 2011, seventeen Nobel laureates met in Stockholm, Sweden for the third Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainability.  The attendants outlined eight priorities in their message.

  1. Reaching a more equitable world
  2. Managing the climate - energy challenge
  3. Creating an efficiency revolution
  4. Ensuring affordable food for all
  5. Moving beyond green growth
  6. Reducing human pressures
  7. Strengthening Earth System Governance
  8. Enacting a new contract between science and society

Each area has advice on how to accomplish these goals.  It is well worth a read.

Panel of the Jury during the Noble Court Case: Planet Earth vs. Humanity. Jury members (from left): Nobel Laureates Werner Arber, Peter C. Doherty, Mario Molina, Carlo Rubbia and James Mirrlees.

Real Climate has a piece on it:

The Stockholm Memorandum concludes that we have entered a new geological era: the Anthropocene, where humanity has become the main driver of global change.

The Lyndon Larouche "climate-change-is-a-hoax" crowd dropped by:

I approached one of the protesters who carried a banner “against Green fascism” and asked him whether he seriously believes what his pamphlet says, namely that our meeting is a “symposium for global genocide”. He nodded emphatically and replied: “Yes, of course!”

National Geographic also does a write-up:

Despite the hard messages and difficult tasks ahead, like helping people rise out of poverty in the face of limited natural resources, the air was more optimistic than I can ever remember after such a gathering of international leaders. On the steps of the Swedish Academy, laureates and leaders and UN panelists combined for their photo op and the smiles felt quite genuine.   Enough to break business as usual?  Time will tell.

The Stockholm Memorandum document ends:

We are the first generation facing the evidence of global change. It therefore falls upon us to change our relationship with the planet, in order to tip the scales towards a sustainable world for future generations.

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Comments 1 to 23:

  1. Which of these Nobel Prize winners has published on climate matters?
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    [DB] The Symposium participant list can be found here.  Short intro/bio on each.

    Note that V. Ramanathan was a participant (he literally "wrote the book" on radiative-convective climate modelling).

  2. 1 damorbel It's a bunch of folks reflecting on a verity of global issues facing all of us. Why do they have to be experts in just one particular disceplen?!?!?
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  3. This gathering had such heavy hitters in their fields that the word "awesome" can only apply. I mean - Amartya Sen, Economics, and Murray Gell-Mann, Physics! Sen has moved from places like Oxford to Yale to Chicago. Gell-Mann was an equal sparring partner to the legendary Richard Feynmann, and shared a Nobel for theorizing the existence of quarks. The bathos of it all comes when you consider this set of speakers about to attend the "Heartland Institute Conference on Climate Change" with the theme "Restoring the Science". Scott Mandia on the Heartland Institute Conference As Michael Tobis almost said - is science that bad it needs the Heartland Institute to save it? It's like leaving Harvard University to attend Hamburger University.
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  4. Skeptics that can not accept the scientific consensus of literally thousands of climate scientists will dismiss this Memorandum of "the dirty dozen" of Nobel Prize winners, no doubt.
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  5. Re Response to #1 Ramanathan has not yet been awarded a Nobel Prize Re #4 Riccardo, you wrote "Skeptics that can not accept the scientific consensus of literally thousands of climate scientists." Which of the Nobel Prize winners taking part in the Symposium (or any other Nobel Prize winner for that matter) was awarded a Nobel Prize for, as you say: "accept[ing] the scientific consensus of literally thousands"? Nobel Prizes in science are awarded for outstanding progress in science, not for citing what is known already 'by the consensus of literally thousands'!
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    [DB] Strawman.  I never said Ramanathan was a Nobel Prize winner.  I gave you a participant list which identifies who the prize winners are and what their areas of note were.  I then made the observation that the esteemed Dr. Ramanathan was on the list.  Please do try and read more carefully.

  6. damorbel, The panelists in this gathering are the ones who form the consensus in the first place. What point are you trying to make?
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  7. Re #3 you wrote "This gathering had such heavy hitters in their fields" Very true. But I am a loss to know why the expertise of Werner Arber, awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine/Physiology in 1978 for the discovery of restriction enzymes and their application to problems of molecular genetics; should be put forward as a reccommendation. Surely he should be reccommended for his expertise in climate science. I think it is very demeaning, not to mention his relevant climate expertise; it might be thought he was some kind of interloper which is almost certainly not true.
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  8. Re Response to #5 It is not about what you said, The title of the event is "3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainability" Yes V. Ramanathan has written extensively on climate related matters, but he is not a 'Nobel Laureate'. Just what is he there for, to guide the Symposium towards its conclusions?
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    [DB] Please read the original post then.  And then the materiel linked within it.  This is all information you could find out for yourself.

  9. Do I not get an answer :(
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  10. This is about sustainability, of which climate is just a part, albeit, an important one. Whether or not they are all experts in climate science is irrelevant. It's an all encompassing look at humanity going into the future. Even scientists that are skeptical of the fat-tails on climate sensitivity don't dismiss the risk that these pose to human sustainability.
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  11. damporbel #5 "Nobel Prizes in science are awarded for outstanding progress in science," Indeed! Progress, not denial. Anyway I was just saying that this memorandum is going to be ignored by skeptics, which your comment apparently confirms.
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  12. @6 e: Err, no. See Skeptic Argument #4. These guys (with one exception) fall into Doran's "Active Publishers" category, not "Climatologist" and related categories.
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  13. Please, DNFTT. Damorbel is the one who contradicted himself for the sake of argument on the 2nd law thread, in which he demonstrated, among other things, total confusion on Wien's law. It is not worth engaging, especially since the point he is trying to make here is both ill-defined and irrelevant.
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  14. Outside of introducing the interesting term "anthropocene" for those who missed it at Real Climate, this post seems off-topic for Skeptical Science. It doesn't present or discuss any evidence; it is just an appeal to authority. SkS usually does much better.
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  15. Jeff T @ 16. I agree that, strictly speaking, this page may be off topic for this site, it might be worth keeping it here as a reminder to us that there is some activity happenning in the public sphere that is not following a 'skptical' adjenda. There is every chance that this symposium will produce decisions or ideas that will be relevant to spreading science based reasoning to the greater public (i.e. non-scientists like myself) and Its my hope that this site will report on them because I'm not very confident that the mainstream media will.
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  16. Stevo: that's a good point - I haven't noticed any mention of this symposium in the MSM at all, only on RealClimate & here. The only MSM coverage of global warming here lately has been about what a great big new tax it'll be, and how much it'll cost, and how it'll ruin the entire economy if we wean ourselves off the fossil fuel addiction. Actually, two or three articles I read in today's newspapers seemed to take it as given that the only "solution" to CO2 emissions is to switch from coal to gas.
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  17. @Jeff T #16 I look upon the Stockholm Nobel Laureate Symposium as the ultimate scientific unbiased jury. They certainly cannot be accused of "grant whoredom", and could all retire comfortably on their money and reputations, which are unimpeachable. Unless they are all raving socialists, which I doubt. They are also men and women of formidably independent intellects from different disciplines, so "groupthink" can hardly apply. The amount of agreement among the Nobel holders (among whom are at least two atmospheric physicists) should make any climate science contrarian think again, but probably won't. So this is not an Appeal to Authority. It reports Findings of one of the world's foremost Brains Trusts who have considered the evidence
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  18. 20 - Shoyemore I kind-a think it's something more than a "Brains Trusts who have considered the evidence" and agree / disagree with the findings. Certainly they've agreed with the core findings - but their focus seems to be more about what to do. And that takes a multi-disciplinary approach, lead by folks with some degree of authority across the board. This is the point damorbel decided to ignore, which is why s/he couldn't answer my question.
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  19. Re #21 & #2 You asked "Why do they have to be experts in just one particular disceplen?!?!?". Of course they can be experts in multiple disciplines but what is lacking is evidence of their expertise in the 'other' disciplines. If these well respected Symposium participants are to contribute successfuly to the stated goals of the Symposium; which are, let me remind you:- 1/ Reaching a more equitable world; 2/ Managing the climate - energy challenge; 3/ Creating an efficiency revolution; 4/ Ensuring affordable food for all; 5/ Moving beyond green growth; 5/ Reducing human pressures; 6/ Strengthening Earth System Governance; 8/ Enacting a new contract between science and society. What is to be provided really should be more than just a cursory references to (justified) reputations in their diverse fields. They are not alone in having such goals and if the Symposium is to be useful then much more is needed than acknowledgement of past success in (sometimes) rather recondite research.
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  20. Re #18 les you wrote:- "Certainly they've agreed with the core findings" I see nothing to justify this; do you have a link?
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  21. 18 - damorbel "Of course they can be experts in multiple disciplines but what is lacking is evidence of their expertise in the 'other' disciplines." OK, so why did you say "Which of these Nobel Prize winners has published on climate matters?"?!?!? As for your new statement - take a look at the biographies; you've a pretty good spread of disciples and even un-obvious things like Rubia's interested in 'other' nuclear fuel systems. More over, they're calling for actions on the issues you list... not proposing policy which, I suppose they feel, is the job of domain specialists. 20 - "a link?" try this one, from the above article You will see that this is not just about climate change (I said "core findings" for a reason) So again, why ask: "Which of these Nobel Prize winners has published on climate matters?"? Especially if you now feel they should have expertise in, some 'divers fields' other than what they have already... bit confusing.
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  22. Impressive that Murray Gell-Mann was a participant.
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  23. a. is there a group of Nobel Laureates, in any field, that hold a position in essence contrary to the one held by this group? b. is this group going to influence policy anywhere? c. I agree that so-called climate skepticism is a luxury we can ill afford. But, it is just so damn much fun!
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