On January 17th, at our South Seattle Climate Action Network meeting we voted to support and promote the petition to create a Nobel – Climate Prize. We are grateful to Helene Costa De Beauregard and her husband for creating this petition and working to bring attention to the dangers posed by climate change. We want to thank Helene for writing this guest blog-post about her experiences and her motivation to take climate action!
By Helene Costa De Beauregard
When I read the Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report back in October of last year, I was in shock. I thought myself educated on climate change issues (I started my career working on carbon markets and taking part in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations process). The reality check was hard: we need to reduce our emissions by half by 2030 and the world need to be carbon neutral by 2050, to avoid dire consequences. However, we are completely off-track. For the second year in a row, global emissions are projected to raise by 2,7% in 2018 and our window is closing fast to keep temperatures below 1,5 degree celsius above pre-industrial level.
That was a wake up call for my husband and I. We thought we were doing a great job in how we were keeping our family carbon footprint in check, but we were wrong. We realized we had to commit and do more. Because if we were to give up, what would be next?” What would be next for our two kids, for our nieces and nephews, for their friends? What would be next for those kids in less privileged countries who will suffer twice, three time more?
So we had been brainstorming for all our date night this evening in early October, discussing how to ramp up our efforts faster, how to make our Family Climate Roadmap more stringent and effective. At the end of our dinner, I was in great angst and needed a break. Fun distraction: the Nobel Prizes were announced! So we chit chatted about the latest laureates. That was serendipitous!
Alfred Nobel in his will created the Prizes to be awarded to “those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind”. Five initial categories were single out by Alfred Nobel: Physics, Chemistry, Medicine and Physiology, Literature, and Peace. When Nobel died on December 10th, 1896, climate change was not yet known nor comprehended. But today? we found asking ourselves. If Alfred Nobel, a chemist and engineer by training, had died today, would he have envisioned the creation of a Climate Prize the same way he wanted to honor the champions of Peace? We believe he would because there is no greater benefit to mankind than to act against humanity’s most imminent threat: climate change.
That’s why my husband and I decided to launch a petition to ask the Nobel Foundation Board to consider the creation a new Nobel Prize for Actions Against Climate Change.
The Nobel Committees themselves have already shown their willingness to reward works related to climate change: in 2007 with the Peace Prize awarded to Al Gore and the IPCC and in 2018 with the “Nobel” Prize in Economic Sciences given to Nordhaus.
This Climate Prize however would go one step further. It would create a new category, one which would reward, every year, extraordinary achievements and discoveries in reducing emissions, removing historic emissions already in the atmosphere and in the field of adaptation. Having a dedicated Prize on Climate would not only be highly symbolic, but it could also help cement the urgency to act against climate change as of the utmost priority to humankind.
In 1968, the Nobel Foundation accepted to administer a new Prize in memory of Alfred Nobel, the Prize in Economic Sciences. Fifty years later, the list is due for an update. Decisive actions against climate change will be this century’s highest achievement. They deserve to be rewarded, supported and honored by the most prestigious award of all.
We need 1 million supporters from all over our beautiful planet to make our request legitimate. If you think this cause is worth 30 seconds of your time to sign and share the petition, please consider doing it today. Join the already 27,000 people on every continent who are asking the Nobel Foundation to consider the creation of a new Prize for the Fight Against Climate Change!