Danish scientists call for civil disobedience over climate

174 Danish scientists on Friday called for civil disobedience in order to pressure governments into taking action on the climate crisis.

Danish scientists call for civil disobedience over climate
Danish school children participate in a climate strike in Aarhus in March. Photo: Henning Bagger / Ritzau Scanpix

An open letter by the scientists, which called for the action, was published by newspaper Politiken.

In the letter, the scientists write that they see it as their duty to call for “non-violent protest” to force specific and immediate societal changes that would benefit the climate.

“We consider the growing climate crisis to be an existential threat to people in Denmark and the rest of the world, and we can’t sit by as Danish politicians fail to take immediate and necessary action to prevent this escalating crisis,” the letter reads.

The researchers have taken inspiration from the Extinction Rebellion movement which began in the United Kingdom last year and recently saw major protests in London, with thousands on the street and the city’s infrastructure brought to a standstill.

Following the protests, British researchers published a message of their support for the protests through media in the UK.

Both British and Danish researchers aim particular criticism at the political system, which they say has “failed the social contract between the government and the public”.

“Instead of recognizing that we live on a planet with limited resources, one government after the other has sought to increased economic growth and encouraged unrestricted consumption,” the 173 researchers write in the letter.

Jens-André Herbener, one of the academics who signed the letter and an organiser of the public statement, told Ritzau that non-violent civil protest had been shown to be an “effective catalyser for major and positive societal change”.

Such protests should “bring parts of society to a standstill so politicians cannot continue to ignore demands for change,” Herbener said.

“There could be a general strike for one day, a week or a whole month. As long as necessary to get politicians to respond and to do as the UN climate panel recommends,” he said.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg is to participate in a climate march in Copenhagen on Saturday.

Thunberg will give a speech outside Christiansborg Palace, the seat of parliament, prior to the march.

READ ALSO: Thousands of young Danes take part in climate strike at parliament

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Why white Christmases are becoming rare in Denmark

The chance of seeing a snow-covered Denmark at Christmas is slim, not just this year but for many to come, according to meteorologists.

Why white Christmases are becoming rare in Denmark
Aalborg on December 26th, 2011. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) has updated its prognoses for the country’s climate for the rest of this century.

A general temperature increase of 3.5 degrees Celsius is predicted if CO2 emissions remain at current levels.

That will result in fewer sub-zero days during the winter. The current average of 80 days each year with sub-zero temperatures will fall to 30 days, according to senior DMI climate researcher Rasmus Anker Pedersen.

“The probability of snowfall will be reduced, as will the probability that the snow will settle when it falls. So overall, white Christmases will become even more seldom,” Pedersen said.

“When frost disappears it also means that the season in which you can expect to be able to grow crops will be significantly longer. At the moment it’s 8 months, but it could increase to 11 months,” he added.

The warmest summer days will increase from 29 degrees to 33 degrees, according to the DMI long term prognosis. Heat waves will become more commonplace and summer rainfall will be more likely to take the form of thunderstorms.

“We are looking at a marked increase in heavy rainfall and up to 70 percent more downpours. That could mean that rain will not be taken up by the soil in the same way as if it rains more evenly,” Pedersen said.

Major floods, which currently occur around once every two decades, could become as frequent as biannual occurrences, according to DMI.

The meteorological prognoses can be used as a resource by local authorities that need to account for climate changes in city development plans.

“But it could also be used as a motivation to reduce CO2 admissions,” Pedersen said, noting that several scenarios using different projected CO2 admission levels had been mapped out by the agency.

READ ALSO: Here’s how to check what your local weather in Denmark could be like in 2100