Statement by 17 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates
September 20, 2019
There is a perception that with age comes wisdom, and yet, when it comes to confronting the greatest crisis facing humanity today, it is the young people who are bringing the moral clarity and sense of urgency that is so desperately needed.
We have known about the climate crisis for decades. Yet, year after year, we have failed to begin the transition to the safe, clean and renewable energy that must power this century. Instead, our leaders have insisted on expanding into more oil, gas, and coal with no meaningful plan for bringing our dependence on these planet-damaging fuel sources to an end.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that we have little over a decade to transform our energy systems. Some more recent studies suggest it is even less. Everywhere we turn there are signs of catastrophe: the Amazon in flames, a million plant and animal species at risk of extinction, lives and livelihoods lost in unprecedented droughts, floods, and heatwaves — and the tragic conflict that often follows.
Our words, demands, and letters seem unlikely to change the world. But the momentum of the youth climate strikes can. We have largely failed as the guardians of the planet. And while we are deeply disappointed to have come to this, we are enormously thankful that our generation of leaders has met its match in the faces of our children and grandchildren.
The time for rhetoric and inadequate action has ended. We no longer have the luxury of small steps in the right direction.
As Nobel Laureates from many disciplines and walks of life, we stand in unwavering solidarity with the Global Climate Strike taking place from September 20 to 27—and with the countless young people around the world who are courageously demanding action.
We call on world leaders at the United Nations Secretary General’s Global Climate Action Summit to listen, and respond.
We join in the call to end the age of fossil fuels and demand climate justice for everyone.
International Peace Bureau, Nobel Peace Prize, 1910
American Friends Service Committee, Nobel Peace Prize, 1947
Amnesty International, Nobel Peace Prize, 1977
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Prize, 1980
Lech Walesa, Nobel Peace Prize, 1983
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Nobel Peace Prize, 1985
Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, Nobel Peace Prize, 1986
Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Nobel Peace Prize, 1992
Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, Nobel Peace Prize, 1995
Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize, 1997
International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Nobel Peace Prize, 1997
Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize, 2003
Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize, 2006
Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Prize, 2011
Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Prize, 2011
Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace Prize, 2014
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Nobel Peace Prize, 2017