Together with 1943 other Swedish scientists, I co-signed an opinion article in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet with the translated title “Enough, politicians – take climate change seriously“. In short, we argue that the facts have been on the table of many years, but little action has been undertaken. Compare the action taken against covid-19 to the dull inaction taken to address the climate crisis, and you may see where the frustration comes from. Action is still possible, but not if we refuse to acknowledge climate change as a problem. The piece ends with (my translation):
The situation is dire – the emissions continue to rise when they would need to be dramatically reduced. We now plead with all politicians in Sweden: put the climate crisis on the top of the agenda! Use the available scientific expertise; start by enacting the recommendations you have already got from the Climate council.
Treat the climate crisis as the acute and life changing crisis it is, and show political leadership!
The opinion piece can be read here (in Swedish)
A random sample of things from this week’s scientific news I think are worth sharing:
Britain is apparently shutting down many of its climate change outreach efforts. I find this very saddening, and see it as an indication of our extreme short-sightedness. We need to put more effort and funding into preserving the environment – not less. In addition, the economic benefits of taking care of the nature around us will probably be much larger than the small sums we save in the short term by not doing anything. We clearly need better incentives to look beyond the next budget and the next election.
The editorial of Nature Reviews Microbiology points the torch on the need for research within basic microbiology, pointing out that “the functions of many genes in the genomes of even the best studied organisms, such as Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis, remain unknown. Often these genes do not resemble other, characterized, genes in the databases, allowing for the possibility that interesting new pathways remain to be discovered. (…) if we want to understand how life works at the molecular level, it is crucial to continue and expand basic microbiology research.” I would like to add that a more complete understanding of at least one model organism would drastically increase the accuracy of genome (and metagenome) annotation in new sequencing projects, which today is patchy, to say the least.