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2020, DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14978

Civil disobedience movements such as School Strike for the Climate are raising public awareness of the climate change emergency

Global Change Biology

Stephen J. Thackeray, Sharon A. Robinson, Pete Smith, Rhea Bruno, Miko U. F. Kirschbaum, Carl Bernacchi, Maria Byrne, William Cheung, M. Francesca Cotrufo, Phillip Gienapp, Sue Hartley, Ivan Janssens, T. Hefin Jones, Kazuhiko Kobayashi, Yiqi Luo, Josep Penuelas, Rowan Sage, David J. Suggett, Danielle Way, and Steve Long 


The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C” presented the ambitious tar-get of needing to achieve zero net emissions by 2050 in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement (IPCC, 2018). This report led some governments and jurisdictions to declare a climate emergency (Climate Emergency Declaration, 2019) and prompted the rise of movements of activism and civil disobedience such as the School Strike for the Climate and Extinction Rebellion. The reach of these civil actions extends beyond those directly involved, potentially increasing wider public awareness of climate change. Here, we examine trends in indicators of this wider public awareness and engagement and compare these with major global movements of civil disobedience focussed on climate, the release of substantive climate reports, and global governmental gatherings on climate change. We show that these global movements may be increasing public awareness of, and stimulating public engagement with, issues of climate change.

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