IPPC report reading marathon in Atlas

Initiators want to draw attention to ‘one of the most important reports of the past decades’.
Rector Arthur Mol reads from the IPCC report. Initiator Ignas Heitkönig on the right. Photo Felix Landsman

Text Felix Landsman

Concerned employees and students will read the IPCC report out loud for four days this week. In Atlas, they take turns at the lectern. ‘We call attention to the most important report written in the past decades.’ Student editor Felix Landman took a look.

‘…points to an implementation gap compared with the NDCs of 4–7 GtCO2-eq in 2030 (Table 2.2); without a strengthening of policies, emissions are projected to rise, leading to a median global warming…’ Technical phrases such as these can be heard throughout the week from the mouths of different speakers in the Atlas Atrium. The group Scientists for Future (S4F) calls attention to the university’s role in ‘combatting the alarming trends in climate change’ through a reading marathon in which the sixth IPCC report is read out loud.

Your attention, please

The idea comes from Amsterdam, where UvA and VU scientists were the first to tackle the report verbally. No mean feat, as the report is some 3000 pages. S4F hopes to read the entire report in a week. The pages are read out loud by renowned scientists, PhD candidates, students and other employees.

The event is an initiative of Ignas Heitkönig, a teacher and member of S4F Wageningen. ‘We must continue to draw attention to one of the most important reports published in the last few decades. The more attention these reports get, the better. We hope to convince the executive board to sever the ties with the fossil industry, or, at the very least, no refrain from establishing new ties.’

Serious and weighty matters

The reading marathon was not announced, and no permission was requested. Heitkönig: ‘Who could object to someone reading a scientific report out loud?’. The board had no issue with the initiative. In fact, rector magnificus Arthur Mol, chair Sjoukje Heimovaara and board member Rens Buchwaldt expressed the desire to contribute to the reading when the activity was announced. ‘We embrace their request’, Heitkönig states.

Mol says his reading assignment was ‘weighty’. ‘It makes you realise how meticulously the report has been formulated. It exudes the diligence of the scientific process. That leads you to conclude that there is no option but distance yourself from its content.’ Why did he contribute? ‘When I heard about this initiative, I thought: this is important. I wanted to contribute.’

Forum occupation

The night before Mol read from the report, WUR decided to have protesters of End Fossil WUR, who occupied a corridor in Forum, removed from the building. These protesters had motives similar to the reading marathon’s initiators. Mol: ‘We had constructive talks with the protesting students, including about ties with the fossil industry and the climate. It transpires that we want to reach the same goals, with the difference that we adhere to the position that there must be no staying overnight in the buildings. I really don’t need to appease the students; they are well aware of my position on the climate and environmental goals. Reading from the IPCC report is something I agreed to before the occupation of Forum.’

Heitkönig concludes: ‘What sets Scientists for Future in Wageningen apart from other universities is that not only researchers and PhD students read aloud, but people from all parts of the university: all staff and students. We’re in this together.’

Want to contribute to the reading marathon? Click this link or come to the Atlas building.

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  1. Did I read that right? Arthur Mol “wants to reach the same goals” as the occupying students? I guess that means he’s going to cut the fossil ties any moment then

  2. Super nice action to ask the Executive Board of WUR to break ties with the fossil industry!
    It’s also nice that the board thinks this is an important action. Action successful. Break the ties I would say. The entire board of directors participates. That’s a consensus then. 🙂

    Except that….. the WUR board does not break ties with the fossil industry. huh? that’s weird.

    The board does not want to break ties with the fossil industry :(. We activists from Endfossilwageningen ask the board to break ties. We activists therefore say “actually NOT the same” as the board. That’s why we occupy and that’s why we’re dragged out of the university violently on Monday night.

    The board participating in this action by S4F is therefore, just like the ties with fossil companies, greenwashing.