If you still had any confidence in the state of our planet, then 11,000 scientists are here to change your mind as they’ve just declared a global climate change emergency.
Scientists from 153 different countries came together to express their concern about climate change in a statement published in the journal BioScience.
It comes on the 40th anniversary of the first world climate conference, which was held in Geneva in 1979.
Though multiple global bodies have been discussing the need for ‘urgent action’ for decades, greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and the scientists warned ‘untold human suffering’ is unavoidable if we fail to massively change the way we live.
The statement from the 11,000 scientists comes on the same day Trump announced the US would be pulling out of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
The statement reads in part:
We declare clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.
To secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live. [This] entails major transformations in the ways our global society functions and interacts with natural ecosystems.
The latest Global Ocean Heat Content report finds that 2019’s July–September was the highest heat content for such a period since recordkeeping began in 1955. https://t.co/yHjOpVgfo4 #StateofClimate pic.twitter.com/asNsoao8Mu
— NOAA NCEI Ocean Geo (@NOAANCEIocngeo) November 4, 2019
The document was spearheaded by William Ripple, who works as a professor of ecology at Oregon State University. Ripple said he was driven to create the statement after witnessing the increase in extreme weather.
In the statement, Ripple spoke about the concerning lack of action taken in the past few decades.
Despite 40 years of major global negotiations, we have continued to conduct business as usual and have failed to address this crisis.
A key aim of the scientists’ warning is to set out a full range of ‘vital signs’ as indicators of the causes and effects of climate breakdown, rather than only carbon emissions and surface temperature rise.
Co-author Thomas Newsome, of the University of Sydney, said other indicators which should be monitored include ‘human population growth, meat consumption, tree-cover loss, energy consumption, fossil-fuel subsidies and annual economic losses to extreme weather events.’
The letter emphasises there is no time to waste when it comes to climate change, as it states:
The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity.
The letter focuses on a number of key objectives. Namely, replacing fossil fuels; cutting pollutants like methane and soot; ending the destruction of nature and restoring ecosystems; eating less meat; and converting the economy to one that is carbon-free.
Despite the concerning warnings, the scientists emphasised not all hope is lost and said they are ‘encouraged by a recent surge of concern.’
Such swift action is our best hope to sustain life on planet Earth, our only home.
Researchers added they have a moral obligation to ‘clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat’ and ‘tell it like it is’.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.