In a statement published in the Journal Bioscience, on, Tuesday, 5 November, a group of scientists came together to warn of the unfathomable suffering that awaits us if we as a civilization don’t step up and implement major transformations in our lifestyle and in ‘the way our global society functions and interacts with natural ecosystem.’
The statement which was released on the 40th anniversary of the first world climate conference held in Geneva in 1979, was endorsed by 11,000 doctors from 53 countries.
“There is no time to lose. 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,” reads the statement.
Prof William Ripple, of Oregon State University and the lead author of the statement told the Guardian, he was compelled to initiate such a statement because he felt obligated to do so as a scientist in the face of the increase in extreme weather that he was seeing.
Prof William Ripple, Lead author of the statement, Professor at Oregon State University, USA“ Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to “tell it like it is.”
Other ‘signs’ of the causes and effects of climate breakdown are the rise in surface temperature and rise in sea level.
According to Professor Ripple, even the spike in air passenger numbers and the world GDP growth are indicators of environmental degradation as “The climate crisis is closely linked to excessive consumption of the wealthy lifestyle.”
The statement also mentions some urgent changes that need to be undertaken, such as
- Ending population growth
- Reducing fossil fuel dependency
- Halting forest destruction
- Slashing meat eating
- Monitoring population growth
- Shifting economic goals away from GDP growth
In spite of these measures being common knowledge for years, their implementation has not happened to a satisfactory extent.
“Despite 40 years of global climate negotiations, with few exceptions, we have have largely failed to address this predicament,” says the statement. “Especially worrisome are potential irreversible climate tipping points. These climate chain reactions could cause significant disruptions to ecosystems, societies, and economies, potentially making large areas of Earth uninhabitable.”
It is hoped that the a full range of “vital sign” indicators of climate breakdown, rather than only carbon emissions and surface temperature rise, would ‘allow policymakers and the public to understand the magnitude of the crisis, realign priorities and track progress’, according to the scientists.
‘It Is Not Too Late to Change.’
The statement also illustrates some positive signs such as decreasing global birth rate, the increasing use of solar and wind power over fossil fuels and the recent surge of concern is encouraging.
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