Thousands of scientists reiterate calls for immediate action on climate crisis in an article published Wednesday in the journal BioScience.
“The extreme weather patterns and events we have witnessed in recent years (not to mention the last few weeks) highlight the greater urgency with which we must address the climate crisis,” said Philip Duffy, co-author of the study. and executive director of the Woodwell Climate Research Center in the U.S. state of Massachusetts.
Two years ago, more than 10,000 scientists from about 150 countries jointly declared a global climate emergency. They are now joined by more than 2,800 more signatories to urge the protection of life on Earth.
Since the 2019 declaration, the Earth has experienced an “unprecedented increase” in climate-related disasters, the researchers noted.
What are the signs?
For the study, researchers relied on “vital signs” to measure planetary health, including greenhouse gas emissions, glacier thickness, sea ice extent, and deforestation. Of 31 signs, the scientists found that 18 reached record highs or lows.
2020 was the second hottest year since records began, scientists said. And earlier this year, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere was higher than at any time since the measurements began.
The authors noted that all-time low levels of ice mass have been recorded in Greenland and Antarctica. Glaciers are melting 31 percent faster than just 15 years ago, they added.
Meanwhile, the Brazilian Amazon’s annual loss rate reached a 12-year high in 2020.
Tim Lenton, director of the Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter and co-author of the study, said the recent record heat wave in the western United States and Canada showed that the weather had already begun to ” in unexpected and shocking ways. “
“We need to respond to the evidence that we are reaching climate turning points with equally urgent actions to decarbonize the global economy and start restoring rather than destroying nature,” he said.
How can we respond to the climate crisis?
The researchers reiterated calls for transformative change, listing three main emergency responses in the immediate term:
- Gradual elimination and elimination of fossil fuels
- Implementation of a “significant carbon price”
- Restore ecosystems such as carbon sinks and biodiversity hotspots
The authors said climate change should be included in basic curricula of schools around the world to raise awareness.
Scientists also urged reducing pollutants, stabilizing the human population and switching to plant-based diets.
“We need to stop treating the climate emergency as a stand-alone problem: global warming is not the only symptom of our stressed terrestrial system,” said William Ripple, lead author of the study and professor of ecology at Col. Forest College of Oregon State University.
“Policies to combat the climate crisis or any other symptom should address its root cause: human overexploitation of the planet.”
(This article was originally published in Deutsche Welle.)
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