Over eleven thousand academics, scientists and researchers have released a joint statement declaring a global climate emergency.
Last week, over eleven thousand academics, scientists, and researchers released a joint statement declaring a Climate Emergency. The experts from 153 countries warned that unless we take critical action now, “untold human suffering” lies ahead.
The letter, which builds on data first reported in Geneva during the first-ever World Climate Conference in 1979, is a stark warning for future generations.
Six steps to save the world
The message highlights what researchers believe are six key factors that we need to address as a species in order to prevent irreparable damage to the planet.
- The critical need for the world to replace fossil fuel.
- The reduction of pollutants like methane and carbon.
- Active restoration and protection of our fragile ecosystems.
- Reducing the global consumption of meat.
- The need to nudge our economy in a carbon-free direction and towards social justice.
- Halting our spiraling population growth.
The letter, published last week in the BioScience magazine, has a stern tone. It warns of nuanced and cascading effects, even if we’re able to meet the increasingly unlikely goal of keeping global warming under the ‘best case scenario’ prediction of 1.5 degrees.
One of the report’s lead authors, Bill Ripple from Oregon State University, also argues that the current method of measuring climate change is too simplistic and it’s time for the world to up its game.
In compiling the report, researchers followed their own lead by using a wide spectrum of data. They considered deforestation, GDP, temperature, population growth, and even tallied the global number of cows.
Professor Ripple also voiced concern over increases in global and ocean temperature, as well as sea levels and the acidity of the oceans. He then went on to warn that glaciers are disappearing, and overall ice levels are shrinking at a worrying rate.
The research also highlights the more abstract dangers that are posed by rising temperatures. The letter claims the costs of addressing increasingly frequent natural disasters, like droughts, floods, fires, and hurricanes, have almost doubled over the last decade.
The report also warns that the $200 billion price tag for dealing with these tragedies is only going to increase as temperatures continue to rise. Yet, for all the doom and gloom, and despite the alarming figures, the report makes it clear there is still hope.
Not all bad news
The letter, although urgent in tone, also highlights some of the positives in the fight against climate change. There’s good news, for example, regarding the rise of renewable energy and the decline in the global birth rate.
The danger, of course, is complacency, and we know what they say about old habits. In addition, the letter warns that much of our progress is in danger of being canceled out by some worrying new trends. According to the report, we’ve never flown more, we’re eating more meat, and despite the best efforts of environmentalists, we’re cutting down trees faster than ever.
Despite this, the report does leave room for optimism. Its authors are encouraged by the global movement that has been inspired by the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and other grassroots movements around the world.
Its authors praise proactive governments for taking steps to address the crisis and note that global awareness of the impending climate catastrophe has never been higher.
There’s also mention of the many legal battles surrounding the issues that are taking place in courtrooms all over the planet, and the authors note that there are some in the business world who finally seem to be taking the climate crisis seriously.
In summing up the letter, Professor Ripple claims that the report is an attempt to instigate major “transformative change” and hopes, rather starkly, that we as a species, “still have what it takes to sustain life on the planet.”
The report came at the same time as a big win by Extinction Rebellion in the High Court over their right to protest. The victory came as the UK activists took the Police to court after being unilaterally banned from protesting in the nation’s capital. The High Court’s decision deemed the Metropolitan Police’s ban to be unlawful.