If we continue on the same path, humanity is on track to face an “untold suffering” because of a climate emergency caused mainly by human activities, according to a new study signed by more than 11.00 scientists from around the world.
In the study, published in the journal BioScience, scientists no longer mince words when it comes to talking about the climate crisis, preferring instead to “tell it like it is.” They declare, “clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” which threatens every part of our ecosystem.
“We have joined together to declare a climate emergency because the climate change is more severe and accelerating faster than was expected by scientists,” Bill Ripple, professor of ecology at Oregon State University and co-author of the paper, told CNET. “Many of us feel like the time is running out for us to act.”
It’s not the first time thousands of academics united to urge people to take action on climate change. More than 16,000 scientists from 184 countries published a letter in 2017, warning that “human beings and the natural world are on a collision course.”
In this new report, the scientists, who come from over 150 countries, said the climate crisis is “closely linked to excessive consumption of the wealthy lifestyle.” Echoing the words of teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, the scientists have criticized policymakers for failing to take proper action.
“Despite 40 years of global climate negotiations, with few exceptions, we have generally conducted business as usual and have largely failed to address this predicament,” they said.
They listed six key issues that need to be addressed if humanity wants to prevent the most catastrophic scenarios.
These include replacing fossil fuels, cutting the emissions of climate pollutants such as methane and soot, eating less meat, restoring and protecting ecosystems, building a carbon-free economy and stabilizing population growth by investing into family-planning services and girls education.
Scientists are particularly concerned about population growth, noting that human fertility rates have “substantially slowed” over the last 20 years. The study calls for strengthening human rights, especially for women and girls, in order to combat the issue.
The paper was published just one day after the Trump administration announced a formal process to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement — an accord in which nearly 200 countries set their own national targets for reducing or controlling pollution of heat-trapping gases.