11,000 Scientists Warn of 'Untold Human Suffering' & Declare Climate Emergency
Eleven-thousand scientists from 153 countries have co-authored a letter declaring a climate emergency, warning that without huge shifts in the way we produce and consume, we face “untold human suffering,” in the face of climate change.
The letter, according to The Independent, is based on climate science first established in 1979 at the World Climate Conference in Geneva and was submitted to the publication BioScience.
“Despite 40 years of major global negotiations, we have continued to conduct business as usual and have failed to address the crisis,” William Ripple, professor of ecology at Oregon State University wrote.
“Climate change has arrived and is accelerating faster than many scientists expected,” he continued, pointing to the moral obligation researchers have to “clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat,” and their need to now “tell it like it is.” The collective says that “clearly and unequivocally, planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” without some backward steps in terms of the rate of consumption.
The scientists are pressing for progress with those backward steps, which include replacing fossil fuels, citing pollutants like methane and soot, restoring and conserving ecosystems, eating less meat, converting the economy to a carbon-free model and stabilising population growth.
“Global surface temperature, ocean heat content, extreme weather and its costs, sea level, ocean acidity and land area are all rising,” Professor Ripple added. “Ice is rapidly disappearing as shown by declining trends in minimum summer Arctic sea ice, Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, and glacier thickness. All of these rapid changes highlight the urgent need for action.”
Lead author of the letter, Dr Thomas Newsome from the University of Sydney, said that while monitoring global surface temperatures is indeed important, there are more factors to take into account; those include “human population growth, meat consumption, tree-cover loss, energy consumption, fossil-fuel subsidies and annual economic losses to extreme weather events.”
“While things are bad, all is not hopeless. We can take steps to address the climate emergency,” he said,” insisting there is still some room for optimism in the context of the climate threat. “We are encouraged by a recent surge of concern. Governmental bodies are making climate emergency declarations,” they add in the letter. “Schoolchildren are striking. Ecocide lawsuits are proceeding in the courts. Grassroots citizen movements are demanding change, and many countries, states and provinces, cities, and businesses are responding.”