Need more evidence that the world is careening toward a disaster thanks to climate change, more than 11,000 scientists from around the world have issued a sobering warning about the devastation humanity faces if something isn't done.
"The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected," wrote the international team of scientists and researchers in a report published in journal BioScience. "It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity. Especially worrisome are potential irreversible climate tipping points and nature's reinforcing feedbacks (atmospheric, marine, and terrestrial) that could lead to a catastrophic 'hothouse Earth' well beyond the control of humans."
Scientists have a moral obligation to tell it like it is
The scientists and researchers who are part of the Alliance of World Scientists argued in the missive that they have a "moral obligation" to clearly warn humanity about the catastrophic threat and declared unequivocally that planet Eart is "facing a climate emergency." The scientists which include Bill Ripple, professor of ecology at Oregon State University and co-author of the paper, said that to secure a sustainable future, everyone must change how they live and for new economic and population policies to be put on the books.
The scientists and researchers argued that economic and population growth is among the biggest drivers of increases in C02 emissions. They laid out six steps that governments, businesses and the rest of humanity can take to lessen the worst effects of climate change.
Massive energy efficiency and conversation practices necessary
On the energy front, the group called for the world to quickly create and implement massive energy efficiency and conversation practices so that fossil fuels can be replaced with lower carbon renewables and other cleaner sources of energy. Remaining fossil fuels should stay in the ground, while wealthier nations should help poorer countries transition away from fossil fuels. They also called for the elimination of emissions from short-lived pollutants including methane, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons.
As for nature, the scientists said we need to protect and restore coral reefs, forests, grasslands, wetlands, peatlands, and seagrasses among other of Earth's ecosystems. "Marine and terrestrial plants, animals, and microorganisms play significant roles in carbon and nutrient cycling and storage," wrote the scientists. "We need to quickly curtail habitat and biodiversity loss (figure 1f–1g), protecting the remaining primary and intact forests, especially those with high carbon stores and other forests with the capacity to rapidly sequester carbon (proforestation), while increasing reforestation and afforestation where appropriate at enormous scales."
Plant-based diet a recommendation for all
As for what we consume, they said humanity should adopt a mostly plant-based diet and reduce the global consumption of animal products, especially livestock. They also called for a carbon-free economy and a gradual reduction of the world's population.
"Mitigating and adapting to climate change while honoring the diversity of humans entails major transformations in the ways our global society functions and interacts with natural ecosystems," the group wrote. "As the Alliance of World Scientists, we stand ready to assist decision-makers in a just transition to a sustainable and equitable future. "The good news is that such transformative change, with social and economic justice for all, promises far greater human well-being than does business as usual."