Around 11,000 scientists from 153 countries signed an open letter declaring a climate emergency that could lead to the “extinction of humanity”. Published in Biosciences, the paper urges the government and some powerful groups to look further than just the surface climate, which will actually help to measure the severity of climate change. The report also outlined the six-major areas which require attention to mitigate the worst-case scenarios.
Sadly we are already facing sixth-mass-extinction with species around the globe and “Species that have vanished in the last 100 years would have taken around 800 to 10,000 years to extinct otherwise.” Says the research led by Gerardo Ceballos of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Short and wet winters, long and hot summers, the number of hurricanes hit and the rising Atlantic Ocean will surely affect New York in the coming years due to climate change. California is already burning high, Miami being flooded without rain, Phoenix with its high temperature for 132 days in a year and Colorado River Basin looks to be slowly drying up, meaning significantly less water for the city’s inhabitants. This is alarming and probably the fate of humans is now in another direction.
“Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat,” opens the letter. “On the basis of this obligation and geographical indicators presented below, we declare… clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.”
Exceeding just 1.5 °C global temperatures above pre-industrial levels could lead to extreme weather events that will be the new norms alongside significant sea-level rise, says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. If it exceeds 4 °C, scientists warn of a “hothouse earth” where natural feedback systems that keep the mother Earth cool will collapse, which is something beyond the fixing by humans.
The paper, co-authored by researchers from the University of Sydney, Oregon State University, University of Cape Town, and Tufts University, also claimed that there are more than just the temperature rise, other concerned areas are population growth, meat consumption per capita, global tree-cover loss, annual economic-loss due to weather events, energy consumption and continued fossil fuel consumption all together contribute in temperatures escalation and the melting glaciers, rising the sea levels. Tracking back the temperature from the past 100 years reveals how bad the current situation is right now and we surely are in serious trouble.
However, there are six areas that can significantly help to prevent the worst effects as outlined in the paper. Energy, pollutants, nature, food, economy, and population are amongst these areas. Replacing fossil fuels with low-carbon renewable energy sources and switching to a plant-based diet by a mass population are some of the recommendations towards the prevention of worst-case humanity could face due to climate change.
These steps won’t be easy but are more than just necessary for our days on earth. “The good news is that such transformative change, promises greater human well-being,” said in the paper.