Panic – climate change can ruin our civilization. This was announced in a joint statement by more than 11,000 scientists from 153 countries around the world. On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the first World Climate Change Conference, held in Geneva in 1979, a statement and report entitled "Warning of World Scientists on Climate Anomaly" has been published in the BioScience Magazine. According to the warning, people around the world will experience "indescribable suffering due to the climate crisis" unless major changes in world society occur. To avoid a catastrophe, urgent action is needed, including cessation of fossil fuel extraction, reduction of fertility, stopping the destruction of forests and reducing meat consumption.
The world is in an extreme climate
At the very beginning of the statement, the researchers recall that it is the moral duty of scientists to tell the world the truth and warn against dangers and disasters.
"We clearly and unequivocally declare that the planet earth is exposed to an extreme climatic situation," the statement states. "To ensure a sustainable future, we need to change our lifestyle. This results in significant changes in the way our society works and interacts with natural ecosystems. "
According to experts, we can not waste time talking empty-handed:
"The climate crisis has come and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more serious than expected and threatens the natural ecosystems and fate of humanity. "
Professor William Ripple of the University of Oregon and principal author of the statement told The Guardian that he is forced to initiate it due to the increase in global climate events. The main objective of the alert is to produce a full range of "vital indicators" that indicate the causes and consequences of climate damage, not just carbon emissions and rising surface temperatures. A wider range of indicators should be monitored, including population growth, meat consumption, timber ceiling loss, energy consumption, fossil fuel subsidies and annual economic losses due to extreme weather events.
Other "deeply disturbing signs of human activity" selected by scientists are the rapidly growing number of passengers and the growth in global GDP. The climate crisis is closely linked to over-consumption and lifestyle. Due to human activities, according to scientists, there are "particularly disturbing" trends with rising land and sea temperatures, rising sea levels and extreme weather events. Despite 40 years of global climate negotiations, the problem could not be solved with some exceptions. Experts are particularly concerned about the potentially irreversible turning points of climate change. These climatic chain reactions can lead to dysfunctions of ecosystems, society and economy and form uninhabited wide areas of the earth. In their statement, scientists are calling on citizens and politicians to assess the scale of the crisis and change priorities.
Stay up to date with the latest news from the world of popular science – subscribe to our news channel on Telegram
What do scientists offer?
The statement contains a number of measures that can prevent catastrophic events. Here are four important points that researchers should be aware of:
The use of energy is much more efficient and taxes are levied on carbon taxes to reduce the use of fossil fuels.
Take measures to reduce the birth rate. Today, the world's population is growing by an average of 200,000 people a day. On the World Current Population website, you can track the changing numbers yourself. Researchers suggest stabilizing the world's population through ethical approaches, such as longer-term education for girls in regions with the highest birth rates.
Stop the destruction of nature and restore forests and absorb CO2.
Reduce meat consumption.
But there is good news. Implementing the above changes with social and economic justice for all will bring much greater prosperity to people than ordinary business. The scientists were also encouraged by the massive climate change strikes of young people who swept the world recently, and by lawsuits against environmentally harmful businesses. Let me remind you that in 2017, 15,000 researchers warned of the threat of pollution and the impending mass extinction of wildlife. The statement was read in the parliaments of Canada and Israel. Despite gloomy predictions it is not too late. Researchers are advised to take a close look at the graphics (Figures 1 and 2) – you do not have to be a rocket engineer to understand that something is going wrong in the world.
What do you think of the statement of the scientists and the measures they recommend? Share your thoughts in the comments and with the participants of our telegram chat.
But despite the optimism of scientists, I believe that the picture is rather bleak. What is the likelihood that the world's leaders will put aside their nuclear toys and stop oil production? And what about lowering the birth rate? Can people really reject children, if only promoted in many countries of the world and sometimes seen as the meaning and justification of existence itself? Researchers suggest changing attitudes to consumption – but does the number of conscious people outweigh those who are exclusively concerned with their own appetite? As writer and journalist Jonathan Franzen wrote in his article for The New Yorker, it is time for you and me to stop deceiving ourselves and acknowledging the inevitable – we can not stop climate change. The journalist asks us to focus on the good that each of us can do in life. And that is the right position – even if climate change can be prevented, our world will change if we all try to make it a little better.