Another stark warning has been issued by 11,000 scientists, who warn of “untold suffering due to the climate crisis”. The statement (below) was published in the journal BioScience marking the 40th anniversary of the first world climate conference, which was held in Geneva in 1979.
“We declare clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” it states. “To secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live. [This] entails major transformations in the ways our global society functions and interacts with natural ecosystems.” They also said: “The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity.”
The statement sets out vital signs as indicators of the magnitude of the emergency, which include world population, meat production and air transport. These drivers (and others) have led to increase in CO2 and methane emissions, increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, extreme weather and loss of Greenland ice. It also mentions “encouraging trends” such as divestment from fossil fuels, carbon pricing and decrease in fertility rates.
The urgently needed actions they highlighted include: increasing energy efficiency and applying strong carbon taxes to cut fossil fuel use; stabilising global population; conservation of nature and forest restoration; reducing food waste; decreasing meat production for food (eating more plants); rethinking economic goals and shifting away from GDP growth.