A group of 11,258 scientists from 153 countries issued a clear and alarming message on Tuesday (November 5) via a new report: the planet faces a climate crisis that can only be avoided by a global shift to more eco-conscious policies.
The study, titled “World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency,” was published in the journal BioScience. It is, reports The Washington Post, “the first time a large group of scientists has formally come out in favor of labeling climate change an ‘emergency,’ which the study notes is caused by many human trends that are together increasing greenhouse gas emissions.”
Says the study: “Despite 40 years of global climate negotiations, with few exceptions, we have generally conducted business as usual and have largely failed to address this predicament.”
In addition to issuing stark warnings, the report also lists six policy goals that the authors believe must be met to properly address the emergency. These include the global implementation of massive energy efficiency and conservation practices; switching to renewable energy sources in place of fossil fuels; committing to an end to burning any remaining coal and oil to generate energy; and adopting a mostly plant-based diet.
Per The Post:
The study also departs from other major climate assessments in that it directly addresses the politically sensitive subject of population growth. The study notes that the global decline in fertility rates has “substantially slowed” during the past 20 years, and calls for “bold and drastic” changes in economic growth and population policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Such measures would include policies that strengthen human rights, especially for women and girls, and make family-planning services “available to all people,” the paper says.
“This is a document that establishes a clear record of the broad consensus among most scientists active at this point in history that the climate crisis is real, and is a major, even existential, threat to human societies, human well-being and biodiversity,” biologist Jesse Bellemare, who is a signatory on the study’s emergency declaration, told The Post.
The report was released the same week that the United States formally began the withdrawal process from the Paris Agreement, the landmark international climate treaty. In addition, only a fraction of the nations that are in the agreement are working to achieve the necessary goals to reverse climate change. Reports The New York Times, “Of the 184 pledges countries made under the climate agreement, only 36 are ambitious enough to help reach the agreement's goal of keeping global warming less than 1.5 Celsius (2.7 F) above pre-industrial levels, the report said. Most of those 36 are by countries in the European Union.”
Read the entire report here.