Our world population will face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis,” in a letter penned and endorsed by more than 11,000 scientists and experts from over 153 countries. A stark warning about the real and devastating consequences of our current business-as-usual approach when it comes to our climate emergency, the group has made a series of damning remarks about the lack of action taken by governments and companies, and threat this will pose for the “fate of humanity”. The letter ends with a call for dramatic transformations in the way our global society currently functions, if we are to stand a chance against the ticking climate time bomb. This comes as other major global organisations have revealed the severity of our ecological catastrophe, especially regarding its impact on Asia.
The statement, endorsed by 11,000 scientists across 153 countries around the world, has just been published in the journal BioScience on the 40th anniversary of the first world climate conference held in Geneva in 1979. In the letter, the group declares “clearly and unequivocally” that we are facing a climate emergency that requires such radical measures to be taken now, including the very policies that will transform the way we are currently living. The scientists’ main point is that urgent dramatic changes – from ending population growth to eliminating burning fossil fuels, going plant-based and curbing deforestation – must happen, and must happen now.
According to the 11,000-strong expert group, 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.” In the face of our planet’s escalating emergency, global leaders and experts have conducted 40 years of negotiations recognising the need for action against rising greenhouse gas emissions, but have amounted to little more than a “failure to address this crisis.”
Without huge shifts in the way we currently live, climate disasters that pose a “catastrophic threat” to human lives will be unavoidable, the team of researchers say. As of right now, we are seeing a rise in meat consumption, more air travel, mass deforestation and increase in carbon dioxide emissions – all of which need to be rolled back in order for us to alleviate the magnitude of climate change. More specifically, the scientists outlined 6 key objectives: replacing fossil fuels, cutting methane and soot pollution, restoration of ecosystems, cutting down meat consumption, a shift towards carbon-free societies and curbing population growth.
One of the lead authors of the letter, Dr Thomas Newsome from the University of Sydney, said: “While things are bad, all is not hopeless. We can take steps to address the climate emergency.” Indeed, there is still some room for optimism in the midst of a bleak outlook. In recent months, we have seen a huge wave of concern stemming from not only grassroots student activists around the world, but also some global leaders, businesses, and governmental bodies.
These recent damning remarks made in the BioScience letter follows other reports that have made similar conclusions about the state of our planet, and the potential destruction it can bring to human populations, especially right here in Asia. Only a few days ago, Climate Central released a report finding that 300 million people will experience annual coastal flooding by 2050. This estimate is not only three times as many people than previous predictions, but many of the most affected populations are concentrated in the Asian region, including China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand.
Lead image courtesy of Kate Flock / Bloomberg News.