Story at a glance
- More than 11,000 scientists from 153 countries around the world have united in a statement of warning and recommendations.
- The steps range from replacing fossil fuels and reducing global consumption of animal products to lessening the impacts of population growth on emissions and making family-planning services available to all people.
- The scientists say they are encouraged by the recent surge of concern about climate change.
More than 11,000 scientists worldwide declared that our planet is facing a climate emergency, signing an article in BioScience released on Tuesday. The group of scientists from 153 countries, led by William J. Ripple and Christopher Wolf of Oregon State University, explain “we must change how we live” to secure a sustainable future.
Even with troubling “vital signs” for Earth, including growing livestock populations, global tree cover loss and higher carbon dioxide emissions, the scientists expressed that they’re “encouraged by a recent surge of concern” and suggest six steps needed to “lessen the worst effects of climate change.”
These steps span energy efficiency and replacing fossil fuels, reducing emissions of short-lived pollutants like methane and soot and protecting and restoring natural ecosystems like coral reefs, forests and wetlands. Their recommendations also include eating mostly plant-based foods, reducing global consumption of animal products and transitioning to a carbon-free economy that prioritizes basic needs instead of “pursuit of affluence.” The last step refers to population and suggests using “proven and effective policies that strengthen human rights while lowering fertility rates and lessening the impacts of population growth on emissions and biodiversity loss.”
The scientists end the article by writing, “We believe that the prospects will be greatest if decision-makers and all of humanity promptly respond to this warning and declaration of a climate emergency and act to sustain life on planet Earth, our only home.”