If you are still having trouble accepting the fact that climate change is real, then you are definitely not factoring in the overwhelming consensus of science. Earlier this week, the academic journal BioScience released a scientific research paper providing data from the past forty years, all pointing to the conclusion that our planet is currently in a state of climate emergency. Then, if the paper’s research is not enough on its own, perhaps the fact that over 11,000 scientists authorized it will help convince you.
At the bottom of the report, there are 11,258 signatures, all coming from different scientists across 153 countries and multiple disciplines. The paper’s multi-disciplinary approach creates room for a variety of evidence, demonstrating how global warming is effecting the planet from geological, biological, physiological, neurological perspectives and beyond.
This is also a wake up call about the fact that the science on climate change is no longer divisive. In science’s unbiased eyes, the Earth is in an unequivocal state of emergency.
“Climate emergency” is the exact diction that the paper uses to define the planet’s current situation. The words associated with climate change have evolved many times over the years. From “global warming” to “crisis,” language can certainly affect the way people think about the issue. The authors of this paper decided on “emergency” because it provokes more urgency than mere “change” but not as much chaotic hopelessness as “crisis.” After all, the purpose of the paper is to unveil proof and evoke action, not to have people helplessly bury their heads in the sand.
The paper outlines six major changes people must enact if they want to save the planet. Namely,
- Implement massive energy efficiency practices and move to low-carbon renewables.
- Reduce emissions of toxic pollutants such as methane, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons.
- Restore global ecosystems across reefs, forests, grasslands and more while preventing further biodiversity loss.
- Reduce the consumption of animal products and opt for plant-based foods.
- Focus less on economic GDP growth and more on sustaining ecosystems and human well-being.
- Lower fertility rates to reduce the world population.
As the paper makes clear, these changes are hardly suggestions, but more like necessities at this point. If we do not alter our priorities in a timely manner, we will face the worst of climate change’s wrath and be utterly defenseless to it.
Like most realistic studies on the climate crisis, this paper is not for the faint of heart. It opts for harsh truth over optimism. That being said, the research is not without occasional glimmers of hope. The outline of solutions points us in the right direction. Similarly, the authors acknowledge recent surges in environmental protests and eco-friendly ingenuities across the world as ongoing positive changes. Data-wise, fertility rates are already dropping and more people are switching from fossil fuel burning to more sustainable, renewable energy practices. Likewise, even politics are slowly catching on to the issue, with the UK Parliament declaring a climate emergency and United States Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Earl Blumenauer and Sen. Bernie Sanders all introducing the Green New Deal to Congress.
The world is far from perfect, and more action is still needed if we want to combat climate change effectively. However, the science is nearly unanimous, and the debate surrounding the issue’s severity is no longer a point of contention. Now, we just need people in power to stand with science, believe in the facts, and put in place urgently needed changes to begin to find ways to save us all from possible extinction.
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