Climate emergency

 The latest warning by 1,000 scientists painting a stark picture of how our planet is faring must spur the nations into collective action

AuthorPublished: 13th Nov 2019  12:00 amUpdated: 12th Nov 2019  7:45 pm

It’s a chilling message from a global coalition of over 11,000 scientists, a message that the world can ignore at its own peril. The scientists from 150 countries have declared “clear and unequivocal climate emergency” and called for urgent measures to check environmental degradation. A declaration, signed by them and published in the journal BioScience, paints a stark picture of how our planet is faring. The climate crisis is now more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and future of humanity. The signs are too ominous to ignore: global warming, loss of ice, shrinking forest cover, intense heat waves, wildfires and extreme weather conditions. Climate change is already posing multiple challenges for humanity, and the situation will only get worse in future as Earth’s resources are being pushed well beyond sustainability levels. The scientists have cautioned about “untold suffering” on account of the planet’s climate crisis unless people transform the way they live. Despite 40 years of major global negotiations, nothing much has been done to address the crisis. Though various global bodies root for urgent action, still the greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise exponentially. The authors of the document highlight six areas where action is required: energy, short-lived pollutants, nature, food, the economy and population. They have called for replacement of fossil fuels with renewables and other cleaner sources of energy and animal-based products with plant-based diet and protection and restoration of the planet’s ecosystems.

A panel of climate scientists argued that almost three-quarters of the 184 climate pledges made under the Paris Agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions are inadequate to slow climate change, and that some of the world’s largest emitters will continue to increase emissions. The political reality is that almost 70% of the pledges rely on funding from wealthy nations for their implementation. It would be naïve to expect current government efforts to substantially slow climate change. Only 35 countries – 28 of them in the European Union – will reduce emissions by at least 40% by 2030. While some indicators related to human activities are broadly positive – such as declining birth rates and increased uptake of renewable fuels – most are not. Some of the “profoundly troubling” signs from human activities are growing livestock populations, global tree cover loss and higher carbon dioxide emissions. Studies have shown that the current global warming is unprecedented in the last 2,000 years. Push for renewable energy, electric mobility, phasing out fossil fuels and stringent anti-pollution laws hold key to mitigate climate change. A combination of policy interventions, budgetary support and people’s participation is needed to tackle the climate change challenge. Hopefully, the latest warning by scientists will spur the nations into collective action.

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