The 40th anniversary of the First World Climate Conference was marked by 11 000 scientists who combined to declare a global climate crisis and are calling for urgent action. A letter published in BioScience, written by dozens of primary authors and signed by 11 000 scientists from 153 countries, highlighted the severity of the current situation and launched the call for immediate intervention to avoid catastrophe on a global scale.
The call to action, which specified the necessary legislative amendments, is a unique change in approach for scientists, who conventionally focus on non-committal theories. William Ripple, the primary author of the letter, cited the rise in extreme weather phenomena as the cause that sparked the need for a more direct approach to appeal to people and governments to urgently address climate matters and mitigate Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. The letter provides two lists of “vital signs”, one monitoring the state of vulnerable climatic indicators (such as ice mass changes and ocean acidity), while the second list identifies GHG contributing human activities (including energy consumption and human population).
The authors recommended focusing on certain issues to combat climate change, including energy production through renewable resource, decreasing emissions of short-lived pollutants (such as methane), the preservation of natural ecosystems, a shift to a carbon free economy, and a reduction in meat and dairy based industries. Efforts towards human rights (e.g., gender equality and education) should be made to stabilize or reduce the size of the global population.
The full list of indicators can be found in the article here.