Thousands of scientists have repeatedly called for urgent action to deal with the climate emergency and warned that several tipping points are now imminent.
The researchers are part of a team of more than 14,000 scientists who signed an initiative to declare a global climate emergency. They said in an article published in the journal Biological Science on Wednesday that the government has been unable to resolve “The over-exploitation of the earth” issue. , They describe it as the root cause of the crisis.
Since conducting similar assessments in 2019, they have noticed an “unprecedented surge” in climate-related disasters, including floods in South America and Southeast Asia, record heat waves and wildfires in Australia and the United States, and devastating hurricanes in Africa and South Asia.
In this study, scientists rely on “vital signs” to measure the health of the planet, including deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, glacier thickness and sea ice extent, and deforestation. Among the 31 signs, they found that 18 had reached historical highs or lows.
For example, despite the decline in pollution associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the level of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere reached record highs in 2021.
The author said that Greenland and Antarctica have recently shown the lowest levels of ice and glaciers in history to melt 31% faster than 15 years ago.
Ocean heat and global sea levels have set new records since 2019, and the annual loss rate of Brazil’s Amazon River Basin has reached a 12-year high in 2020.
Echoing previous studies, the researchers said that forest degradation related to fires, droughts and logging is causing parts of the Brazilian Amazon to now become a source of carbon instead of absorbing gas from the atmosphere.
They said that livestock such as cattle and sheep are now at record levels, with more than 4 billion in number, and their quality exceeds all humans and wild land mammals combined.
‘Resolve the root cause’
Tim Lenton, director of the Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter and research co-author, said that recently Record-breaking heat wave The climate in the western United States and Canada shows that the climate has begun to “behave in shocking and unexpected ways.”
He said: “We need to take the same urgent action to deal with the evidence of a climate tipping point in order to decarbonize the global economy and begin to recover rather than destroy nature.”
The researchers said that “increasing evidence shows that we are approaching or have crossed” multiple climate tipping points.
These include the melting of Greenland and the western Antarctic ice sheet, no matter how or not humans cut their emissions, which may now be irreversible on a time scale of several centuries.
They said that ocean deoxygenation and warming are threatening warm-water coral reefs, and 5 billion people rely on these reefs for food, income and storm protection.
“In light of these shocking developments, we need brief, frequent and easily accessible updates on climate emergencies,” the study said.
The author again calls for changes in six areas: eliminating fossil fuels, reducing pollutants, restoring ecosystems, shifting to a plant-based diet, getting rid of an unlimited growth model, and stabilizing the population.
They also called for climate change education to be included in the core curriculum of global schools to raise awareness of the issue.
In the short term, they proposed three emergency measures to deal with climate emergencies.
These include “significant carbon prices”, the global phasing out and banning of fossil fuels, and the development of strategic climate reserves, such as the restoration and maintenance of carbon sinks and biodiversity hotspots.
“We need to stop treating the climate emergency as a separate issue-global warming is not the only symptom of our stressed earth system,” said William Ripple, a distinguished professor of ecology in the School of Forestry at Oregon State University.
“Policies to deal with the climate crisis or any other symptoms should address its root cause: human overexploitation of the earth,” said Ruibo.
He added: “We need to quickly change the way we do things, and the new climate policy should be as part of the COVID-19 recovery plan as much as possible.”