15,000 scientists issue global warning to save Earth from climate change

15,000 scientists issue global warning to save Earth from climate change
Children are seen during climate march prior to the opening session of the COP23 UN Climate Change Conference 2017, hosted by Fiji but held in Bonn, in World Conference Center Bonn, Germany, November 6, 2017. Source: Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay

More than 15,000 scientists from universities and research institutes in 184 countries around the world have provided a “warning to humanity” to curtail environmental destruction and man-made climate change.

Published in the scientific journal BioScience, the World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice expresses concern over the “current trajectory of potentially catastrophic climate change due to rising GHGs [greenhouse gases] from burning fossil fuels.”

Prof William Ripple from Oregon State University’s College of Forestry who started the campaign told CBC News that “the trends are alarming, and they speak for themselves.”

The warning – popularised through the hashtag #ScientistsWarningToHumanity – comes along with the establishment of the Alliance of World Scientists, an organisation which aims to be a “collective international voice of many scientists regarding global climate and environmental trends and how to turn accumulated knowledge into action.”

It follows an initial warning from the Union of Concerned Scientists in 1992 which cautioned that “a great change in our stewardship of the Earth and life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided”.

The new document reads that in the 25 years since that message, “humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse.”

Demonstrators dressed as Donald Trump and as a polar bear are seen during a demonstration in Bonn against the COP 23 UN Climate Change Conference hosted by Fiji but held in Bonn, Germany, on Nov 11, 2017. Source: Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay

“We have unleashed a mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years, wherein many current life forms could be annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century,” it said.

The Alliance of World Scientists said that people in the scientific profession have a “unique responsibility” to act as “champions of evidence-based decision-making”. Scientists from any field – whether it be biology, chemistry, economics or medicine – were invited to endorse the article.

In an epilogue published on the website of Oregon’s College of Forestry, the authors wrote that “we have been overwhelmed with the support for our article and thank the more than 15,000 signatories from all ends of the Earth.”

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