A warning that needs heeding

EDITORIAL

With jurisdictions around the world declaring a climate emergency — or, with their public, debating the merits of such — a new and persuasive study published this week provides a reality check as to why the international community needs to act boldly, and how.

Titled “World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency”, the study is one for the times. It is clear and concise, covering just four pages of the journal Bioscience, with two dominated by graphical “vital signs” of climate change over the past 40 years for human activities that can affect Greenhouse Gas emissions and the climate, and actual climatic impacts. It ditches the usual language of scientific assessments of global warming, where conclusions are couched in uncertainties. It backs the term “climate emergency” that until now has been used mainly by activists and left-leaning politicians. And it prescribes policies.

It begins: “Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to ‘tell it like it is’. On the basis of this obligation and the graphical indicators presented below, we declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.”
Continues: “An immense increase of scale in endeavours to conserve our biosphere is needed to avoid untold suffering due to the climate crisis (IPCC 2018).”
And explains: “The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected (figure 2, IPCC 2018). It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity (IPCC 2019). Especially worrisome are potential irreversible climate tipping points and nature’s reinforcing feedbacks (atmospheric, marine, and terrestrial) that could lead to a catastrophic ‘hothouse Earth’, well beyond the control of humans (Steffen et al. 2018).”

Having said that we must change how we live “in ways that improve the vital signs summarised by our graphs” to secure a sustainable future, and identified the need for “bold and drastic transformations regarding economic and population policies”, the study’s authors then suggest “six critical and interrelated steps that governments, businesses and the rest of humanity can take to lessen the worst effects of climate change”.

More on those next week, but your editor encourages you to read and view this important study, which can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/yy4799ym

With jurisdictions around the world declaring a climate emergency — or, with their public, debating the merits of such — a new and persuasive study published this week provides a reality check as to why the international community needs to act boldly, and how.

Titled “World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency”, the study is one for the times. It is clear and concise, covering just four pages of the journal Bioscience, with two dominated by graphical “vital signs” of climate change over the past 40 years for human activities that can affect Greenhouse Gas emissions and the climate, and actual climatic impacts. It ditches the usual language of scientific assessments of global warming, where conclusions are couched in uncertainties. It backs the term “climate emergency” that until now has been used mainly by activists and left-leaning politicians. And it prescribes policies.

It begins: “Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to ‘tell it like it is’. On the basis of this obligation and the graphical indicators presented below, we declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.”
Continues: “An immense increase of scale in endeavours to conserve our biosphere is needed to avoid untold suffering due to the climate crisis (IPCC 2018).”
And explains: “The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected (figure 2, IPCC 2018). It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity (IPCC 2019). Especially worrisome are potential irreversible climate tipping points and nature’s reinforcing feedbacks (atmospheric, marine, and terrestrial) that could lead to a catastrophic ‘hothouse Earth’, well beyond the control of humans (Steffen et al. 2018).”

Having said that we must change how we live “in ways that improve the vital signs summarised by our graphs” to secure a sustainable future, and identified the need for “bold and drastic transformations regarding economic and population policies”, the study’s authors then suggest “six critical and interrelated steps that governments, businesses and the rest of humanity can take to lessen the worst effects of climate change”.

More on those next week, but your editor encourages you to read and view this important study, which can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/yy4799ym

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Bob Hughes - 13 days ago
On the button, thank you Editor and The Gisborne Herald.
I have read the report. For those who haven't or can't read it, my shortened version of the six mentioned critical and interrelated steps we can all take to lessen the worst effects:
* Energy: The world must replace fossil fuels with low-carbon renewables - and leave remaining stocks of fossil fuels in the ground.
* Nature: Protect and restore Earth's ecosystems.
* Short-lived pollutants: Promptly reduce them.
* Food: Change to mostly plant-based foods.
* Economy: Drastically reduce excessive extraction of materials and overexploitation of ecosystems.
* Population: Curtail the growth of populations.
* Declare a climate emergency, and act on it to sustain life on planet Earth, our only home.


Kevin Hester, Rakino Island - 11 days ago
Yes, for a mainstream media entity this coverage is better than most. Finally someone mentions 'Tipping Points'.
https://kevinhester.live/2019/10/10/irreversible-runaway-abrupt-climate-change-unfolding-now-not-long-off-in-the-future/

G R Webb - 11 days ago
Yes, but it's all a bit more than stopping the greenhouse gas emissions. The communique spells out a few other bottom lines. These are - 3. We must stabilize population. This will be possible only if all nations recognize that it requires improved social and economic conditions, and the adoption of effective, voluntary family planning.
4. We must reduce and eventually eliminate poverty.
5. We must ensure sexual equality, and guarantee women control over their own reproductive decisions.
So a few hidden agendas there?