Study: Earth's 'vital signs' do not appear good at all, instead are rapidly deteriorating

Fareeha Arshad
Photo byPhoto by NASA on Unsplash

A new report by a group of scientists highlights the devastating state of the planet due to the climate crisis. The report, published in the journal BioScience, includes the names of 14,000 scientists and 1,990 jurisdictions in 34 countries. It warns that critical parts of the Earth system, such as the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, warm-water coral reefs, and the Amazon rainforest, are approaching or have already crossed tipping points. The researchers emphasize the need for regular updates on the climate emergency in a concise and accessible manner.

In 2019, over 11,000 scientists issued a similar warning, but little progress has been made. Climate-related disasters, including the Australian mega-fires in 2019-2020, have increased, and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide reached record levels in 2020 and 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic did not lead to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

The new report proposes a three-pronged policy approach to address the climate crisis in the near term. It calls for a higher global carbon price, a phased elimination and eventual ban on fossil fuels worldwide, and the establishment of climate reserves to protect biodiversity and carbon sinks like the Amazon rainforest.

While climate scientists have been warning about the dangers of human-caused climate change for decades and offering solutions, greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, resulting in increased global warming. Urgent transformative change is needed to reduce emissions and human exploitation of the planet.

The report does offer some glimmers of hope. Solar and wind power capacity increased by 57% between 2018 and 2021, although it remains significantly lower than fossil fuel consumption. Divestment from fossil fuels has also increased, and there has been a small decrease in fossil fuel energy consumption since 2019, likely due to the pandemic.

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I am a scientist by profession and a historian by passion. I mostly write about history and science.

Texas State

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