Scientists issue second dire warning

Are we doing enough to stop climate change?
Are we doing enough to stop climate change?
Image: NASA.
Twenty-five years after warning that human impact could lead to irreparable environmental damage, scientists charge not enough is being done to halt climate change.

    The 1992 "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity" was written by the late Henry Kendall (1926-1999), former chair of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ board of directors. The research, signed by 1,700 of the world’s leading scientists, asserted, “If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know.”
    The new research, with more than 15,000 scientist signatories from 184 countries, asserts that “with the exception of stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer, humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse.”
    Along with climate change, they point out, “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.”
    We’ve also failed to reduce greenhouse gases, sufficiently incentivize renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems and curb pollution, the paper states. Beyond policy solutions, scientists suggest a change in individual behaviors, for example, diminishing ­consumption of fossil fuels.
    Even so, the decline in ozone-depleting substances shows that positive change is possible, they point out.
    The research, "World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice," was published Nov. 13 in Oxford Academic's BioScience journal. The lead author is William J. Ripple, professor at Oregon State University’s Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society.


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