With so many dire climate warnings pouring in, it’s understandable to feel like it’s too late to do anything about it, but a new report by an international team of scientists has a more optimistic tone. Although the report declares a climate emergency and has been signed by thousands of scientists, it also outlines six steps that politicians, businesses and individuals can take to mitigate the worst effects of climate change – provided we act sooner rather than later.
Authored by scientists from the University of Sydney, Oregon State University, the University of Cape Town and Tufts University, the report analyzes over 40 years of data. Along with shifts in surface temperatures, which are a fairly standard measurement for these kinds of reports, the new study also examines other changing factors like carbon emissions, polar ice mass, land clearing, deforestation, energy use, human population growth, fertility rates, and gross domestic product (GDP). Based on this analysis the team has declared a climate emergency.
And it’s not just the authors themselves – over 11,000 scientists from 153 countries have signed their names to the declaration, calling themselves the Alliance of World Scientists.
“Scientists have a moral obligation to warn humanity of any great threat,” says Dr. Thomas Newsome, an author of the study. “From the data we have, it is clear we are facing a climate emergency. While things are bad, all is not hopeless. We can take steps to address the climate emergency.”
The report goes on to outline six critical areas that need to be addressed in order to stave off the worst case scenario of climate change: energy, short-lived pollutants, nature, food, economy and population.