September 21, 2021

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Scientists say the Earth’s ‘vital signs’ are weakening

The planet’s “key signs” are weakening under the blows of the global economy, leading scientists warned on Wednesday, worrying about the immediate possibility of some climate “breaking points”.

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Researchers who are part of the group of more than 14,000 scientists who have advocated for a global climate emergency declaration believe that governments have systematically failed to address the causes of climate change: “excessive exploitation of the Earth”.

Since an earlier estimate in 2019, they have highlighted an “unprecedented increase” in climate disasters, including floods, hurricanes, hurricanes and fires.

The report, published in the journal BioScience, states that 18 of the 31 “key symptoms”, including greenhouse gas emissions, glacier thickness, or deforestation, are recorded.

Thus, despite the low greenhouse gas emissions caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, CO2 and methane concentrations in the atmosphere reached record levels in 2021.

Glaciers are melting 31% faster than they were fifteen years ago, and deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon reached a record high in 2020, turning this important carbon sink into a net emitter of CO2.

With more than 4 billion head of cattle, including cows and sheep, the study found that livestock now weigh more than humans and wild animals.

“We have to respond to the evidence that we are moving towards climate break points and take immediate action to restore the economy rather than destroy it and destroy nature,” said Tim Lendon of the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.

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The authors believe that there are some reference points that can pull the climate system towards dramatic and irreversible change “evidence that we are already approaching, otherwise we are approaching.”

This includes the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, which, even if CO2 emissions are reduced, remain unchanged for centuries.

Another possible point is that coral reefs in particular are irreversible due to global warming, and half a billion people are dependent.

The authors call for rapid intensive action in a number of areas: eliminating fossil fuels, reducing pollution, restoring ecosystems, selecting plant-based foods, and stabilizing global populations away from the current growth model.

“We need to stop treating climate emergencies as an independent issue. Global warming is not the only problem of our compressed earth system,” said William Ripple of Oregon State University.

According to him, “policies to combat climate crisis or any other symptoms must deal with the source: the excessive exploitation of the planet by humans”.