In Brief

Thousands of climate scientists warn of ‘untold suffering’

Joint statement sees scientists from more than 150 nations declare ‘climate emergency’

The human race faces “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are radical reforms to policy, according to a warning from more than 11,000 scientists.

In the statement, published on the 40th anniversary of the first world climate conference, the scientists “declare clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency”.

They add: “To secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live. [This] entails major transformations in the ways our global society functions and interacts with natural ecosystems.

“The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity.”

The Washington Post says the report is a “stark departure from recent scientific assessments of global warming” because it “does not couch its conclusions in the language of uncertainties, and it does prescribe policies”.

The scientists suggest focusing on six major global projects: clean energy use, a reduction of short-lived pollutants, natural conservation, promotion of plant-based diets, a rejection of exploitative economic systems, and a sustainable global human population.

Air passengers numbers are among the “profoundly troubling signs from human activities,” say the experts. “The climate crisis is closely linked to excessive consumption of the wealthy lifestyle,” they add.

“The good news is that such transformative change, with social and economic justice for all, promises far greater human well-being than does business as usual,” the team concluded in the paper.

The statement was drawn up by dozens of scientists and endorsed by a further 11,000 from more than 150 different nations. It was published in the journal BioScience, the monthly journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences.

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