More than 11,000 scientist signatories support new a paper warning of “untold human suffering” that will be caused by climate change without shifts in human activities.
The paper, which presents more than 40 years of data on climate change, says the climate crisis is advancing faster than any scientist had previously expected, threatening natural ecosystems and “the fate of humanity”.
Co-lead author Dr Thomas Newsome said: "Scientists have a moral obligation to warn humanity of any great threat. From the data we have, it is clear we are facing a climate emergency."
The scientists from 153 countries outline six steps to mitigate human-induced climate change: replace fossil fuels with renewables; reduce climate pollutants such as methane and carbon; restrain land clearing; restrict consumption of animal products; shift economic goals away from GDP growth; and stabilise the global population.
“Especially worrisome are potential irreversible climate tipping points and nature's reinforcing feedbacks (atmospheric, marine, and terrestrial) that could lead to a catastrophic ‘hothouse Earth’, well beyond the control of humans,” the paper reads.
“These climate chain reactions could cause significant disruptions to ecosystems, society, and economies, potentially making large areas of Earth uninhabitable.”
The analysis, which has been published in BioScience, represents more than 40 years of publicly available data on climate change factors since scientists from 50 nations met at the First World Climate Conference in Geneva in 1979.