As humanity’s impact deepens, Earth’s “vital signs” are deteriorating.
Earth’s “vital signals” have deteriorated to record levels as a result of the global economy’s business-as-usual approach to climate change, according to an important group of scientists who warned that numerous climatic tipping points are now close.
The researchers, who are part of a group of over 14,000 experts who have signed on to a declaration declaring a global climate emergency, claim that governments have continually failed to address the main cause of climate change: “overexploitation of the Earth.”
They cited a “unprecedented surge” in climate-related disasters since a similar assessment in 2019, including flooding in South America and Southeast Asia, record-breaking heatwaves and wildfires in Australia and the United States, and deadly cyclones in Africa and South Asia.
They discovered that 18 of the 31 “vital signs” — crucial indicators of planetary health such as greenhouse gas emissions, glacier thickness, sea-ice extent, and deforestation – had reached new highs or lows.
Despite a reduction in pollution due to the pandemic, CO2 and methane levels in the atmosphere reached all-time highs in 2021.
Greenland and Antarctica both recently saw all-time low ice mass levels, and glaciers are melting 31% quicker than they were just 15 years ago, according to the scientists.
Since 2019, both ocean heat and global sea levels have established new records, while the Brazilian Amazon’s annual loss rate hit a 12-year high in 2020.
They added that forest degradation caused by fire, drought, and logging was leading portions of the Brazilian Amazon to become carbon sources rather than carbon sinks, echoing prior study.
They claim that livestock such as cows and sheep have reached record numbers, reaching over four billion and having a mass greater than that of all humans and wild land creatures combined.
The recent record-breaking heatwave in the Western United States and Canada, according to Tim Lenton, director of the University of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute and study co-author, demonstrated that the climate had already begun to “behave in shocking, unexpected ways.”
“In response to evidence that we are approaching climate tipping points, we must take equally urgent action to decarbonize the global economy and begin restoring rather than killing nature,” he said.
According to the experts, there is “growing evidence” that a number of climate tipping points are approaching or have already been passed.
Melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, for example, may now be irreversible on a centuries-long time scale, regardless of how or whether humanity cuts. Brief News from Washington Newsday.