An international team led by Oregon State University researchers says in a report published today that the Earth’s vital signs have reached “code red” and that “humanity is unequivocally facing a climate emergency.”
In the special report, “World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency 2022,” the authors note that 16 of 35 planetary vital signs they use to track climate change are at record extremes. The report’s authors share new data illustrating the increasing frequency of extreme heat events and heat-related deaths, rising global tree cover loss because of fires, and a greater prevalence of insects and diseases thriving in the warming climate. Food insecurity and malnutrition caused by droughts and other climate-related extreme events in developing countries are increasing the number of climate refugees.
The researchers note that in 2022 atmospheric carbon-dioxide peaked at levels not seen for millions of years. Earth is on track to heat up between 2.1 and 2.9 degrees by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial times, according to a new report from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
William Ripple, a distinguished professor in the OSU College of Forestry, and postdoctoral researcher Christopher Wolf are the lead authors of the report, and 10 other U.S. and global scientists are co-authors.
“Look at all of these heat waves, fires, floods and massive storms,” Ripple said. “The specter of climate change is at the door and pounding hard.”
The report follows the original World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity, published in 1992, and the 2017 updated version World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice, co-signed by more than 15,000 scientists in 184 countries.
“As we can see by the annual surges in climate disasters, we are now in the midst of a major climate crisis, with far worse to come if we keep doing things the way we’ve been doing them,” Wolf said.
“Climate change is not a standalone issue,” said co-author Saleemul Huq of Independent University Bangladesh. “To avoid more untold human suffering, we need to protect nature, eliminate most fossil fuel emissions and support socially just climate adaptations with a focus on low-income areas that are most vulnerable.”
“As Earth’s temperatures are creeping up, the frequency or magnitude of some types of climate disasters may actually be leaping up,” said the University of Sydney’s Thomas Newsome, a co-author of the report. “We urge our fellow scientists around the world to speak out on climate change.”
“The Scientist’s Warning” is a documentary by the research team summarizing the report’s results and can be watched online:
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