UCC joins world scientists’ in warning of a Climate Emergency
18 Dec 2019
UCC scientists are amongst the more than 11,000 scientist signatories on a recently published paper in BioScience titled World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency, which declared clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.
The paper highlighted the rapid continuous rising of greenhouse gas emissions, and re-iterated the message of the 2018 IPCC report that “an immense increase of scale in endeavours to conserve our biosphere is needed to avoid untold suffering due to the climate crisis”.
To change the path that we are on, the authors advise that “bold and drastic transformations regarding economic and population policies” and - supported by a suite of graphical vital signs of climate change over the last 40 years - they suggest six critical and interrelated steps that governments, businesses, and the rest of humanity can take to lessen the worst effects of climate change, which are summarised here:
Energy: “The world must quickly implement massive energy efficiency and conservation practices and must replace fossil fuels with low-carbon renewables and other cleaner sources of energy if safe for people and the environment”
Short-lived pollutants: “We need to promptly reduce the emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, including methane, black carbon (soot), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).”
Nature: “We need to quickly curtail habitat and biodiversity loss, protecting the remaining primary and intact forests, especially those with high carbon stores and other forests with the capacity to rapidly sequester carbon (proforestation), while increasing reforestation and afforestation where appropriate at enormous scales.”
Food: “Eating mostly plant-based foods while reducing the global consumption of animal products, especially ruminant livestock can improve human health and significantly lower GHG emissions (including methane in the “Short-lived pollutants” step)”
Economy: “We need a carbon-free economy that explicitly addresses human dependence on the biosphere and policies that guide economic decisions accordingly”
Population: “The world population must be stabilized—and, ideally, gradually reduced—within a framework that ensures social integrity. There are proven and effective policies that strengthen human rights while lowering fertility rates and lessening the impacts of population growth on GHG emissions and biodiversity loss.”