They warned that several climate tipping points are now imminent.
They are part of a group of more than 14,000 scientists who have signed on to an initiative declaring a worldwide climate emergency.
These researchers said that governments have consistently failed to address the root cause of climate change; ‘’the over-exploitation of the Earth’’.
Since a similar assessment in 2019, they noted an ‘’unprecedented surge’’ in climate-related disasters. These include flooding in South America and Southeast Asia. Recording shuttering heatwaves and wildfires in Australia and the US. There have also been devastating cyclones in Africa and South Asia.
Of 31 ‘’vital signs’’ – key metrics of planetary health that include greenhouse gas emissions. Glacier thickness, sea-ice extent, and deforestation – they found that 18 hit record highs or lows.
A clear example;
Despite a dip in pollution linked to the pandemic, levels of atmospheric CO2 and methane hit all-time highs in 2021.
Greenland and Antarctica both recently showed all-time low levels of ice mass, and glaciers are melting 31% faster than they did 15 years ago.
Both ocean heat and global sea levels have set new records since 2019. Also, the Brazilian Amazon reached a 12-year high in 2020.
Reflecting on previous research, they said deforestation is linked to fire, drought, and logging. It also caused parts of the Brazilian Amazon to now act as a source of carbon, rather than absorbing the gas from the atmosphere.
‘’We need to respond to the evidence that we are hitting climate tipping points with equally urgent action to decarbonize the global economy and start restoring instead of destroying nature,’’ Tim Lenton, director of the University of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute said.
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