15000 researchers issue doomsday warning: Time is running out


Ripple says he learned about the original 1992 warning last February and chose to update the concerns he found there with new data.

Today, the global scientific community's view of the future is even more bleak. Now, 25 years later, every single measure has gotten worse, bar the ozone layer.

Humankind is still facing the existential threat of runaway consumption of limited resources by a rapidly growing population, they warn. The letter chronicled environmental impressions and compared them to biblical plagues like stratospheric ozone exhaustion, air and water contamination, the disintegration of fisheries and diminution of soil productivity, deforestation, species loss and awful global climate change engendered by the burning of fossil fuels.

Among the steps that could be taken to prevent catastrophe are promoting plant-based diets; reducing wealth inequality, stopping conversions of forests and grasslands; government interventions to rein in biodiversity loss via poaching and illicit trade; and "massively adopting renewable energy sources" while phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.

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Global trends have worsened since 1992, the authors wrote, when more than 1,700 scientists - including a majority of the living Nobel laureates at the time - signed a "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity" published by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

A group of 15,000 scientists from 184 countries have issued a so-called "second notice" to humanity this week with a simple and terrifying message: If we do not act, "Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory".

"By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivise renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperilled biosphere".

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Prof Ripple said: "Those who signed this second warning aren't just raising a false alarm. They are acknowledging the obvious signs that we are heading down an unsustainable path".

Among the bleakness, there's one thing humanity appears to have done right, and that is the reduction of ozone-depleting emissions. "We are hoping that our paper will ignite a wide-spread public debate about the global environment and climate".

Over this time, human numbers have increased by 2 billion, or 35 percent.

The warning also states that the ten warmest years on record have come since 1998, while collectively the number of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals has dropped a dramatic 58 percent since 1970.

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To this end, Ripple and his colleagues have formed a new organization, the Alliance of World Scientists, aimed at providing a science-based perspective on issues affecting the well-being of people and the planet.