According to a new report, Earth is in a “climate emergency,” with the consequences of climate change already appearing in the form of extreme weather.
The stark warning appears in the journal BioScience, part of a series of annual updates led by Oregon State Univ. ecologist William Ripple. Sixteen of the 35 indicators that Ripple and his colleagues track from year to year hit record levels this year, the researchers wrote. Many others are at near-record highs.
“We are suggesting that it’s really important to do massive-scale climate change mitigation and adaptation,” Ripple says. “This needs to be global and immediate.”
Half of the metrics Ripple and his team track have to do with climate policy and human behavior, such as energy consumption and investment in non-fossil-fuel energy sources. The other half focus on impacts, from greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere to the rate of extreme weather events.
According to the new report, greenhouse gas emissions have risen 40% since scientists first issued a global warning about climate change in 1992, and the current policies would enable 5.4°F (3°C) of warming by 2100, leading to temperatures not experienced on Earth in the past three million years. (The first known Homo species evolved 2.8 million years ago. Modern humans have been around fewer than 300,000...
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