Earth’s “vital signs” have deteriorated, with climate change pushing the planet’s health past “tipping points” that cannot be reversed, scientists say.
Researchers have published a new study — itself an update of findings first print in 2019 — showing 16 of the Earth’s 31 vital signs that researchers are looking at, including the concentration of greenhouse gases, ocean acidification and ruminant livestock, recently set new records.
This is despite the downturn in 2020 due to the pandemic.
“There is mounting evidence that we are approaching or already past tipping points associated with key parts of the Earth’s system, including warm water coral reefs, the Amazon rainforest and the ice sheets of West Antarctic and Greenland,” said the study leader. . author, Oregon State University researcher William Ripple in a pronunciation.
Earth’s ‘vital signs’ are getting worse, and evidence suggests many of them are close or have surpassed their ‘tipping points’, new study says
16 of the Earth’s 31 vital signs that researchers are looking at, including the concentration of greenhouse gases, ocean acidification and ruminant livestock, have recently set new records.
Some bright spots include fossil fuel subsidies that continue to fall and the all-time high in intuitive fossil fuel divestiture
Ripple and his co-author, Christopher Wolf, say the continued decline in the indicators “largely reflects the effects of relentless business as usual,” citing the increase in climate-related disasters since 2019, including floods, heat waves and “extraordinary storms.” and forest fires.’
The 2019 paper has now been signed by 14,000 scientists from 158 countries, up from 11,000 and 153 countries when it was first published.
Last month, NASA said global air pollution rates have fallen 15 percent as a result of the global COVID-19 lockdowns, as consumers have reduced their carbon footprint and people around the world have reduced their use of fossil fuels.
The continued decline in indicators is “largely a reflection of the impact of continued business as usual,” the study said, citing the increase in climate-related disasters since 2019, including floods, heatwaves and “extraordinary storms and wildfires.”
Furthermore, most US states cut their emissions by 25 percent and some Asian cities saw their emissions cut by half.
Despite the decline over the period, some troubling signs emerged from 2020.
In January, experts from the World Meteorological Organization said 2020 was one of the three warmest years on record, with global temperatures reaching 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit at pre-industrial levels.
The five warmest years on record have all occurred since 2015.
Combined with the aforementioned increase in natural disasters, the continued rise in carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide levels, all of which have set records for both 2020 and 2021, it has become a powder keg situation that requires immediate attention.
“Priorities need to shift to immediate, drastic reductions in greenhouse gases, especially methane,” Wolf said.
“We also need to stop treating the climate emergency as a self-contained problem — global warming isn’t the only symptom of our stressed-out Earth system,” Ripple said. “Policies to combat the climate crisis or other symptoms must address the root cause: human over-exploitation of the planet.”
In April 2021, the carbon dioxide concentration reached 416 parts per million, the highest ever recorded, the statement said.
Other findings of the study include that there are now more than 4 billion ruminants with an equivalent mass greater than all the humans and wildlife on the planet.
Livestock methane emissions are a primary source of greenhouse gases, although scientists are monitoring livestock emissions to try to breed lower-emission versions.
The researchers also found that forest loss from the Brazilian Amazon reached a 12-year peak in 2020, with the loss of 1.11 million hectares deforested and ocean acidification is near an all-time high, threatening coral reefs.
Some bright spots include fossil fuel subsidies that continue to fall and the all-time high in intuitive fossil fuel divestiture.
The scientists say climate actions by governments around the world should focus on “social justice,” reducing inequality, go so far as to fund climate mitigation, and add climate education to the school curriculum.
“The carbon price must be linked to a socially equitable fund to finance climate mitigation and adaptation policies in developing countries,” Ripple said.
“We need to quickly change how we do things, and new climate policies should be part of COVID-19 recovery plans whenever possible. It is time for us to unite as a global community with a shared sense of collaboration, urgency and justice.”
The updated study was published Wednesday in the scientific journal life sciences.
THE PARIS AGREEMENT: A GLOBAL AGREEMENT TO LIMIT TEMPERATURE RISES THROUGH CARBON EMISSION REDUCTION TARGETS
The Paris Agreement, first signed in 2015, is an international agreement to control and mitigate climate change.
It hopes to keep the rise in global average temperature below 2°C (3.6ºF) “and make efforts to limit the rise in temperature to 1.5°C (2.7°F)”.
It seems the more ambitious goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) may be more important than ever, according to previous research claiming 25 percent of the world will see a significant increase in drier climates. circumstances could see.
In June 2017, President Trump announced his intention that the US, the world’s second largest producer of greenhouse gases, would withdraw from the agreement.
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change has four main goals in terms of reducing emissions:
1) A long-term goal to keep the increase in global average temperature well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels
2) Strive to limit the increase to 1.5°C, as this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change
3) Governments agreed on the need to peak global emissions as soon as possible, recognizing that it will take longer for developing countries
4) To then make rapid reductions in accordance with the best available science