BBC reports: Climate change: ‘Clear and unequivocal’ emergency, say scientists

Posted on 11.11.2019

On Wednesday the BBC’s Environment Correspondent Matt McGrath reported news that a global group of around 11,000 scientists have endorsed a research report announcing the world is facing a climate emergency. This report alleges governments are failing to address the crisis, and furthermore that the world will face “untold human suffering” without deep and lasting changes. 

This report comes shortly after it was announced that October 2019 was the warmest ever recorded. Though it echoes many of the warnings previously reported by scientists, it differs from them in demonstrating that this is not a hopeless cause. It does so by setting out 6 key areas in which major change could happen if immediate action is taken. According to the BBC articles, these are:

Energy: Politicians should impose carbon fees high enough to discourage the use of fossil fuels, they should end subsidies to fossil fuel companies and implement massive conservation practices while also replacing oil and gas with renewables.

Short-lived pollutants: These include methane, hydrofluorocarbons and soot – the researchers say that limiting these has the potential to cut the short-term warming trend by 50% over the next few decades.

Nature: Stop land clearing, restore forests, grasslands and mangroves which would all help to sequester CO2.

Food: A big dietary shift is needed say researchers so that people eat mostly plants and consumer fewer animal products. Reducing food waste is also seen as critical.

Economy: Convert the economy’s reliance on carbon fuels – and change away from growing the world’s gross domestic product and pursuing affluence.

Population: The world needs to stabilise the global population which is growing by around 200,000 a day.”

Around 11,000 researchers from 153 countries worldwide have endorsed the message of this report, in the hope of driving home the message to the public and to governmental authorities that the threat is very serious, and the response has not been sufficient. The authors of the research are despondent at the lack of tangible change through conferences and assemblies, instead acknowledging the hope that growing global protest movements inspire:

“We are encouraged by a recent global surge of concern – governments adopting new policies; schoolchildren striking; lawsuits proceeding; and grassroots citizen movements demanding change.

“As scientists, we urge widespread use of the vital signs and hope the graphical indicators will better allow policymakers and the public to understand the magnitude of the crisis, realign priorities and track progress.

For the past 10 years, Invisible Dust has worked to encourage awareness of, and meaningful responses to, climate change and environmental issues, through facilitating a dialogue between leading visual artists, creative technologists and scientists. By engaging the public with artist commissions, large scale events, education and community activities, we seek to raise awareness of environmental concerns.

In 2015 Adam Chodzko created ‘Deep Above’ – a film about the psychological effects of climate change created to inspire ideas around how we know climate change is taking place but feel unable to make the changes necessary. Public awareness has moved on considerably since it was created. Invisible Dust’s mission is to enable artists to explore the climate crisis and wider environmental concerns with scientists to give people new perspectives and ideas to turn that awareness into action. Do you think things are changing? Watch Adam’s film and let us know.

Recent Invisible Dust project topics include global warming in the Polar regions, and the impact of human activity on the waterways of East Yorkshire.

You can read the full BBC article here.

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