New Delhi: A global team of scientists has shown in a new study that 20 of the Earth’s 35 vital signs have “worsened beyond anything humans have seen, to the point that life on Earth is imperilled”. The 20 signs, such as the Arctic sea-ice levels, ice mass loss in Antarctica and Greenland, sea level rise and surface temperature anomaly, are at record extremes, the team of researchers, including those from the US, the UK, Brazil and Bangladesh, said.
The study, published in the journal BioScience, also established pertinent statistics regarding temperatures and greenhouse gas emissions.
For example, 2023 has already witnessed 38 days with global average temperatures more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the researchers said in their study.
Further, the highest average Earth surface temperature ever recorded was in July, and there was reason to believe it was the highest surface temperature the planet has seen in the last 1,00,000 years, they said. Co-lead author William Ripple, a distinguished professor at the Oregon State University, US, said,
Life on our planet is clearly under siege. The statistical trends show deeply alarming patterns of climate-related variables and disasters. We also found little progress to report as far as humanity combating climate change (was concerned).
On greenhouse gas emissions, the researchers asserted that the Canadian wildfires this year pumped more than 1 gigatonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which they said was higher than the country’s total greenhouse emissions of 2021.
Their study also acknowledged that fossil fuel subsidies had roughly doubled between 2021 and 2022 globally, from USD 531 billion to just over USD 1 trillion. The authors noted that rising energy prices, brought about by Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, could have contributed to this rise in subsidies. Study author Thomas Newsome from the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney, Australia, said,
The trends indicate the need to drastically speed and scale up efforts globally to combat climate change while more generally reducing our ecological footprint. Extreme weather and other climate impacts are disproportionately felt by the poorest people, who have contributed the least to climate change.
The authors say policies are needed that take aim at the underlying issue of “ecological overshoot” and urge transitioning to a global economy that prioritises human well-being and curtails overconsumption and excessive emissions by the rich.
Specific recommendations in their study include phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, transitioning toward plant-based diets, scaling up forest protection efforts and adopting international coal elimination and fossil fuel non-proliferation treaties. Mr Ripple said,
Without actions that address the root problem of humanity taking more from the Earth than it can safely give, we’re on our way to the potential partial collapse of natural and socioeconomic systems and a world with unbearable heat and shortages of food and freshwater.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health,adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoiletsare used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.