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890. Humanity Enters Uncharted Territory Under Climate Change

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890. Humanity Enters Uncharted Territory Under Climate Change


In a recent publication on October 24, the world-renowned scientists presented their findings in the journal BioScience, titled The 2023 state of the climate report: Entering uncharted territory.This report serves as a resounding warning that the Earth is entering unprecedented territory due to the alarming acceleration of climate change. Here is the message.  

The world is witnessing a relentless assault on life as we know it, driven by a climate crisis that is pushing us into uncharted territory. For decades, scientists have been sounding the alarm, warning that rapid global warming resulting from human-induced economic activity and greenhouse gas emissions would lead to a future of extreme and unpredictable climatic conditions. Unfortunately, it appears that we are running out of time. With climate-related records being broken at an unprecedented rate, we are entering a period of climatic turmoil unlike any humanity has ever experienced.

Back in 2020, a paper authored by Ripple and his colleagues officially declared a climate emergency. Today, more than 15,000 scientists acknowledge the myriad indicators of our planet's response to a changing climate. Yet, despite the ongoing onslaught of climate disasters, there has been limited progress in taking substantive action to combat climate change. It is imperative that we disseminate information about the existential threat posed by climate change and urge scientists, policymakers, and society to take the lead in addressing this crisis.

The effects of global warming are becoming increasingly severe and have the potential to precipitate the collapse of societies worldwide. Some projections indicate that by the end of this century, between one-third and one-half of the world's population, or 3-6 billion people, will face the challenges of intense heat waves, food shortages, and escalating mortality rates. A challenge of this magnitude requires bold and innovative solutions. To address this problem, we must view climate emergencies not as isolated environmental problems, but as systemic threats to our very survival. Rising temperatures, while devastating on their own, are just one facet of an interconnected problem that includes biodiversity loss, freshwater scarcity, and pandemics. Policies must be developed to address the root causes of ecological overshoot, a situation in which humanity's voracious demand for the Earth's finite resources leads to overexploitation and loss of biodiversity.

To address the over-exploitation of our planet's resources, we must confront the unsustainable and inequitable concept of unlimited growth and excessive consumption, especially by wealthy nations. Prioritizing the well-being of humanity and the sustainability of our planet requires reducing the over-consumption of resources and shifting to a more circular economy by reducing, reusing and recycling resources and waste. It is essential that the costs and benefits of climate action are shared equitably in accordance with the principles of climate justice, with a particular focus on the protection of vulnerable communities. The global economy must be restructured to promote a more equitable distribution of resources, while addressing the stabilization of the global population, with a strong focus on women's and gender rights and opportunities.

Rather than fixating solely on reducing carbon emissions and addressing climate change, the most effective long-term solution lies in recognizing the nature of ecological overshoot. For the sake of all life on Earth, we must summon the courage and determination to rise to the occasion and make a meaningful difference.


William Ripple et al, 2023 State of the Climate Report: Entering Uncharted Territory, BioScience (2023). https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/advance-article/doi/10.1093/biosci/…


Contributor: IIYAMA Miyuki (Information Program)


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