A global team of more than 11,000 scientists is warning that the planet "clearly and unequivocally faces a climate emergency."
In a report published Tuesday in the journal Bioscience warns in no uncertain terms that the world would face "untold human suffering" if it does not make deep and lasting shifts in human activities that contribute to climate change.
The study, called the "World Scientists' Warning of a Climate Emergency," was led by ecologists Bill Ripple and Christopher Wolf of Oregon State University, and climate scientist William Moomaw of Tufts University, along with scientists from universities in South Africa and Australia. The signatories to the report represent several fields of study and come from 150 countries.
"Despite 40 years of global climate negotiations, with few exceptions, we have generally conducted business as usual and have largely failed to address this predicament," the study says. "Climate change has arrived and is accelerating faster than many scientists expected."
It is the first time a large group of scientists have collectively used the world "emergency" in reference to climate change.
The report identified six areas that need to be addressed immediately.
Cutting fossil fuel use by imposing carbon taxes and using energy more efficiently Stabilizing global population growth by strengthening women's rights and making family planning services "available to all people" Cutting emissions of pollutants like soot and ethane Moving to a more plant-based diet Preventing the loss of biodiversity and the destruction of forests Moving the global economic focus away from growth of wealth to sustainability and income equality
The scientists said it will most likely take strong actions by the public to move politicians toward adopting lasting policy changes.
"We believe that the prospects will be greatest if decision-makers and all of humanity promptly respond to this warning and declaration of a climate emergency, and act to sustain life on planet Earth, our only home," the paper said.