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Climate Change: Why 11,000 Scientists are warning of ‘untold suffering’ ahead of us

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'Untold suffering'
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'Untold suffering'

The chorus against climate change seems to be getting louder than ever, but as schoolchildren, too, are now asking: Is anybody really listening? Over 11,000 scientists from 153 countries joined their voices this week to call for greater and more urgent action to limit the deepening, and more accelerated, the threat of climate change humans face today. Pointing out that the first alarm on global warming was sounded 40 years ago, these scientists say that very little has been done to fully mitigate the impact the entire range of human activities has been having on the planet. They go on to suggest changes on key indicators that can pull the planet back from the brink. Here’s a look at where they want actions to be focused and why:

Agencies
Fossil fuel use has to come down
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Fossil fuel use has to come down

Scientists say “leave remaining stocks of fossil fuels in the ground” and pursue effective negative emissions using technology such as carbon extraction from the source. They add that wealthier countries need to support poorer nations in transitioning away from fossil fuels while subsidies for fossil fuels should be eliminated.

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Reining in pollutants is half the battle won
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Reining in pollutants is half the battle won

Short-lived pollutants, like methane, black carbon (soot), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), should be eliminated immediately as that could potentially reduce “short-term warming trend by more than 50% over the next few decades”.

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Saving ecosystems is a key to meeting climate goals
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Saving ecosystems is a key to meeting climate goals

The most visible signs of climate change are in Earth’s ecosystems. Coral reefs, forests, savannas etc. play a big part in trapping atmospheric CO2. But these have all borne the brunt of climate change Also affected are marine and terrestrial organisms etc. that play significant roles in carbon and nutrient cycling and storage.

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Rising sea levels, extreme weather events are causing irreversible damage
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Rising sea levels, extreme weather events are causing irreversible damage

Among the most alarming findings are the rates at which sea ice is melting and sea level is rising, threating millions of coastal communities Human contributions to ecological damage are worsening the impact of extreme weather events that are more frequent now.

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Cutting meat consumption vital to reducing emissions
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Cutting meat consumption vital to reducing emissions

Scientists recommend plant-based diets over animal products. This will help cut down on emissions from breeding livestock. Farmers will be able to focus purely on producing food for humans rather than livestock feed.

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Economic growth, seen as a positive, has escalated the crisis
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Economic growth, seen as a positive, has escalated the crisis

Scientists say our carbon dependent economies need to shift from a GDP growth focus to one that prioritises basic needs, addressing inequality and protecting the environment Though steady GDP growth and growing industries, like aviation, are viewed positively, they represent the increasing strain on our ecosystems.

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Population growth has become unsustainable
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Population growth has become unsustainable

At the current rate, 80 million people are added to global population every year — that’s about 200,000 every day Scientists say population must be stabilised and reduced overtime to bring depleting resources and environmental damage under control. Dropping global fertility rates, though, show promise for population control.

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