"Unfortunately, time is up."
Ring the Alarm
Scientists are again ringing alarm bells over climate change's devastating effects on the planet — and this time, they're saying the Earth's rapidly changing environment may result in a global disaster of epic proportions by the end of the century.
A new paper published in the journal BioScience has been co-signed by more than 15,000 scientists in 161 countries, and warns that "life on planet Earth is under siege" as we continue to hurtle ever faster towards environmental collapse.
"For several decades, scientists have consistently warned of a future marked by extreme climatic conditions because of escalating global temperatures caused by ongoing human activities that release harmful greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere," the paper reads. "Unfortunately, time is up."
In a statement, Oregon State University postdoctoral scholar and co-lead study author Christopher Wolf echoed the paper's serious tone while offering some glimmers of hope paired, of course, with major mitigation strategies.
"Without actions that address the root problem of humanity taking more from the Earth than it can safely give," Wolf said, "we’re on our way to the potential collapse of natural and socioeconomic systems and a world with unbearable heat and shortages of food and fresh water."
Fire It Up
In the study, the OSU postdoc and his 11 other co-authors included plenty of startling data points showing that in 2023, multiple climate records were broken by "enormous margins." The authors pointed specifically to this year's unusually active Canadian wildfire season and said it "may indicate a tipping point into a new fire regime," which is arguably one of the scariest sanguine academic sentences ever written.
Distinguished OSU forestry professor William Ripple, another of the study's authors, added that this year has brought "deeply alarming patterns," and that it's not heartening that we've done so little to fix things.
"We also found little progress to report as far as humanity combating climate change," Ripple said in the statement.
Like countless scientists before them, the study's 12 authors and thousands of signatories pointed not just to the heavily-polluting fossil fuel industry but also to the government representatives that subsidize them as one of the root causes of this climate snowball effect. According to the paper, between the years 2021 and 2022, fossil fuel subsidies essentially doubled from $531 billion to just over $1 trillion — and that's just in the United States.
"We must shift our perspective on the climate emergency from being just an isolated environmental issue to a systemic, existential threat," the paper's authors wrote — and switching away from fossil fuels, along with fighting against the "overconsumption of the rich," are two of the first things that need to be done to avert further catastrophe before the 21st century is over.
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