Time running out to save planet, 15000 scientists warn

Scientists warn Earth is on the road to ruin

In 1992, more than 1,700 scientists wrote the original "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity", asking humankind to slow environmental destruction.

More than 15,000 scientists from 184 countries signed their names to an open letter warning humanity that we'll continue to incite the extinction of our species if we don't act to correct climate change immediately.

The paper is a "second notice" because 25 years ago, a majority of the world's Nobel laureates and other scientists signed a warning letter, saying issues such as ozone depletion, forest loss, climate change, and population growth needed to be addressed. They elucidated that humans had propelled Earth's ecosystems to their breaking point and were directed towards devastating the planet.

Human well-being will be severely jeopardised by negative trends in some types of environmental harm, such as a changing climate, deforestation, loss of access to fresh water, species extinctions and human population growth, scientists warn in today's issue of BioScience, an worldwide journal. "Humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, a lot of them are getting far worse". Those chemicals were once used in refrigerators, air conditioners, and elsewhere, but we discovered they could trigger reactions in the atmosphere that broke down the ozone.

But things were only going to get worse.

"Some people might be tempted to dismiss this evidence and think we are just being alarmist", says William Ripple, lead author of the report and professor in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University.

Global climate change sits atop the new letter's list of planetary threats.

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There's also less fresh water available, and the human population has risen while the population for everything else has declined.

Collectively the number of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish in the world has fallen by 29%. The human population grew by a whopping 2 billion, while the populations of all other mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish have declined by almost 30 percent.

The group reminds that efforts to reduce ozone-depleting substances have shown efficacy-by cutting greenhouse gasses we've actually shrunk the size of the hole in the ozone layer to its smallest size in 30 years.

The authors offer 13 suggestions for reining in our impact on the planet, including establishing nature reserves, reducing food waste, developing green technologies and establishing economic incentives to shift patterns of consumption.

The scientists formed an independent organisation called the Alliance of World Scientists to voice concerns about environmental sustainability and the fate of humanity.

"Scientists are in the business of analyzing data and looking at the long-term consequences", Ripple said in a release.

Prof Ripple said: "Those who signed this second warning aren't just raising a false alarm".

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