Twenty five years after 1,700 scientists from across the world issued a dire "warning to humanity" over environmental impacts, more than 15,000 eminent names from the universe of science have said that the "humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen challenges.
The warning in late 1992 had called on humankind to curtail environmental destruction and cautioned that “a great change in our stewardship of the Earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided.”
“World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity” was penned by more than 1,700 independent scientists, including the majority of living Nobel laureates in the sciences.
They had showed that humans were on a collision course with the natural world. They had expressed concern about current, impending, or potential damage on planet Earth involving ozone depletion, freshwater availability, marine life depletion, ocean dead zones, forest loss, biodiversity destruction, climate change, and continued human population growth.
The warning had proclaimed that fundamental changes were urgently needed to avoid the consequences our present course would bring.
On the twenty-fifth anniversary of their call, scientisits, after evaluating the human response by exploring available time-series data, have issued a bracing follow-up.
"Humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse," 15,364 scientists from 184 countries write in a communique published Monday in the journal BioScience.
This letter has been spearheaded by Oregon State University ecologist William Ripple and serves as a "second notice."
Humanity is now being given a second notice, authors say. "Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory."
Since 1992, the only silver lining is depletion of the hole in the planet's protective ozone layer which has shrunk to its smallest size since 1988.
The scientists in 1992 had implored that we cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and phase out fossil fuels, reduce deforestation, and reverse the trend of collapsing biodiversity.
Scientists say that current trajectory of potentially catastrophic climate change due to rising GHGs from burning fossil fuels and deforestation, is "especially troubling."
The letter lists climate change as one of the biggest threats saying that global average temperatures have risen by more than half a degree Celsius since 1992, and annual carbon dioxide emissions have increased by 62 percent.