In 1992, more than 1,700 concerned scientists, including the overwhelming majority of the then living Nobel laureates, published an open letter calling out to all the inhabitants of our planet. The message was simple: if we do not take decisive action in the near future, then all mankind expects serious problems, and our planet will be irretrievably mutilated. After 25 years, the scientific community states that the situation only worsened.
In a new address, which lists the main threats to the existence of intelligent life on Earth, 15,364 scientists from 184 countries signed the agreement. The second "warning to mankind" is published in the journal BioScience. One of the co-authors of the report, Thomas Newsom, a researcher at Deakin University, as well as of Sydney University, says that this may be the greatest support that has ever been collected under a scientific publication.
"This is just an astounding answer that we could not be expected, "said Newsom.
The article was produced in the US, then appeared in Australia, after which it spread and collected support from scientists from all over the world. Newsom notes that on the first day of the publication, about four months ago, 600 scientists responded to the call of scientists.
In the original article of 1992, scientists and experts reported growing concern about the observed destruction of the planet's biosphere caused by anthropogenic impact. In their work, researchers described nine areas of greatest concern. Among them – depletion of the ozone layer, reduction of forests, climate change and excessive population growth.
"In the new work we returned to these problems and tried to identify possible positive changes based on new data collected over 25 years," explains Newsom.
It turned out that against the backdrop of the reflected data of the 1992 article, mankind not only has not coped with environmental problems, in some areas these problems have become much more serious. Among the nine areas most troubling in the first article, mankind managed to cope only with ozone. Experts noted the positive effect of the phase-out of chlorofluorocarbons, which led to the reduction of the ozone hole in the stratosphere.
In the new article, global warming was considered by scientists to be the main threat to the planet's ecosystem (since 1992, average global temperatures have increased by 0.5 degrees Celsius, and average annual emissions of carbon dioxide – by 62 percent). During this same period, there is a high volume of forest destruction, as well as serious problems in the agricultural sector, in particular, a much higher level of consumed meat.
Among the most frightening factors shown in the report are:
- 26 percent of freshwater resources per inhabitant of the planet;
- Loss of huge forest area (about 121.5 million hectares);
- 75 percent increase in the number of ocean dead zones (low-level zones m of oxygen)
In addition, over the past quarter century, the population of the Earth has increased by two billion, while the population of the other mammals as well as reptiles, amphibians and fish declined by almost 30 percent. Researchers respond that if these rates continue, by 2050, people on the planet may already be more than 9 billion, which will certainly lead to a catastrophic and irreversible decline in biodiversity.
For example, in the same Australia, the decline in biodiversity has already been traced. In 2017, the continent took the second place in the world in terms of the rate of decline of this indicator, losing first place to Indonesia alone. According to Newsome, in his country, the first threat to biodiversity reduction is the reduction of available habitats.
"The latest reports are screaming about a catastrophic increase in the volume of deforestation in Queensland. Annually about 400 000 hectares are cut down. This is the equivalent of 400,000 football fields, which puts us on the same level as Brazil, "says Newsom.
" At the same time, the amount of allocated budget funds for the restoration of the same endangered species of animals and birds is completely inadequate. Our government prefers to spend more money on the restoration of mining sites. "
At the conclusion of this article, scientists propose solutions that could reduce the negative impact of humans on the ecosystem of the planet. Among them – the creation of new reserves, reducing the size of food waste and the introduction of green technologies.