520 Scientists Issue Statement with Solutions to Global Life Support Problems

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Warning that “Earth is rapidly approaching a tipping point,” a group of 520 scientists from around the world last week released a “Consensus Statement” calling on political leaders to recognize the severity of the situation and take action to save the biosphere before it is too late.


The statement continued, “Human impacts are causing alarming levels of harm to our planet. As scientists who study the interaction of people with the rest of the biosphere using a wide range of approaches, we agree that the evidence that humans are damaging their ecological life-support systems is overwhelming. We further agree that, based on the best scientific information available, human quality of life will suffer substantial degradation by the year 2050 if we continue on our current path.”


The group of 520, which includes biologists, botanists, climatologists, ecologists, engineers, geneticists and others, identifies five key threats: climate change, high rates of animal and plant extinction, the loss of ecosystems to development, human population growth, and pollution. Their efforts were sponsored by the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and Biosphere (MAHB), a non-profit association of scientists dedicated to using science to create and implement “a vision of a plausible and compelling world in 2050 which is moving towards sustainability and social equity.”


Recognizing that these five crises are deeply intertwined with one another, the report sets forth “broad-brush” policy proposals to slow the destruction humanity is wreaking on the biosphere. These include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, better land management, slowing the rate of population growth and changing industrial processes to reduce toxic waste.


Presenting the report to California Governor Jerry Brown at the 2013 Water, Energy and Smart Technology (WEST) Summit in Mountain View, California, lead author Prof. Anthony Barnosky said “Here are 520 scientists from throughout the world making a very strong statement, with as little waffling as possible, about Earth’s environmental problems, and we’re putting it in the hands of policy makers so they can understand and start formulating solutions, and we are starting with the governor of California, the world’s ninth largest economy.”


That is probably a smart way to start, since Gov. Brown is on record as accepting the science behind human-caused global warming and the need to combat it. As AllGov reported last week, fossil fuel companies and conservative politicians still refuse to accept the scientific consensus around climate change, and the corporate media, by falsely depicting their political dissent as science-based, retards the development of a broader societal settlement of the issue.

-Matt Bewig


To Learn More:

World’s Top Scientists: California & Nations Must Act Now on Environment (by Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley News Center)

Scientific Consensus on Maintaining Humanity’s Life Support Systems in the 21st Century: Information for Policy Makers (Millennium Alliance for Humanity and Biosphere)


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