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Earth Science

More Than 15,000 Scientists From 184 Countries Issue 'Warning To Humanity' (www.cbc.ca) 405

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CBC.ca: More than 15,000 scientists around the world have issued a global warning: there needs to be change in order to save Earth. It comes 25 years after the first notice in 1992 when a mere 1,500 scientists issued a similar warning. This new cautioning -- which gained popularity on Twitter with #ScientistsWarningToHumanity -- garnered more than 15,000 signatures. William Ripple of Oregon State University's College of Forestry, who started the campaign, said that he came across the 1992 warning last February, and noticed that this year happened to mark the 25th anniversary. Together with his graduate student, Christopher Wolf, he decided to revisit the concerns raised then, and collect global data for different variables to show trends over the past 25 years. Ripple found: A decline in freshwater availability; Unsustainable marine fisheries; Ocean dead zones; Forest losses; Dwindling biodiversity; Climate change; Population growth. There was one positive outcome, however: a rapid decline in ozone depletion. One of the potential solutions is to stabilize the population. If we reduce family size, consumption patterns don't rise as much. And that can be done by empowering girls and women, providing sexual education and education on family planning.

More Than 15,000 Scientists From 184 Countries Issue 'Warning To Humanity'

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, 2017 @04:28PM (#55542979)

    So, other than driving a Prius and moving to a sardine can style apartment in the inner city, what realistically can people do as something against AGW? There is tons of talk, but all of it seems to just be blaming people.

    It reminds me of the town I live in, where water rationing was killing property values, because the older oak trees were dying. However, it was found that the golf court down the road was using 75% or more of the water, so all the losses in dead trees and cracked foundations due to ground shrinkage did nothing. Similar with the rice paddies.

    The people who can do something won't... and promptly blame it on the people who can't do anything about AGW.

    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday November 13, 2017 @04:33PM (#55543021)

      The average prole can do little. His eco footprint is already nearly insignificant because he can't even afford running the damn AC anymore.

      Those that do have the eco footprint of an elephant also seem to think they can buy themselves another earth and to hell with the rest. Get rid of them and we're solving a lot of ecological (and probably economical) problems.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Vote. Vote for people who will join the Paris agreement, who will enact legislation that reduces emissions on a national level.

        • I will. Provided I ever get to.

          Sadly, in this kind of democracy, while we get to choose between the candidates, the corporations get to choose what candidates there are in the first place. I think it's called the separation of powers or something like that, to separate you from the power.

    • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

      First let's tell our cities to stop subsidizing the roads with sales taxes and stop forcing developers to build more parking than the market thinks is financially optimal. Freedom, low taxes, and low shelf prices are all good things, right?

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      So, other than driving a Prius and moving to a sardine can style apartment in the inner city, what realistically can people do as something against AGW?

      How about having no more than one child? A lot of our problems would be greatly reduced (if not eliminated entirely) if the planet had fewer humans.

    • So, other than driving a Prius and moving to a sardine can style apartment in the inner city, what realistically can people do as something against AGW? There is tons of talk, but all of it seems to just be blaming people.

      Ideally, there's a bunch we could be doing if we really wanted to:

      1) Do the R&D and start building SkyTran [wikipedia.org] systems in metro areas to reduce the usage of fossil-fuel burning cars and the amount of traffic.

      2) Push for more electric and hybrid vehicles. Ideally, non-hybrid vehicles shoul

    • So, other than driving a Prius ...

      The average person in the world has NO car. So if you drive a Prius you are already producing much more than your fair share of CO2.

    • Pavlov reflex?
      AGW isn't even mentioned in the article.
    • We don't need to do much.
      Population will stabilize itself.
      The earth isn't going anywhere, it'll do just fine.
      Maybe we will just get rid of ourselves, that's all.
    • Driving a prius does some, but not nearly as much as taking your bicycle or public transit, even just part of the trips you do.

      Personal automobiles are the single most per capita damaging activity carried out by Americans, who carry out most of the damage overall.

      Remember it isn't just the fuel--it's the tires, the manufacture and disposal, and the roads, which mean lots more fuel consumption, asphalt.

      And it's not just carbon loading that cars cause. They also are highly detrimental to wildlife, produce man

    • What I do is buy as many almond product as possible to help the Californian farmers in moments of draught.

  • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Monday November 13, 2017 @04:35PM (#55543039) Homepage Journal

    If you actually look at some of the statistics published at COP25, you'll see that US and EU emissions are down but GDP is up.

    The most rapid growth in emissions is in India, which still has less emissions per person than China does. The rapid increase in pollution, greenhouse emissions, and climate impacts is mostly due to China and India, but even if we reduce it now, some of the gasses take 100 years to clear out of the atmosphere, although other shorter lived gasses are more impactful but have shorter lifespans.

    The most obvious other solution is not population growth, which isn't driving either of those top two contributors to the environment, but is literally faster phasing out of harmful energy and food usage including farming, by more efficient energy sources and cracking down on illegal overuse of pesticides and crop waste burning. Note that crop waste can be processed into stored fuel with minimal impacts, but the open burning of crop waste accelerates many other processes.

    Solution for this means artificial price supports for crop waste, so that it is converted into appropriate fuel, and reducing all tax exemptions and exclusions for all fossil fuels.

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      Solution for this means artificial price supports for crop waste, so that it is converted into appropriate fuel, and reducing all tax exemptions and exclusions for all fossil fuels.

      Is that all? I'm sure we'll get right on that.

    • or in India's case just plain collecting taxes in the first place. Crop burning's already illegal in India. They do it anyway. You'd need money for enforcement and to pay the enforcers well enough they don't just become corrupt. The only place you're gonna get that kind of money is the ruling elites and good luck getting money out of them.
    • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Monday November 13, 2017 @05:05PM (#55543265) Homepage Journal

      Solution for this means artificial price supports for crop waste, so that it is converted into appropriate fuel, and reducing all tax exemptions and exclusions for all fossil fuels.

      And there you go, mixing your political position with the scientific conclusion. This is what causes science denial.

      Does the science mandate your position? Are there better solutions available?

      I strongly suspect that the best solution is to turn our attention to improvements in technology. This is already happening in the US with the onset of electric vehicles - this will reduce fossil fuel consumption considerably, and serve as a model and testing ground for other nations.

      We then have to find energy sources to replace our current fossil fuel use.

      I strongly suspect that the best solution will be rooftop solar. This is already happening in the US with the cost of rooftop solar dropping [treehugger.com] precipitously over the last 15 years.

      Both of these solutions would dramatically reduce our carbon footprint, and both would benefit from improvements in technology.

      Perhaps we should look to science to solve the problem, instead of identity politics?

      • This is what causes science denial.

        You mean it's your excuse of the moment. If it wasn't this, it would be something else - that's how denialism works.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        It's interesting that the US and Europe and Japan are now being left behind in electric vehicle technology. The US is still in love with fossil fuels, Europe wasted a lot of effort on diesel and cheating, and Japan bet heavily on hybrids. China is building a lot of EVs, building massive battery factories, patenting EV tech like crazy and building up supply lines.

        European manufacturers are starting to import Chinese EV technology for their own cars. Japanese companies are scrambling to pivot towards EVs, rea

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Global Pandemic - works for me.

    No muss, no fuss, and results have a high probability of "success".
    Mother Nature can ( and will ) handle it.

  • by Kogun ( 170504 ) on Monday November 13, 2017 @04:40PM (#55543083)
    the science on AGW was wrong, because they were in the minority. Now, I guess, 15,000 scientists are presumably the majority, so AGW must be right? Is that how science works?
    • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Monday November 13, 2017 @04:49PM (#55543151)

      Nope. If the theory disagrees with experiment, then it is Wrong. It doesn't matter how many voices sign the petition for the theory; it must still be rejected.

      • by bongey ( 974911 )
        Do explain that theory of more than two biological sexes or that one were a guy thinks he is really a girl trapped in males body,declares himself a woman and his ugly ass ends up on Vogue?
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by blindseer ( 891256 )

          Once you explain that theory then try a stab at explaining this. I saw a YouTube video of a young woman that claims she's a gay man. So she's a woman that cuts her hair short and wears baggy clothes, likes to fuck dudes, and demands to want to use the men's restroom to pee. Preventing this women from using the men's room so she can try to get a peek at some guy's dick is now some outrage. If that's what we should be outraged about then I'm thinking we're doing pretty good.

          We've been so well fed, clothed

    • Actually yes, we just can't bear to admit that. What we call "objective truth" is merely a reflection of how many credible people believe in that claim being true. And it's even worse than that: it's how many people who *we believe* are credible do *we believe* they believe a claim is true. If it sounds like turtles all the way down it is: just try to trace the claim of "97% scientists agree" to its roots in reality and you'll see it's based on a long chain of implicit trust based on implicit credibility.

      • by Kogun ( 170504 )
        Millions of adherents of astrology, not to mention religious zealots would applaud your explanation. You also give legitimacy to polls conducted by Fox News and every other agenda-driven group seeking to influence opinion through the bandwagon effect.

        I choose to believe that science is not a democracy.
        • If you will believe me I am as uncomfortable with that as you seem to be. But I've been sitting on it for a while and have only found confirmations for it. If that is indeed true ("true") then the sooner we accept it the less we'll fall for bad science. "That" being the idea that our objective knowledge is acquired, held, and maintained as a statistical process, not as our ever closer understanding of the mind of God which was a line of reasoning that started with Newton.

          Far greater minds have claimed thing

    • Strange thing is that I've never seen a letter of 20,000 mathematicians stating that the value of pi isn't 3, when some state was going to pass a law that pi=3.
      Or a letter of 10,000 physics that supported (or rejected) Einsteins views.
      Was it maybe because in those cases solid proof was actually available?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    That would probably solve one of the problems neatly.

  • 15000 Scientists (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, 2017 @04:53PM (#55543173)

    Among those included in this list of Climate Scientists:

    Davis, Joanne - Australian
    Daweti, Nokuthula - Student
    de Clercq, Deon - Earthling
    Hamilton, Ava - independent documentary producer/citizen scientist
    Jara, Andrea - Colombian
    Thapa, Lal - Asst. Professor of Alien Invasion

    It is very hard to take this (or their agenda) seriously when they won't even do the basic science of vetting a list of "scientists".

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Gussington ( 4512999 )

      It is very hard to take this (or their agenda) seriously when they won't even do the basic science of vetting a list of "scientists".

      This would carry more weight if:
      You weren't AC
      You cited your source, because I searched and can't find the official list of names to verify

      • by SlaveToTheGrind ( 546262 ) on Monday November 13, 2017 @09:58PM (#55544907)

        This would carry more weight if:
        You weren't AC
        You cited your source, because I searched and can't find the official list of names to verify

        Well, here I am and here's the source [oregonstate.edu] -- amazingly enough, one click on a link from TFA. You didn't search very hard at all, did you?

        There are tons more fun ones, like:

        Thalmayer, Isaiah: Restoration Project Manager, Point Blue Conservation Science
        Swanson, Diana: medicine
        Swanson, John: Social Sciences - Psychology, Retired
        Swanson, Patrick: Professor, Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Creighton University

        It's crystal-clear this is just 15k+ random people signing a feel-good petition. Any claim that these signatories are "scientists" in general, much less ones in appropriate fields to make authoritative comments about the subject matter, is unadulterated horseshit.

        • It's crystal-clear this is just 15k+ random people signing a feel-good petition. Any claim that these signatories are "scientists" in general, much less ones in appropriate fields to make authoritative comments about the subject matter, is unadulterated horseshit.

          Now that I have a source to verify I agree. And this is how it should work. Make claims, provide evidence, win friends and influence people...

    • Those scientists got their degrees from Clown College.
  • by FeelGood314 ( 2516288 ) on Monday November 13, 2017 @04:55PM (#55543185)
    http://scientistswarning.fores... [oregonstate.edu] I really wish reporters would link to the actual articles they talk about. Sort of like when they jump all over someone's statements but don't actually quote what the person said.
  • The huge problem you have is most first world countries that at this point are taking large steps to protect the environment (in no small part by pushing those concerns off to other countries that handle manufacturing and power generation) actually have negative population growth.

    That would seem to solve the problem you are laying out, except for one thing - a lot of the countries with positive population growth are not really that concerned about the environment.

    If you really think about this long term, th

  • There is an excellent documentary on Netflix called Mission Blue [netflix.com]

    The problem is that we've let greed over-rule sustainability. All the environmental disasters we are seeing are just the natural consequences of choosing false profits over scientific prophets.

    This begs the question though -- What can the average citizen do to make an impact? The article mentions stabilize the population as one possible solution. What are others?

  • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Monday November 13, 2017 @05:27PM (#55543417) Journal
    The people and organizations who should care, because they have the money, power, and influence to do something about it: Rich people, global corporations.
    Why they don't care: Short-term profits, keeping shareholders happy, is more important than what'll happen a couple hundred years from now. That's 'someone else's problem to deal with', and these people will all be dead and gone by then; why, so far as they're concerned, should they even care?
    Who else is standing in the way of doing something about this: Dominionists, and fundamentalist religious organizations. So far as they're concerned, The Earth is a 'temporary' home for humanity, and is therefore expendable, as is all other life on it. Dominionists in particular are more interested in accelerating the destruction of the Earth, because they fervently believe that the sooner they can bring about the Apocalypse, the sooner Zombie Jesus will 'return' to the Earth to 'take them all home'. So anything they can do to make Earth uninhabitable faster is all to the good so far as they're concerned.

    Then there's the Average Person; they're too busy just trying to deal with their day-to-day lives (and in some cases, too literally trying to stay alive) to even think about anything that's going to happen even 10 years from now, let alone several hundred years from now. Again, that gets waved off as 'someone elses problem', because they'll all be dead and gone before that even happens. Sure, they think about what their theoretical grandchildren may have to deal with -- so maybe they turn off the lights when they leave a room for more than a few minutes, or put off that errand they need to do until later. But it's all a drop in the bucket that really has no effect, not even if everyone does the same.

    Overall there needs to be top-down actions taken, world-wide, in every country that creates a large enough fraction of the total problems. Seeing as we can't seem to get enough nations to agree on how to handle problems a fraction of the size and scope, good bloody luck with that. Add to that resistance the fact that The Rich, the aforementioned religious types, rich, influential religious types, and disinterested greedy corporations aren't going to be cooperative, and the likelihood that anything more than just 'feel-good', overall ineffective things being done becomes rather small. What we really need to have happen first, is a change of hearts and minds across the board; we need everyone to actually give a damn, right down to the core of their being. If someone's got a recipe to make that happen, I'm all ears.
  • Snow in the forecast for tonight where I'm at. Save the earth? That's up to the people with the money. They're only interested in making more. Sorry.
  • by SysEngineer ( 4726931 ) on Monday November 13, 2017 @06:04PM (#55543697)
    The Club of Rome [wikipedia.org] published this book [wikipedia.org] in 1972. It is based on a computer simulation of using resources and population to evaluate how long humanity can exist in this system. At that time the tipping point was about 2030. The model used has been re-evaluated many time since. The latest study [limits2growth.org.uk] has added social stability and things are not looking good.

    Corporation and the rish have not done anything for the last 45 years, do you really think thay would do anything now "to reduce their profits"?
  • by myid ( 3783581 ) on Monday November 13, 2017 @06:39PM (#55543949)

    Isaac Asimov said that the biggest threats to humanity were 1) overpopulation and 2) humanity's habit of splitting itself into groups, and deciding that you are or are not a part of their group. I agree with him.

    Here are an Asimov interview and speech on overpopulation [youtube.com] and human unity [youtube.com].

  • How about we change the words around some to get the point home.. Lets keep the Earth Inhabitable. The earth will be fine. George Carlin was right!
  • I could get more than 15k random signatures on a statement saying that AGW is horseshit.

    That's pretty much the corollary to what these folks did.

    In both cases people would rightly ask, "so what?"

  • It's too late. The evolutionary experiment with intelligence is coming to an end. So be it.
  • Earth is going to survive. Once all the humans are dead, everything will gradually return to normal. Humans are arrogant to think they can kill the planet. They can kill themselves and perhaps all life on it but they can't kill the planet.
  • http://scientistswarning.fores... [oregonstate.edu] 1345 students (more because of language/spelling) 33 Veterinarians 96 Anthropologist Not to mention the many names with no qualifications mentioned at all. And this is after 5 mins skimming the surface of the list. This list is a joke.

Bringing computers into the home won't change either one, but may revitalize the corner saloon.

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