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More than 11,000 scientists are warning that the Earth, in their words, "clearly and unequivocally faces a climate emergency."
The scientists represent several fields of study and come from 150 countries around the world. They approved a report that appeared in the publication Bioscience earlier this month. It warns that the world would face "untold human suffering" if it does not make deep and lasting shifts in human activities that influence climate change.
This is the first time a large group of scientists have jointly used the word "emergency" when talking about climate change.
"Despite 40 years of global climate negotiations...we have generally conducted business as usual and have largely failed to address this predicament," the study said. "Climate change has arrived and is accelerating faster than many scientists expected."
The report identified six areas that the world needs to deal with immediately. The scientists appealed to nations to use energy more efficiently and cut their use of fossil fuels. They suggested that lawmakers approve taxes on the burning of carbon-based fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas.
The report urges people to move toward more of a plant-based diet.
Other areas of concern include preventing the destruction of forests and permanent loss of some plant and animal species.
The reported noted that it will most likely take strong actions by the public to move politicians to approve lasting policy changes.
The scientists added, "We believe that the prospects will be greatest if decision-makers and all of humanity promptly respond to this warning and declaration of a climate emergency, and act to sustain life on planet Earth, our only home."
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