MOFFETT FIELD – Warning that Earth is rapidly approaching a tipping point at which human impacts are causing alarming levels of harm to our planet, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today joined more than 500 world-renowned researchers and scientists to release a groundbreaking call to action on climate change and other global threats to all humanity.
“This is not just about science, this is about activism,” said Governor Brown. “This is an important challenge, cause and undertaking. We can do it, but we have to do a lot more than we're doing now.”
Governor Brown and the scientists released the call to action at the fourth annual Water, Energy and Smart Technology Summit and Showcase at NASA Ames Research Center.
The 20-page consensus statement , produced at the Governor’s urging and signed by more than 500 concerned scientists, translates key scientific findings from disparate fields into one unified message for policymakers, industry and the general public. This statement aims to improve the nexus between scientific research and political action on climate change.
The call to action identifies five key threats to the habitable environment that policymakers must address now to avoid the degradation of humanity’s relative health and prosperity along with broad solutions to the challenges outlined:
- Climate change – Forecasts show that Earth will be hotter than the human species has ever experienced by the year 2070.
- Extinctions – At the current rate of species extinction, the world will see the loss of 75 percent of vertebrate species within as little as three centuries.
- Loss of ecosystems – As of 2012, more than 40 percent of Earth’s ice-free lands have been changed by human activity, causing species extinction and other impacts to Earth’s biodiversity.
- Pollution – Increasing levels of toxic substances in the environment put over 100 million people at direct risk of health problems.
- Population growth and consumption – Human population growth contributes to global environmental disruption by adding greenhouse gases and toxic pollutants to the environment and altering ecosystems.
The full text of the statement and the list of the over 500 scientists who signed the document are available on the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere website. The signatories hail from 44 countries and include two Nobel laureates, 33 members of the U.S. National Academy of the Sciences and members of international scientific academies.
The statement’s lead writer is Anthony Barnosky, University of California, Berkeley, professor of integrative biology. Barnosky was the lead author of a scientific paper in 2012 that warned Earth is dangerously close to a tipping point at which climate change is fundamentally altering the biological make-up of the planet.