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Scientists issue a dire warning about climate change (again)

We've really got to start making drastic changes or else.
Getty Images/iStockphoto
Getty Images/iStockphoto
Swapna Krishna
Swapna Krishna|@skrishna|November 15, 2017 12:02 PM

Back in 1992, a group of scientists from around the world told us in no uncertain terms that we were ruining the planet Earth. Because of human actions such as deforestation, pollution and ozone depletion, we were on a dire course that would lead to a planet unable to support life. As you can imagine, things haven't improved much. This week, over 15,000 scientists from 184 countries joined together to issue a second notice for the 25th anniversary of their original warning. Their message? Things have gotten much, much worse, and soon it will be too late to do anything about it.

The letter appeared in the journal BioScience, and its message is (understandably) dire. "Humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse," it says. "Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory."

There isn't much in the way of good news here. Not only have the issues identified in the original letter gotten worse, but a whole new host of problems have emerged. From access to clean water to a population explosion, things aren't looking great. The only issue that has improved is the hole in the ozone layer, which has shrunk considerably.

However, all is not lost, at least not yet. Scientists outline 13 things we can do in the very near future to correct our course. These include developing more environmentally friendly tech, creating nature reserves and putting economic policies into place that will change our consumption habits. The paper also announces the establishment of the Alliance of World Scientists, which will "develop clear, trackable, and practical solutions while communicating trends and needs to world leaders." Let's just hope it's not too late.

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Scientists issue a dire warning about climate change (again)