Late last year more than 11,000 scientists signed a climate crisis statement calling for ‘major transformations in the ways our global society functions’. In January scientists set the Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds to midnight – pushing humanity closer to the brink of catastrophe than ever before. Ramping up the volume even further on the climate klaxon today, scientists from the University of Southampton, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and the University of Bangor, released a report revealing that large ecosystems, such as rainforests, are in danger of disappearing far quicker than was previously thought possible. According to the research, the Amazon could collapse in just 49 years and the Caribbean coral reefs in 15 years.
“The messages here are stark. We need to prepare for changes in our planet’s ecosystems that are faster than we previously envisaged,” said John Dearing, Professor in Physical Geography at the University of Southampton, who led the research. “These findings are yet another call for halting the current damage being imposed on our natural environments that pushes ecosystems to their limits.”
While the international response is still too slow, countries and big brands are beginning to wake up to the challenge. Europe is striving to be the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050, and last week announced an EU-wide Climate Law to accelerate its EU Green Deal ambitions. Global corporations are following suit, committing to net-zero emissions by 2050 through programmes like the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Signatories include Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Iberdrola, Levi Strauss & Co., Novozymes, Royal DSM, SAP, Telefonica, Unilever, and Zurich Insurance. The RE100 initiative is another, where big names are pledging to shift to a future powered by 100% renewable energy. RE100, run by The Climate Group, already has the backing of over 200 international businesses.
Inspiring societies to embrace transformational change remains a huge challenge though, but there are campaigns including the UN #ActNow initiative, and more climate-friendly individual options available, relating to areas like shopping and the food we eat, that can hopefully help push people in the right direction.