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20 Vital Signs of Earth


A global team of scientists has issued a warning in a study published in the journal BioScience, stating that twenty of the 35 critical indicators of the Earth’s health have deteriorated to an unprecedented extent, endangering life on our planet.


GS3- Environment

Dimensions of the article:

  1. More on the study results
  2. Analysis of the outcome
  3. Way forward suggested

More on the study results

  • These 20 indicators, including Arctic sea-ice levels, ice mass loss in Antarctica and Greenland, sea level rise, and surface temperature anomalies, have reached record extremes, according to the research team, which includes scientists from the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and Bangladesh.
  • The study also presented key statistics related to temperatures and greenhouse gas emissions. For instance, the year 2023 has already experienced 38 days with global average temperatures surpassing 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as highlighted by the researchers in their study.

Analysis of the outcome:

  • Co-lead author William Ripple, a distinguished professor at Oregon State University in the United States, expressed concern by stating, “Life on our planet is clearly under siege.”
  • Regarding greenhouse gas emissions, the scientists pointed out that this year’s Canadian wildfires released over 1 gigatonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, surpassing the country’s entire greenhouse emissions for 2021.
  • The study also acknowledged that fossil fuel subsidies had nearly doubled globally between 2021 and 2022, rising from USD 531 billion to just over USD 1 trillion.
  • The authors suggested that the increase in subsidies might be attributed to the elevated energy prices resulting from Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Way Forward Suggested:

  • Study author Thomas Newsome from the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney in Australia emphasized the need to accelerate global efforts to combat climate change while reducing ecological impacts.
  • He noted that extreme weather and climate-related consequences disproportionately affect the world’s poorest individuals, who have contributed the least to climate change. Therefore, climate-related actions should be rooted in equity and social justice.
  • The authors of the study called for policies aimed at addressing the underlying problem of “ecological overshoot” and advocated transitioning to a global economy that prioritizes human well-being while curbing over-consumption and excessive emissions by the wealthy.
  • Specific recommendations in their study include phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, promoting plant-based diets, increasing efforts to protect forests, and adopting international agreements for coal elimination and fossil fuel non-proliferation.

-Source: Daily Pioneer

December 2023