Scientists Plan to Avoid Global Tipping Point

     SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – Hundreds of the world’s top scientists outlined five crucial environmental concerns that “policymakers must address” to avoid a global tipping point, in a call to action endorsed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
     “This is not just about science, this is about activism,” Gov. Brown said in a statement Thursday. “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.”
     The scientists released the call to action and a 51-page consensus statement at the fourth annual Water, Energy and Smart Technology Summit and Showcase at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif.
     Drafted at Gov. Brown’s behest, the consensus statement “translates key scientific findings from disparate fields into one unified message” that seeks to help policymakers address climate change at the political level.
     “Here are 520 scientists from throughout the world making a very strong statement … about Earth’s environmental problems, and we’re putting it in the hands of policy makers so they can understand and start formulating solutions,” Anthony Barnosky, UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology and lead author of the consensus statement, told UC Berkeley’s News Center.
     The consensus statement identifies 5 key areas wherein human impacts threaten the quality of life for future generations: climate change, extinctions, ecosystem loss, pollution, and population growth, according to the press release.
     The scientists claim in the press release that, given current global trends, Earth will reach its hottest climates in human history by 2070, and lose “75 percent of vertebrate species” within 300 years. They also say that humans have irreparably altered 40 percent of the planet’s “ice-free lands,” which has reduced its biodiversity; have exposed the environment and millions of people to record levels of toxic pollutants; and have increased levels of greenhouse gases through unchecked population growth.
     The consensus statement offers several possible solutions to these issues, including switching from fossil fuels to “carbon-neutral energy technologies; developing newer, safer chemicals and phasing out older ones; curbing urban sprawl; investing in ecosystem restoration projects; and eventually halting population growth by ensuring that everyone, especially women, has access to birth control.
     The consensus statement has been signed by more than 500 scientists from 44 countries, including “two Nobel laureates, 33 members of the U.S. National Academy of the Sciences and members of the international scientific academies,” according to the governor’s release.

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