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Climate change warnings from the scientific community have been consistent since the late 1950s. There was a growing consensus in the 1980s that something had to be done to avoid potential disaster. With the danger of “untold suffering” and irreversible damage to our planet, these warnings have never been more urgent or more ignored.
1. Svante Arrhenius (1896): The Greenhouse Effect
“If the quantity of carbonic acid increases in geometric progression, the augmentation of the temperature will increase nearly in arithmetic progression.”
Explanation: The Swedish scientist Arrhenius was a pioneer, calculating that adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere could warm the planet. This early insight laid the groundwork for understanding how human activities could influence the global climate.
2. Roger Revelle (1957): The Ocean’s Limit
“Human beings are now carrying out a large-scale geophysical experiment…”
Explanation: Revelle’s research indicated the ocean wouldn’t absorb all human-made CO2 emissions. This realization intensified concerns about atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, prompting further studies and awareness.
3. Charles Keeling (1960): Rise in CO2
“We are on the precipice of climate system tipping points beyond which there is no redemption.”
Explanation: Keeling’s observations led to the discovery of an annual increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. His findings linked human emissions to potential climate impacts, a phenomenon known today as the “Keeling Curve.”
4. James Hansen (1988): Clear Signal of Human Influence
“The greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now.”
Explanation: Hansen’s testimony before Congress was a pivotal moment, emphasizing the immediacy of human-made global warming. His clear message to lawmakers made Climate change a political issue for the first time.
5. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (2007): Undeniable Warming
“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.”
Explanation: The IPCC’s report was unequivocal in stating that global warming was a reality, with human activities as a significant contributor. The report’s alarming findings catalyzed global discussions and policies.
Source: Channel 4 News/YouTube
6. James Lovelock (2006): Gaia Theory
“Before this century is over, billions of us will die, and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.”
Explanation: Lovelock’s Gaia theory warned of a catastrophic population crash. His dire predictions, while controversial, sparked debate about the severe potential consequences of uncontrolled climate change.
7. Stephen Hawking (2017): 100 Years to Leave Earth
“We are running out of space, and the only places to go to are other worlds.”
8. William Ripple and colleagues (2019): World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency
“Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat.”
Explanation: With over 11,000 scientists’ signatures, this warning was a clear call to action. The consensus urged transformative change to prevent disastrous consequences.
9. António Guterres, UN Secretary-General (2020): State of the Planet Address
“Humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal.”
Explanation: Guterres’s powerful speech encapsulated the existential threat climate change poses. His plea for immediate, unified action resonated globally.
10. Sir David King (2023): Ice-Free Arctic
“An ice-free Arctic summer could happen this year or the next.”
Explanation: King’s warning highlights an imminent and alarming possibility with vast implications for global weather patterns, sea levels, and biodiversity.
The urgency and consistency of scientific warnings about Climate change have been clear and unwavering. From early calculations about the Greenhouse Effect to imminent threats of an ice-free Arctic, the message is undeniable: We must act now.
The responsibility lies with each of us to mitigate the impacts of Climate change. It’s time to learn more about how our daily actions contribute to this global crisis and what we can do to make a difference.
How to Help: Commit to engage in sustainable practices, reduce your carbon footprint, and lobby for environmentally friendly policies in your community and nation. Join the fight against climate change and be a part of the solution. Explore resources, join local initiatives, and take a stand for the future of our planet. The time to act is now!
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Easy Ways to Help the Planet:
- Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based Recipe app on the App Store, to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
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- Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, Donate if you can, grow your food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products!