Humanity on notice of environmental disaster
HUMAN life is at growing risk from a range of environmental disasters, scientists warned yesterday.
Extinction of plant and animal species, loss of trees, water shortages and catastrophic climate change were listed by the 15,000-strong Union of Concerned Scientists.
They said that since 1992 there had been progress in just one risk area – reducing damage to the ozone layer.
Runaway consumption of limited resources by a surging global population was cited as the biggest danger.
They pointed out that fresh water supplies had fallen by 26 per cent per person. Carbon emissions and average temperatures had risen significantly, while the number of animals had fallen by 29 per cent.
The union made a similar warning, signed by 1500 scientists in 1992, which looked at the same measures.
Now, writing in the journal BioScience, they said: “Humanity is now being given a second notice. We are jeopardising our future by not reining in our intense but geographically and demographically uneven material consumption.”
The authors drew on data from government agencies, non-profit organisations and individual researchers to set out their case.