More than 11,000 scientists from all over the world, including dozens of experts from the Czech Republic, have signed a report which for the first time labels climate change as an ‘emergency. ’ The declaration, released just few weeks ahead of the UN Climate Change Summit, warns that the climate crisis is accelerating faster than expected and urges world leaders to take immediate steps to mitigate the crisis.
“Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to ‘tell it like it is,’ says the report published in the U.S. magazine Bioscience, called World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency. On the basis of this obligation the signatories from 153 countries around the globe declare “clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.”
They also say that despite 40 years of global climate negotiations, people have generally conducted business as usual and have largely failed to address the issues related to climate change. It warns that an immense increase of endeavour to conserve our biosphere is needed to avoid untold suffering due to the climate crisis.
Several dozen Czech scientists have added their name to the declaration, including ecologist and former environment minister Bedřich Moldán and Professor Petr Pyšek, a leading Czech expert on invasive species from the Czech Academy of Sciences.
Hydrologist Michal Jeníček from the Department of Physical Geography and Geo-ecology of Charles University’s Faculty of Sciences, explains his motivation to add his name to the report.
“We as scientists usually focus on exploring the nature processes such as the impacts of climate change on different phenomena, in my case, on the water cycle.
“However, we are usually not the ones who can transfer our results into specific measures to adapt to these changes. That is usually the role of the decision-makers and politicians.
“Climate change has been spoken about for decades and we know how serious its impacts might be. However, politicians are not doing enough to reduce these impacts.
“So my motivation to sign this call was to strengthen the scientific voice and bring it closer to the people, telling them that we know a lot about climate change and that we need to do something about it.”
Mr Jeníček says that as a hydrologist, he can see the consequences of climate change, such as melting of glaciers, first-hand. He also says we have to brace ourselves for more problems to come in the future, including less snowfall, which will result in diminishing groundwater reserves.
“There is also one serious consequence. In simple terms, increasing air temperature also means that more water evaporates back into the atmosphere and less water remains in rivers. That might potentially affect our drinking water supply, as well as agriculture and industry.”
The study on climate change also suggests six critical steps to governments, businesses and members of the public to lessen the worst effects of climate change, including “bold and drastic changes” in economic growth and population policies.