Over 11,000 scientists have signed up to a declaration stating that the Earth is "facing a climate emergency."
The declaration is written in a paper published in the journal BioScience. Authored by a number of scientists from around the world, it paints a stark picture of how our planet is faring.
The "climate crisis", according to the authors, "has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected." It is described as being "more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity."
Published Tuesday, the paper comes 40 years after the First World Climate Conference, which took place in Geneva in 1979. It is informed by decades of analysis related to data such as energy consumption, per capita meat production, human population and fossil fuel consumption.
"Despite 40 years of major global negotiations, we have continued to conduct business as usual and have failed to address this crisis," Oregon State University's William J. Ripple, a co-lead author of the paper, said in a statement.
The authors of the report highlight six areas where urgent action is required: energy, short lived pollutants, nature, food, the economy and population.
They argue that fossil fuels should be replaced by renewables and "other cleaner sources of energy if safe for people and the environment." When it comes to food, a plant-based diet combined with a reduction in the consumption of animal based products is advocated, while they also call for the protection and restoration of the planet's ecosystems.
The paper will be troubling for many, but it does offer some hope for the future. "We are encouraged by a recent surge of concern," the authors write.
"Governmental bodies are making climate emergency declarations. School children are striking. Ecocide lawsuits are proceeding in the courts. Grassroots citizen movements are demanding change, and many countries, states and provinces, cities, and businesses are responding."