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‘Untold suffering’: 11,000 scientists declare climate emergency, call for ‘massive changes’ to energy production

More than 11,000 scientists from 153 countries have banded together to declare a climate emergency.

In a paper published in scientific journal BioScience the scientists declared an “immense increase of scale in endeavours to conserve our biosphere is needed to avoid untold suffering”.

Dr Thomas Newsome, ecologist at the University of Sydney and co-author of the paper, said something needs to be done urgently.

“We’re already starting to see some of the effects of climate change in our day-to-day lives,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“One of the most important things we documented was an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events at a global level.

“In Australia, we are experiencing record heatwaves, we are experiencing floods, we are experiencing major extreme weather events that are impacting things like the Great Barrier Reef.”

Dr Newsome said converting to renewable energy sources is the most important change populations can make.

“We outline six broad steps in our paper,” he said.

“At the top of that is massive changes in the way we produce our energy, so it’s a shift away from fossil fuels to focusing on renewables.”

He also called for governments to report how they’re reducing emissions.

“One of the things we’d like to see form this particular paper is that governments actually track, at a country level, how their own indicators are trending,” he said.

“Ideally, governments would present that data back to the general public along with things like stock exchange indices and GDP growth.”

Neil Mitchell questioned the relevance of some of the fields studied by scientists who signed the paper.

“Just having a look through the Australian list, it includes a naturopath, a hypnotist, an industrial designer, a commercial business analyst, and a psychologist, what do they know about the environment?,” the 3AW Mornings host said.

“Climate change is an issue that’s affecting, or important, to a broad range of scientists across a broad range of fields,” Dr Newsome responded.

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Image: Alexandros Maragos