Over 15,000 Scientists Issue Dire Warning To Humanity On Catastrophic Climate Change And Biodiversity Loss



A shocking  and dire  warning has been issued by over  15,000 scientists that we are badly running out of time to save the Planet from over-exploitation and man-made global warming. This warning is backed by data on disastrous trajectories in 9 out of 10 key areas over the last 24 years,  comes 25 years after a similar warning by 1700 scientists, coincides with the current 2017 UN Climate Change Conference COP 23 in Bonn, and concludes  “Time is running out” for action.  Extrapolation from current trajectories indicates a looming disaster.

Over 15,000 scientists have issued this dire warning [1] that is presented in an abbreviated form below:

Quote: “Twenty-five years ago, the Union of Concerned Scientists and more than 1700 independent scientists, including the majority of living Nobel laureates in the sciences, penned the 1992 “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity”… These concerned professionals called on humankind to curtail environmental destruction and cautioned that “a great change in our stewardship of the Earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided.” In their manifesto, they showed that humans were on a collision course with the natural world…

On the twenty-fifth anniversary of their call, we look back at their warning and evaluate the human response by exploring available time-series data. Since 1992, with the exception of stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer, humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse (figure 1…). Especially troubling is the current trajectory of potentially catastrophic climate change due to rising GHGs from burning fossil fuels (Hansen et al. 2013), deforestation (Keenan et al. 2015), and agricultural production—particularly from farming ruminants for meat consumption (Ripple et al. 2014). Moreover, we have unleashed a mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years, wherein many current life forms could be annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century…

Figure 1. Trends over time for environmental issues identified in the 1992 scientists’ warning to humanity. The years before and after the 1992 scientists’ warning are shown as gray and black lines, respectively… Percentage [quasi-linear] change, since 1992, for the variables in each panel are as follows  [explanations in square brackets]:

(a) –68.1% [Ozone depletors (Mt CFC-11-equivalent per year); a good result showing that effective action is possible];

(b) –26.1% [Freshwater resources per capita (1,000 metre3  )];

(c) –6.4% [Reconstructed marine catch (Mt per year)];

(d) +75.3% [Dead zones (number of affected regions)];

(e) –2.8% [Total forest (million ha)];

(f) –28.9% [Vertebrate species abundance (% of 1970)];

(g) +62.1% [CO2 emissions (Gt CO2 per year)];

(h) +167.6% [Temperature change (oC)]; and

(i) Humans: +35.5% [Population (billion individuals)],

[j] Ruminant livestock: +20.5% [Population (billion individuals)]…

To prevent widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss, humanity must practice a more environmentally sustainable alternative to business as usual. This prescription was well articulated by the world’s leading scientists 25 years ago, but in most respects, we have not heeded their warning. Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out. We must recognize, in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions, that Earth with all its life is our only home.” End quote.

The reader can get a snapshot of the disastrous trajectories and percentage trends  in 9 out of 10 key environmental areas from Figure 1 of this existentially important paper authored by 15,364 scientists from around the world [1].  However to make the looming disaster more apparent I have taken the data in Figure 1 and determined the actual value for each key parameter in 1992, 2016 and (by extrapolation) in 2040, the latter assuming that the quasi-linear trend over the last decade or so remains the same.

These estimations are presented below together with brief, documented  amplifications:  

 (a) Ozone depletors:  1.03 Mt CFC-11-equivalent added in 1992, 0.31 in 2016 and 0.01 in 2040. This is a  good result showing that effective global action on atmospheric pollution is possible, in this instance in relation to ozone-depleting chlorofluorohydrocarbons (CFCs) that were targeted by the 1989 Montreal Protocol in response to dire warnings from scientists, notably Frank Sherwood Rowland , Mario Molina, and Paul J. Crutzen who were awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for their work on this problem [2]. The transitional replacement hydrofluorohydrocarbons have much lower ozone-depleting effects but like the CFCs have significant global warming potential (GWP) [2, 3].

(b) Freshwater resources per capita:  8,000 metre3  in 1992, 5,900 in 2016 and  3,400 in 2040. Wikipedia states “Out of all the water on Earth, saline water in oceans, seas and saline groundwater make up about 97% of it. Only 2.5–2.75% is fresh water, including 1.75–2% frozen in glaciers, ice and snow, 0.5–0.75% as fresh groundwater and soil moisture, and less than 0.01% of it as surface water in lakes, swamps and rivers” [4].  There is already a massively disproportionate and deadly distribution of renewable freshwater resources in the world (defined as long-term average water availability for a country of precipitation, recharged ground water, and surface inflows from surrounding countries) [5]. Thus per capita renewable freshwater in cubic metres per person  is 20,414 (Australia), 9,458 (US), 5,405 (Mali), 3,246 (France), 2,221 (UK), 2014 (China), 1,427 (India), 1,176 (Somalia), 672 (Burkina Faso), 214.5 (Israel), 70 (Occupied Palestinian  Territories), and 74 (Yemen) [5, 6].

An example of enforced disparity is provided by the anti-racist Jewish Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem that reports: “Daily per capita water consumption in the West Bank for domestic, urban, and industrial use is some 73 liters. In areas in the northern West Bank, consumption is much lower. In 2008, per capita daily consumption was 44 liters in the Jenin area and 37 liters in the Tubas area. There is a huge disparity between Israeli and Palestinian consumption. Per capita water consumption in Israeli towns is 242 liters and in local councils, 211 liters. In other words, per capita use in Israel is three and a half times higher than in the West Bank. The World Health Organization and the United States Agency for International Development recommend 100 liters of water per capita per day as the minimum quantity for basic consumption” [7]. This is a war crime in gross violation of Articles 55 and 56 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War that demands that an Occupier must provide life-sustaining medical, water and food “to the fullest extent of the means available to it” [8]. Ditto the  rich Western US Alliance countries with high per capita renewable freshwater which are variously involved in assisting  the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition’s Yemeni Genocide in blockaded, war-devastated, drought-wracked, and famine-stalked Yemen, specifically the US (arms, soldiers, drone strikes), UK (arms), France (arms), Australia (mercenaries,  targeting US drone strikes and proposed arms sales) [9]. The long-predicted Water Wars commenced in Occupied Palestine 50 years ago (Palestinian deaths in the ongoing Palestinian Genocide since WW1 total 2 million, from violence, 0.1 million, or from imposed deprivation, 1.9 million [10]. The Western members of the US Alliance are  variously involved in a War on Muslims in 20 variously climate change- and water-challenged countries from West Africa to South East Asia in which 32 million Muslims have died from violence, 5 million, or from imposed deprivation, 27 million, since the US Government’s 9-11 false flag atrocity [11-13].  Of course these horrendous realities –  like the worsening climate emergency and the worsening climate genocide – are ignored by corporate Mainstream media and are also significantly  “softened” by activist lite, climate lite, anti-Apartheid lite and anti-war lite activists as the price of being granted some Mainstream visibility [14].

(c) Reconstructed marine catch:  52 Mt per year in 1960, 121 in 1992, 113 in 2016 and 87 in 2040. There has been an enormous increase in marine fishing in the last half century that peaked in circa 1990 and is now markedly declining, notwithstanding the increased need from a hugely increasing human population ([1], Figure 1, panel j ). The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has commented: “Fisheries and aquaculture remain important sources of food, nutrition, income and livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people around the world. World per capita fish supply reached a new record high of 20 kg in 2014, thanks to vigorous growth in aquaculture, which now provides half of all fish for human consumption, and to a slight improvement in the state of certain fish stocks due to improved fisheries management. Moreover, fish continues to be one of the most-traded food commodities worldwide with more than half of fish exports by value originating in developing countries. Recent reports by high-level experts, international organizations, industry and civil society representatives all highlight the tremendous potential of the oceans and inland waters now, and even more so in the future, to contribute significantly to food security and adequate nutrition for a global population expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050… the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), held in Rome in November 2014, adopted the Rome Declaration and the Framework for Action, whereby world leaders renewed their commitments to establish and implement policies aimed at eradicating malnutrition and transforming food systems to make nutritious diets available to all. The conference confirmed the importance of fish and seafood as a source of nutrition and health for many coastal communities that depend on their proteins and essential micronutrients, in particular for women of child-bearing age and young children” [15].

However this FAO optimism must be qualified by the declining marine catch trajectory ([1], Figure 1, panel c ), the over-fishing of particular major species [16], and the continuing devastation through global warming and sea acidification of coral reefs that represent major ecosystems in marine biodiversity [3, 17]. Thus the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) states: “More than 85 percent of the world’s fisheries have been pushed to or beyond their biological limits and are in need of strict management plans to restore them. Several important commercial fish populations (such as Atlantic bluefin tuna) have declined to the point where their survival as a species is threatened. Target fishing of top predators, such as tuna and groupers, is changing marine communities, which lead to an abundance of smaller marine species, such as sardines and anchovies. Many fishers are aware of the need to safeguard fish populations and the marine environment, however illegal fishing and other regulatory problems still exist. WWF works with stakeholders to reform fisheries management globally, focusing on sustainable practices that conserve ecosystems, but also sustain livelihoods and ensure food security” [16].

Leading coral experts have warned: “Temperature-induced mass coral bleaching causing mortality on a wide geographic scale started when atmospheric CO2 levels exceeded 320 ppm. When CO2 levels reached 340 ppm, sporadic but highly destructive mass bleaching occurred in most reefs world-wide, often associated with El Niño events. Recovery was dependent on the vulnerability of individual reef areas and on the reef’s previous history and resilience. At today’s level of 387 ppm [405 ppm CO2 in 2017], allowing a lag-time of 10 years for sea temperatures to respond, most reefs world-wide are committed to an irreversible decline. Mass bleaching will in future become annual, departing from the 4 to 7 years return-time of El Niño events. Bleaching will be exacerbated by the effects of degraded water-quality and increased severe weather events. In addition, the progressive onset of ocean acidification will cause reduction of coral growth and retardation of the growth of high magnesium calcite-secreting coralline algae” [17]. Statement by the technical working group on coral, The Royal Society on 6th July 2009: “The Earth’s atmospheric CO2 level must be returned to less than 350ppm to reverse this escalating ecological crisis and to 320ppm to ensure permanent planetary health. Actions to achieve this must be taken urgently. The commonly mooted best case target of 450ppm and a time frame reaching to 2050 will plunge the Earth into an environmental state that has not occurred in millions of years and from which there will be no recovery for coral reefs and for many other natural systems on which humanity depends. Working group signatories Professor John Veron (Coral Reef Research), Dr Mary Stafford-Smith (Coral Reef Research), Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (University of Queensland) [and 20 other eminent scientists]” [18].

(d) Dead zones increasing: 364 affected regions in 1992, 651 in 2016 and 1,044 in 2020.  According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): “Less oxygen dissolved in the water is often referred to as a “dead zone” because most marine life either dies, or, if they are mobile such as fish, leave the area. Habitats that would normally be teeming with life become, essentially, biological deserts. Hypoxic zones [less than 2 ppm oxygen] can occur naturally, but scientists are concerned about the areas created or enhanced by human activity. There are many physical, chemical, and biological factors that combine to create dead zones, but nutrient pollution is the primary cause of those zones created by humans. Excess nutrients that run off land or are piped as wastewater into rivers and coasts can stimulate an overgrowth of algae, which then sinks and decomposes in the water. The decomposition process consumes oxygen and depletes the supply available to healthy marine life” [19]. The size of dead zones ranges from 1 square kilometre to 70,000 square kilometers with the major dead zone regions including the US East Coast, the US Gulf of Mexico Coast, the US West Coast, and the coasts of East Asia and North West Europe [20].   These dead zones encompass complex ecosystems of the littoral zones (from the continental shelf to the shore high tide) that are crucial for much of Humanity. Each dead zone represents effectively complete ecocide and speciescide. We cannot destroy what we cannot replace. A reduction ad absurdum: it is unthinkable that urban authorities  would totally desertify New York’s Central Park or London’s Hyde Park and turn them into lifeless parking lots.

(e) Total forest area declining from 4.11 million ha in 1992 to 3.99 million in 2016 and 3.92 million in 2040.  These statistics represent net forest area and include commercial forest monocultures (e.g. pine or oil palm plantations)  replacing ecologically complex old growth tropical and temperate forests in a continuing process of ecoloogical vandalism for which worlds fail – this secular Humanist must resort to describing it as “blasphemy”.  We cannot destroy what we cannot replace. The timber and soil of forests represent a significant carbon store. Thus the temperate Eucalyptus forests of South East Australia constitute the best forest carbon sink in the world. Thus Keith et al: “From analysis of published global site biomass data (n = 136) from primary forests, we discovered (i) the world’s highest known total biomass carbon density (living plus dead) of 1,867 tonnes carbon per ha (average value from 13 sites) occurs in Australian temperate moist Eucalyptus regnans forests [22].

Biochar is the charcoal ( i.e. carbon, C) derived from the anaerobic (minus oxygen) heating of cellulosic waste to about 400-700C. The maximum amount of agricultural and forest waste that could be used to generate biochar is about 12 Gt carbon per year, similar to the annual industrial pollution of 9 Gt carbon  [3]. This represents one of the major ways of reducing  the atmospheric  CO2 from the present circa 405 ppm (and increasing at a record 3 ppm CO2 per year) to a safe and sustainable circa 300 ppm CO2 that had obtained until the last century for about 1 million years (as advocated by 300.org [24, 25] as compared to the politically pragmatic but insufficient 350 ppm CO2 advocated by 350.org [26] ). Returning atmospheric CO2 from the current 405 ppm CO2 to a safe and sustainable, pre-Industrial  Revolution level of circa 300 ppm CO2  could be done by converting 1/4 of the atmospheric  CO2 (1/4 of 2,800 billion tonnes  CO2 = 700  billion tonnes CO2)  to cellulosic  biomass (woody  and straw waste) by photosynthesis and thence converting biomass to biochar (carbon, charcoal) through anaerobic pyrolysis. At a damage-related Carbon Price of $200 per tonne CO2-equivalent  [27]  this would cost $200 per tonne CO2-equivalent  x 0.7 trillion tonnes CO2-equivalent = $140 trillion (the World’s annual GDP is about $85 trillion).

Land use change to generate biofuels has been shown to generate a huge carbon debt [28, 29], noting that food to fuel conversion is obscene in a hungry world and can be described as Biofuel Genocide. Considering the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of methane on a 20 year time frame, World Bank analysts have re-estimated the impact of methanogenic livestock and attendant  land use (notably deforestation) on annual greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution which was corrected upwards from 42 Gt CO2-equivalent to 64 Gt CO2-equivalent, with livestock and attendant land use contributing over half of the revised estimate [30].  Annual per capita GHG pollution has been similarly revised on this basis, with deforestation contributing to the worst national offenders in terms  of annual per capita GHG pollution (tonnes CO2-equivalent per person per year) being  Belize (366.9), Guyana (203.1), Malaysia (126.0), Papua New Guinea (114.7), Qatar (101.8), Zambia (97.5), Antigua & Barbuda (85.6), United Arab Emirates (82.4), Panama (68.0), Botswana (64.9), Liberia (55.0), Indonesia (53.6), New Zealand (53.2), Australia (52.9; 116 if including its huge GHG-generating  exports), Nicaragua (51.2), Canada (50.1), Equatorial Guinea (47.5), Venezuela (45.2), Brazil (43.4),  Myanmar (41.9), Ireland (41.4), United States (41.0), Cambodia (40.5), Kuwait (37.3), Paraguay (37.2), and Central African Republic (35.7) – as compared to  China (7.4), Bangladesh (2.7), Pakistan (2.5), and India (2.1) [31, 32].

(f) Vertebrate species abundance decline from 65% of the 1970 level in 1992 to 44% in 2016 and 16% in 2040. This is a shocking trajectory and reflects the estimation that the extinction rate is now 100 to 1,000 times greater  than normal [33]. As succinctly summarized  by the 2017  “World scientists’ warning to Humanity: a second notice”: “We have unleashed a mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years, wherein many current life forms could be annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century” [1]. This is massive ecocide and speciescide leading to terracide (Biosphere and biodiversity destruction) that has resulted  the present man-dominated era being described as the Anthropocene. One can only endlessly repeat that we cannot destroy what we cannot replace, and further, that it is not ours to destroy.

(g) CO2 emissions increasing from 12.0 Gt CO2 per year in 1992 to 26.0 in 2016 to 51.1 in 2040. The highest annual average  atmospheric CO2 each year (it increases in the  Northern winter and decreases in the  Northern summer) has increased at an ever-increasing rate from 320 ppm CO2  in 1960 (increasing at 0.5 ppm CO2 per year) to 408 ppm CO2 in 2016 (increasing at 3.0 ppm CO2 per year). In 2017 the maximum CO2 at the Mauna Loa Observatory was 410 ppm CO2 [34]. A profit-driven world has been simply ignoring a quarter century of pleas from the world’s scientists.

The Historical Carbon Debt (or Carbon Debt) of a country can be measured by the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) it has introduced into the atmosphere since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-18th century. Thus the total Carbon Debt of the world from 1751-2016 is about 1,850 billion tonnes CO2. Assuming a damage-related Carbon Price of US$200 per tonne CO2-equivalent [27],   this corresponds  to a Carbon Debt of $370 trillion, similar to the total wealth of the world and about 4.5 times the world’s total annual GDP. The world has a Carbon Debt of $370 trillion that is increasing at $13 trillion per year,  and Australia has a Carbon Debt of $7.5 trillion (A$10 trillion) that is increasing at $400 billion (A$533 billion) per year and at $40,000 (A$53,000) per head per year for under-30 year old Australians [35]. Unlike conventional debt that can be expunged by default, bankruptcy, or printing money,   Carbon Debt is inescapable  (e.g. with a world facing a circa 1 metre sea level rise this century, cities will drown if sea walls are not built). Carbon Debt  involves immense climate criminality, intergenerational inequity and intergenerational injustice [36, 37]. If the young fully realized the awful extent of the worsening and inescapable Carbon Debt to be paid by future generations there would be a Climate Revolution [38].

It gets worse. Thus climate change is already killing an estimated 0.4 million people each year [39], although this may be a considerable under-estimate because climate change impacts the tropical and sub-tropical Developing World in which 17 million people die avoidably from deprivation each year [13]. Indeed carbon fuel burning is associated with toxic air pollutants (notably fine carbon  particulates and nitrogen oxides) that eventually kill about 7 million people each year [40]. Several leading climate scientists have estimated that only 0.5 billion people will survive this century if man-made climate change is not requisitely addressed, this predicting a Climate Genocide in which  10 billion people would perish this century at a average rate of 100 million per year [41].

However the trajectory gets even worse still if one considers the Methane Bomb of the Arctic tundra and Arctic Ocean sea bed [42]. The Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CH4 is 21 times that of CO2 on a 100 year time frame but is 105 times greater than that of CO2 on a 20 year time frame and taking atmospheric  aerosol  impacts into account [43]. Huge stores of CH4 as water-methane (H2O-CH4) clathrates  in the Arctic  tundra permafrost and on the Arctic Ocean sea bed may be released in coming decades due to global warming, with this release involving a disastrous positive feedback loop in which global warming causes CH4 release, thence more global warming and consequently even more CH4 release.  Atmospheric CH4 increased in 1983-1998 by up to 13 ppb (parts per billion) per year, increased much more slowly in the period 1999-2006 (up to 3 ppb per year, the 2001-2005 average being 0.5 ppb/year),  and has increased more rapidly from 2007 onwards, reaching 12.5 ppb per year in 2014.  Atmospheric CH4 increased  to 1,843 ppb CH4 in  December 2015 [44] as compared to a pre-Industrial Revolution level of 700 ppb CH4 [3].

Professor Peter Wadhams (professor of Ocean Physics, and Head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, 90-Nobel-Laureate University of Cambridge, UK)  and colleagues on the threat of 50Gt methane from East Siberian Arctic Shelf (2013): “Economic time bomb. As the amount of Arctic sea ice declines at an unprecedented rate, the thawing of offshore permafrost releases methane. A 50-gigatonne (Gt) reservoir of methane, stored in the form of hydrates, exists on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. It is likely to be emitted as the seabed warms, either steadily over 50 years or suddenly” [45]. However the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CH4 on a 20 year time frame and with aerosol impacts considered is 105 times that of CO2 [43, 46] .   The German WBGU (2009) and the Australian Climate Commission (2013) have estimated that no more than a Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget of 600 billion tonnes of CO2 can be emitted between 2010 and zero emissions in 2050 if the world is to have a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2C temperature  rise  [47, 48]. That Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget has now effectively been exceeded  [49]. However the 50 Gt (billion tonnes) CH4 in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is thus equivalent to 50 billion tonnes CH4 x 105 tonnes  CO2-equivalent/tonne CH4 = 5,250 billion tonnes CO2-e or about nine (9) times more than the world’s Terminal  Carbon Pollution Budget. We are doomed unless we can stop this Arctic CH4 release.

We have the extraordinary situation today of deadly Trump America  inaction over an worsening climate emergency and a worsening climate genocide as compared to a commitment to a long-term accrual cost of  $6 trillion for the endless War on Terror  – yet there are 400,000 climate change-related deaths globally annually (climate terrorism victims)  versus an average of 4 US deaths from political terrorism annually since 9-11 [51] . Similarly,  since 9-11 there have been 3 million US air pollution deaths (carbon terrorism) versus 60 US political terrorism deaths [52].

(h) Temperature change increase from +0.3oC in 1992 and +0.9 oC in 2016 to + 2.2 oC in 2040 on present trends. World governments have agreed that a + 2 oC temperature rise would be catastrophic. However it is now apparent that the + 2 oC  upper target for  average global surface temperature rise set at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference is now unavoidable.  Indeed cessation of coal burning is predicted to  cause a rapid temperature escalation as global cooling sulphate aerosols are rapidly eliminated from the atmosphere [53-55]. Thus earth scientist and paleoclimatologist  Dr Andrew Glikson: “There is little evidence that climate science had much to do with the outcomes of the Paris conference. The warming target of <1.5C has already been breached over the continents and a global ~2C temperature rise is only masked by the reflective albedo of transient sulphur aerosols [from coal burning]” [55]. For Island Nations and megadelta nations like Bangladesh the present plus 1C is already catastrophic due to more energetic tropical storms (hurricanes, cyclones), sea level rise and storm surges – the world is already experiencing \a worsening climate emergency and a worsening climate genocide [41].

(i) Human population increase from 5.5 billion individuals  in 1992 to 7.2 billion in 2016 and 10.3 billion in 2040. One notes that the UN Population Division estimates a population of 9.4 billion by 2040 and 9.8 billion by 2050 [56]. The huge and burgeoning world human population is at the core of the climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis. One must utterly condemn the terracidal idiocy of the Trump Administration and its moronic Racist Religious Right Republican (R4) supporters ,who are opposed to birth control and even birth control information in the Developing World. There is empirically supported hope that high female literacy, good education, good primary health care,  female empowerment and a modest increase in per capita income  in the Developing World will lead to zero population (ZPG) as is now observed in some European countries (notably Italy and Russia) [13].

(j) Ruminant livestock population  increase from 3.1 billion in 1992 and  3.8 billion in 2016 to 4.7 billion in 2040.  As detailed in section (e) above, methanogenic livestock and attendant land use contributes  to over 50% of the upwardly revised estimate (from 42 Gt CO2-equivalent) of 64 Gt CO2-equivalent for Humanity’s annual GHG pollution [30].  The most effective and quickest  single global  action  to decrease GHG pollution would be general  adoption of a vegetarian diet [57]. Further, meat eating is increasingly a huge indulgence in an increasingly hungry world. Thus the following conversion efficiencies (kg grain to produce 1 kg gain in live weight): herbivorous farmed fish (e.g. carp, tilapia, catfish; less than 2), chicken (2), pork (4), and beef (7) [58].

Annual per capita meat consumption (in kg per person per year) [59] very roughly correlates (with some notably exceptions such as of livestock-based but impoverished Mongolia and the fishing-rich but impoverished Island States of Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Samoa) with annual per capita income (in USD per person per year) (UN, 2014) [60] as seen with the following extremes of Antigua and Barbuda (84.3 kg per person per year, $13, 731 per person per year), Argentina (98.3, $12,645), Australia (111.5, $62,290), Austria (102, $51,296), and Bahamas (109.5, $22, 217) versus the impoverished  countries Sudan (19.1, $2,081), Tanzania (9.6, $952), Tajikistan (14.7, $1,114), Uganda (11, $727), Yemen (17.9, $1,418), and Zambia (12.3, $1,715) [57].

Urgently required actions.

The 15,364 scientists gently  offered 13 polite suggestions for transition to sustainability [1] that are summarized here in blunt language : (1) more land and sea wildlife reserves; (2) cease destruction of ecosystems; (3) restore native plant communities; (4) re-wild with native species, including apex predators; (5)  stop defaunation, poaching and trade in threatened species; (6) reduce presently huge food waste; (7) promote a mostly plant-based diet; (8) reduce fertility rates by education and voluntary family planning; (9) encourage appreciation of nature, especially by children;  (10) divestment and boycotts for environmental change;  (11) adopt renewable energy and green technologies while phasing out subsidies for fossil fuels; (12) reduce the presently massive wealth inequality and apply taxes etc that recognize the real environmental costs of consumption; and (13) estimate a scientifically defensible human population size [1].

To get our devastated and crippled  planet back to a sustainable state we must rapidly achieve  the following:

(1). Change of societal philosophy to one of scientific risk management,  biological sustainability and Indigenous People-informed respect for nature, with complete cessation of species extinctions and zero tolerance for lying, racism and warmongering. Terracidal neoliberalism (maximal freedom to exploit human and natural resources for personal profit) must be urgently supplanted by social humanism (socialism, eco-socialism) that seeks to sustainably  maximize human happiness, opportunity and dignity by evolving intra-national and international contracts. Deadly and corrupting wealth inequality must be addressed by annual wealth taxes and related measures. Free pre-school, primary, secondary and  tertiary education, free lifelong learning,  universal health care and a universal minimum income must underscore an entrenched love for fellow Humanity and the Biosphere.

(2). Urgent reduction of atmospheric CO2 to a safe level of about 300 ppm CO2 as recommended by leading climate and biological scientists with this involving re-afforestation,  return of carbon as biochar to soils and other processes to reduce atmospheric CO2 (e.g. Accelerated Weathering of Limestone) coupled with correspondingly rapid cessation of fossil fuel burning, deforestation, methanogenic livestock production and population growth.

(3). Rapid switch to the best non-carbon and renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, wave, tide and hydro options that are currently roughly the same market price as coal burning-based power) and to waste avoidance, energy efficiency, public transport, and needs-based production. These urgently required climate change actions will be assisted by rigorous application of a damage-related Carbon Price (ensuring  that the human and environmental cost of pollution is fully borne by polluters), divestment from fossil fuels, and intra-national and international judicial processes  to punish environmental vandals and climate criminals.

What must decent people do? Decent, science-informed people – and especially those of already climate change-devastated  Island Nations and mega-delta nations, and the young who are most threatened by climate change, climate injustice and intergenerational inequity  – must:

(a) inform everyone they can of the need to urgently reverse man-made climate change by a return to a safe and sustainable 300 ppm CO2,  this involving 100% renewable energy, vegetarianism, Indigenous People-informed love of nature,  and urgent cessation of fossil fuel burning, methanogenic land use, population growth, ecocide, speciescide, obscene wealth disparity, terracidal  neoliberalism and the Global Avoidable Mortality Holocaust in which 17 million people de avoidably from imposed deprivation every year;

(b) urge dumping of deadly, climate genocidal and terracidal neoliberalism by supporting the pro-equity, social humanist and Terraphile Greens and Socialists (e.g. an annual wealth tax to reverse deadly and corrupting wealth inequaliity, free education from pre-school to life-long learning,  universal health care and a universal minimum income);

(c) demand sidelining climate genocidal climate criminals from public life;

(d) demand national and international judicial trial and punishment of climate criminals and homicidally greedy neoliberals involving inescapable dispossession and custodial retribution with the same rigor as that  applied to murderers and robbers in civil society; and

(e) demand zero tolerance for climate criminals by urging and applying Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against all people, politicians, parties, countries, companies and corporations  disproportionately conspicuous in the War on Terra, the greed-driven, terracidal destruction of Humanity and  the Biosphere through unaddressed, man-made global warming.

The 15,364 scientists were correct in concluding that “Time is running out” for action on global warming and on rapidly vanishing biodiversity. Thus the species extinctions rate is presently 100-1,000 times greater than normal [33] and a catastrophic plus 2C temperature rise is now unavoidable [61-63]. However some societies and organizations have found that they can cut carbon emissions 80% by 2020 [64] or  achieve  100% renewable energy by 2020 [65].  Numerous organizations – churches, towns, states, colleges, universities and corporations  – have divested from fossil fuels [66]. We are obliged to do everything  we can to make the future “less bad” for our children and future generations.


[1]. William J. Ripple et al., 15,364 signatories from 184 countries, “World scientists’ warning to Humanity: a second notice”, Bioscience, 13 November 2017: https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/advance-article/doi/10.1093/biosci/bix125/4605229 .

[2]. “Montreal Protocol”, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_Protocol .

[3]. “2011 climate change course”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/2011-climate-change-course .

[4]. “Fresh water”, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fresh_water .

[5]. “List of countries by total renewable water resources”, Wkipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_total_renewable_water_resources .

[6]. “Population by country”, Wikipedia:

[7]. “The gap in water consumption between Palestinians and Israelis”, B’Tselem, 1 January 2011: http://www.btselem.org/gap-water-consumption-between-palestinians-and-israelis .

[8]. Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilians in Time of War: http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/92.htm .

[9]. “Muslim Holocaust Muslim Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/muslimholocaustmuslimgenocide/home .

[10]. “Palestinian Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/palestiniangenocide/ .

[11]. Gideon Polya, “Paris Atrocity Context: 27 Million Muslim Avoidable  Deaths From Imposed Deprivation In 20 Countries Violated By US Alliance Since 9-11”, Countercurrents, 22 November, 2015: https://countercurrents.org/polya221115.htm .

[12]. “Experts: US did 9-11”: https://sites.google.com/site/expertsusdid911/ .

[13]. “Gideon Polya, “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950”, including an avoidable mortality-related history of every country from Neolithic times and is now available for free perusal on the web : http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com.au/  .

[14]. Gideon Polya, “Planetary Salvation  Compromised By Activism Lite, Climate Lite, Anti-Apartheid Lite & Anti-War Lite Weakness”, Countercurrents, 15 November 2017: https://countercurrents.org/2017/11/15/planetary-salvation-compromised-by-activism-lite-climate-lite-anti-apartheid-lite-anti-war-lite-weakness/ .

[15]. “The state of the world fisheries and aquaculture. Contributing to food security and nutrition for all”, FAO, 2016: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i5555e.pdf .

[16]. “Overfishing”, WWF: https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/overfishing .

[17]. J.E.N. Veron, O. Hoegh-Guldberg, T.M. Lenton, J.M. Lough, D.O. Obura, P. Pearce-Kelly, C.R.C. Sheppard, M. Spalding, M.G. Stafford-Smith and A.D. Rogers, “The coral reef crisis: the critical importance of <350 ppm CO2”, Marine Pollution Bulletin, vol. 58, (10), October 2009, 1428-1436: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V6N-4X9NKG7-3&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1072337698&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=6858c5ff7172f9355068393496a5b35d .

[18]. Output of the technical working group meeting, The Royal Society, London, 6th July, 2009, “The Coral Reef Crisis: scientific justification for critical CO2 threshold levels of less than 350ppm”: http://static.zsl.org/files/statement-of-the-coral-reef-crisis-working-group-890.pdf  .

[19]. “What is a dead zone?”, NOAA: https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/deadzone.html .

[20]. “Dead zone (ecology)”, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_zone_(ecology) .

[21]. Monica Bruckner, “The Gulf of Mexico dead zone”, Microbial Life: https://serc.carleton.edu/microbelife/topics/deadzone/index.html .

[22]. Heather Keith, Brendan G. Mackey and David B. Lindenmayer, “Re-evaluation of forest biomass carbon stocks and lessons from the world’s most carbon-dense forests”, Proc. Nat, Acad. Sci, USA, 106 (28) 11635–11640: http://www.pnas.org/content/106/28/11635.full .

[23]. Gideon Polya, “Forest biomass-derived Biochar can profitably reduce global warming and bushfire risk”, Yarra Valley Climate Action Group: http://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/forest-biomass-derived-biochar-can-profitably-reduce-global-warming-and-bushfire-risk .

[24]. 300.org: . https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org .

[25]. “300.org – return atmosphere CO2 to 300 ppm”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org—return-atmosphere-co2-to-300-ppm .

[26]. 350.org: https://350.org/ .

[27]. Chris Hope, “How high should climate change taxes be?”, Working Paper Series, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, 9.2011: http://www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/fileadmin/user_upload/research/workingpapers/wp1109.pdf  .

[28]. Timothy Searchinger et al., “Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land-Use Change”, Science 29 February 2008, Vol. 319. no. 5867, pp. 1238 – 1240: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1151861 .

[29]. Joseph Fargione and colleagues (“Land Clearing and the Biofuel Carbon Debt”, Science 29 February 2008, Vol. 319. no. 5867, pp. 1235 – 1238: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1152747 .

[30]. Robert Goodland and Jeff Anfang. “Livestock and climate change. What if the key actors in climate change are … cows, pigs and chickens?”, World Watch, November/December 2009: http://www.worldwatch.org/files/pdf/Livestock%20and%20Climate%20Change.pdf .

[31]. Gideon Polya, “Revised Annual Per Capita Greenhouse Gas Pollution For All Countries – What Is Your Country Doing?”, Countercurrents, 6 January, 2016: https://countercurrents.org/polya060116.htm .

[32]. Gideon Polya, “Exposing And Thence Punishing Worst Polluter Nations Via Weighted Annual Per Capita Greenhouse Gas Pollution Scores”, Countercurrents, 19 March, 2016: https://countercurrents.org/polya190316.htm .

[33].  Phillip Levin, Donald Levin, “The real biodiversity crisis”, American Scientist, January-February 2002: http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/the-real-biodiversity-crisis .

[34]. NOAA, “Trends in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration”: https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/index.html .

[35]. “Carbon Debt Carbon Credit”: https://sites.google.com/site/carbondebtcarboncredit/ .

[36]. “Climate Justice & Intergenerational Equity”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/climate-justice .

[37]. “Stop climate crime”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/stop-climate-crime .

[38]. “Climate Revolution Now”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/climate-revolution .

[39]. DARA, “Climate Vulnerability Monitor. A guide to the cold calculus of a hot planet”, 2012, Executive Summary pp2-3: http://daraint.org/climate-vulnerability-monitor/climate-vulnerability-monitor-2012/

[40]. “Stop air pollution deaths”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/stop-air-pollution-deaths .

[41]. “Climate Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/climategenocide/ .

[42]. “Methane Bomb Threat”: https://sites.google.com/site/methanebombthreat/ .

[43].    Drew T. Shindell , Greg Faluvegi, Dorothy M. Koch ,   Gavin A. Schmidt ,   Nadine Unger and Susanne E. Bauer , “Improved Attribution of Climate Forcing to Emissions”, Science, 30 October 2009: Vol. 326 no. 5953 pp. 716-718: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/326/5953/716  .

[44]. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Trends in atmospheric methane”: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends_ch4/index.html .

[45]. Gail Whiteman, Chris Hope and Peter Wadhams, “Vast costs of Arctic change”, Nature, 499, 25 July 2013: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v499/n7459/pdf/499401a.pdf  and http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v499/n7459/full/499401a.html  .

[46]. “Gas is not clean energy”: https://sites.google.com/site/gasisnotcleanenergy/ .

[47]. WBGU, “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach”: http://www.ecoequity.org/2009/10/solving-the-climate-dilemma-the-budget-approach/

[48]. Australian Climate Commission, “The critical decade 2013: a summary of climate change science, risks and responses”, 2013, p7: http://climatecommission.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/The-Critical-Decade-2013-Summary_lowres.pdf  .

[49]. Gideon Polya, “Australia ‘s Huge Coal, Gas & Iron Ore Exports Threaten Planet”, Countercurrents, 15 May 2012: https://countercurrents.org/polya150512.htm .

[50]. Gideon Polya, “Country By Country Analysis Of Years Left Until Science-demanded Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions”, Countercurrents, 11 June 2011: https://countercurrents.org/polya110611.htm .

[51]. “Climate terrorism: 400,000 climate change-related deaths globally annually versus an average of 4 US deaths from political terrorism annually since 9-11”: https://sites.google.com/site/statecrimeandnonstateterrorism/climate-terrorism .

[52]. “Carbon terrorism: 3 million US air pollution deaths versus 53 US political terrorism deaths since 9-11 (2001-2015)”: https://sites.google.com/site/statecrimeandnonstateterrorism/carbon-terrorism .

[53]. Andrew Glikson, “We may survive the Anthropocene, but need to avoid a radioactive “Plutocene””, The Conversation, 28 September 2017:  https://theconversation.com/we-may-survive-the-anthropocene-but-need-to-avoid-a-radioactive-plutocene-84763 .

[54]. Andrew Glikson, “The Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropcene Greenhouse Earth”, Springer, 2017.

[55]. Andrew Glikson, “Global heating and the dilemma of climate scientists”, The Drum, 29 January 2016: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-29/glikson-the-dilemma-of-a-climate-scientist/7123246 .

[56]. UN Population Division, 2017 Revision of World Population Prospects”: https://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/  .

[57]. Gideon Polya , “Worsening Climate Emergency And Record CO2 Emissions Demand Vegetarian Diet For All To Help Save Planet”, Countercurrents, 20 June, 2016: https://countercurrents.org/polya200616.htm .

[58]. Gideon Polya, “Biofuel famine, biofuel genocide, meat & global food price crisis”, Global avoidable mortality: http://globalavoidablemortality.blogspot.com.au/2008/05/biofuel-famine-biofuel-genocide-meat.html .

[59].  Current worldwide annual meat consumption per capita”,  ChartsBin:  http://chartsbin.com/view/12730 .

[60]. “List of countries by GDP (nominal) per capita”, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)_per_capita .

[61]. “Are we doomed?”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/are-we-doomed .

[62]. “Nuclear weapons ban, end poverty and reverse climate change”: https://sites.google.com/site/drgideonpolya/nuclear-weapons-ban .

[63]. “Too late to avoid global warming catastrophe”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/too-late-to-avoid-global-warming .

[64]. “Cut carbon emissions 80% by 2020”: https://sites.google.com/site/cutcarbonemissions80by2020/ .

[65]. “100% renewable energy by 2020”: https://sites.google.com/site/100renewableenergyby2020/ .

[66]. “Divest from fossil fuels”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/divest-from-fossil-fuels .

Dr Gideon Polya taught science students at a major Australian university for 4 decades. He published some 130 works in a 5 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text “Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds” (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London , 2003). He has published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/ ); see also his contributions “Australian complicity in Iraq mass mortality” in “Lies, Deep Fries & Statistics” (edited by Robyn Williams, ABC Books, Sydney, 2007: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/ockhamsrazor/australian-complicity-in-iraq-mass-mortality/3369002#transcript

) and “Ongoing Palestinian Genocide” in “The Plight of the Palestinians (edited by William Cook, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2010: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/4047-the-plight-of-the-palestinians.html ). He has published a revised and updated 2008 version of his 1998 book “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History” (see: http://janeaustenand.blogspot.com/  ) as biofuel-, globalization- and climate-driven global food price increases threaten a greater famine catastrophe than the man-made famine in British-ruled India that killed 6-7 million Indians in the “forgotten” World War 2 Bengal Famine (see recent BBC broadcast involving Dr Polya, Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen and others: http://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/history/social-economic-history/listen-the-bengal-famine  ;  Gideon Polya: https://sites.google.com/site/drgideonpolya/home  ; Gideon Polya Writing: https://sites.google.com/site/gideonpolyawriting/ ; Gideon Polya, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gideon_Polya ) . When words fail one can say it in pictures – for images of Gideon Polya’s huge paintings for the Planet, Peace, Mother and Child see: http://sites.google.com/site/artforpeaceplanetmotherchild/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/gideonpolya/ .


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