In a presentation titled "Leading the Charge through Earth’s New Normal" during the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, so-called climate experts declared that the world is facing a "planetary crisis" in the form of climate change.
"Dear friends, scientifically this is not a climate crisis. We are now facing something deeper. Mass extinction, air pollution undermining ecosystem functions, really putting humanity’s future at risk. This is a planetary crisis," said Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research Director Johan Rockstrom.
"This is a safety crisis. But above all, it is also a justice crisis. Many areas of the world are uninhabitable. This uninhabitable zone is increasing. if we continue with our greenhouse gas emissions, then by 2070 as many as 3 billion people will live in uninhabitable zones," added Joyeeta Gupta, professor of environment and development in the global south at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research of the University of Amsterdam.
"We’re taking colossal risks with the future of civilization on earth. We’re degrading life support systems that we all depend on. We’re actually pushing the entire Earth system to a point of destabilization. Pushing the Earth outside of the state that has supported civilization since we left the last ice age 10,000 years ago," said Rockstrom.
Rockstrom that this requires a "transformation to safe and just Earth system boundaries for the whole world economy."
He said 16 "tipping elements," systems across the globe including ocean circulation and rainforests, that "regulate the state of the entire climate system on Earth." Nine of these 16, he said, are "showing signs of instability."
A panel of world leaders and tech executives weighed in on these issues, with Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, saying, "we have to all make a commitment, we have to have intentionality, we have to decide what do we really want, we have to know we want to be a net zero planet, we want to be a net zero world, and we also want to be nature positive."
"I think the evidence is crystal clear that it’s two things: it’s reduce emissions, number one, but it’s also restore our ecosystems and protect them, conserve them, and restore them, number two," he added.
Andrew Forrest, Executive Chairman of Fortescue Metals Group, said that "the pandemic I saw was a horrible acceptance that we couldn’t do anything about global warming. We literally as a human population that’s a ecosystem of animals have to suck up a three percent rise in temperature. Like Covid, that pandemic’s not completely over either. I’ve been to meetings where I’ve heard scientists and others argue that we may have to get used to two percent. I can tell you as a scientist that’s an absolute disaster."
Former US Vice President Al Gore said that "People are familiar with that thin blue line that the astronauts bring back in their pictures from space, that’s the part of the atmosphere that has oxygen, the troposphere, and it’s only five to seven kilometers thick. That’s what we're using as an open sewer."
As Earth faces a so-called "planetary crisis," leaders attending the conference have traveled near and far to be in Davos by private jet, a mode of transportation called out by climate groups.
A study from Greenpeace International found that in 2022, 1040 private jets were recorded arriving and departing from seven airstrips near Davos, according to Fox News. This was an uptick of around 500 flights.
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