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Earth Needs Fewer People to Beat the Climate Crisis, Scientists Say

While warnings about the consequences of unchecked climate change have become so commonplace as to inure the average news consumer, this latest communique is exceptionally significant given the data that accompanies it.

When absorbed in sequence, the charts lay out a devastating trend for planetary health. From meat consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and ice loss to sea-level rise and extreme weather events, they lay out a grim portrait of 40 years of squandered opportunities.

The scientists make specific calls for policymakers to quickly implement systemic change to energy, food, and economic policies. But they go one step further, into the politically fraught territory of population control. It “must be stabilized—and, ideally, gradually reduced—within a framework that ensures social integrity,” they write.

The problem is enormous, yet the signatories still manage to strike an upbeat tone. For all the lost chances, progress is being made, they contend.

“We are encouraged by a recent surge of concern,” the letter states. “Governmental bodies are making climate emergency declarations. Schoolchildren 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.”

The report, however, comes one day after U.S. President Donald Trump began the formal procedure of withdrawing America from the Paris climate accord.

To contact the author of this story: Eric Roston in New York at eroston@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Petri at jpetri4@bloomberg.net, David Rovella

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