Scientific American declares ‘Climate Emergency’

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FILE – In this July 30, 2014, photo is Margerie Glacier, one of many glaciers that make up Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park. U.S. officials on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, released details on proposed land conservation purchases for the coming year amid bipartisan objection to restrictions on how the government’s money can be spent. (AP Photo/Kathy Matheson, File)

“Journalism should reflect what science says: the climate emergency is here.” This is according to one of the oldest, continuously published magazines in the United States, Scientific American. For 175 years, Scientific American has been a popular science magazine that has published work from hundreds of scientists including Albert Einstein.

This esteemed publication powerhouse announced on Monday that it would join other scientific media outlets around the world and stop using the term “climate change” and start using “climate emergency” instead.

Scientific American joins Columbia Journalism Review, the Nation, the Guardian, Noticias Telemundo, Al Jazeera, Japan’s Asahi Shimbun and Italy’s La Repubblica among others in its decision.

Referencing recent meteorological catastrophes, including the Texas winter storm back in February, as its reasoning behind the move: “A hurricane blasts Florida. A California dam bursts because floods have piled water high up behind it. A sudden, record-setting cold snap cuts power to the entire state of Texas. These are also emergencies that require immediate action. Multiply these situations worldwide, and you have the biggest environmental emergency to beset the earth in millennia: climate change”.

Additionally, just last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that despite the decline in global travel and economic activity due to covid-19, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses continued to rise to levels never seen before.

Scientific American’s declaration comes at a time when 1,859 jurisdictions (including the Austin City Council and Travis County) in 33 countries have issued climate emergency declarations covering more than 820 million people.

According to an article by Yahoo! News, “If global warming isn’t dramatically slowed and global average temperatures do rise by 7.2 degrees (4 degrees Celsius), over one-third of the entire Antarctic ice shelf will be at risk of collapse, said a second study conducted by researchers at the University of Reading, submerging whole countries and states like Florida and setting off the largest migration in human history. 

But sea level rise is just one of several threats facing mankind if global temperatures continue to rise, as the statement from Scientific American and the other media outlets made clear. 

“Failure to slash the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will make the extraordinary heat, storms, wildfires and ice melt of 2020 routine and could ‘render a significant portion of the Earth uninhabitable,'” the statement said, quoting from an article in, where else, Scientific American

You can find Scientific American’s full declaration here.

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