FIVE global risks threatening Earth at the same time could lead to a “global systemic collapse”, scientists have warned.
A survey involving 200 scientists has revealed that Earth’s future could be hanging in the balance due to factors such as climate change and decreasing wildlife.
The damning report has been published by Future Earth.
It states that climate change, biodiversity loss, rapidly reducing sources of fresh food and water, and extreme weather events could combine together and leave human facing an apocalyptic crisis in the 21st century.
The report makers are now calling on academics, world leaders and policymakers to “pay urgent attention” to these risks.
They think each risk needs to be tackled individually before its too late.
The research team, led by Professor Maria Invanova from the Center for Governance and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts, put together a 50 page report on the topic.
They identified the five previously mentioned risks as the most deadly because combined they “‘have the potential to impact and amplify one another in ways that might cascade to create global systemic collapse.”
Executive director of Future Earth, Amy Luers, said: “Humanity is at a critical stage in the transition to a more sustainable planet and society.
“Our actions in the next decade will determine our collective future on Earth. 2020 is a critical time to look at these issues.”
An example of the risks exacerbating each other includes the fact extreme weather events like heatwaves are speeding up global warming but these extreme weather events are also linked to climate change.
Australia’s bushfires are just one current example of extreme weather and heat caused partially by climate change that led to biodiversity loss by killing a staggering one billion animals.
The researchers noted that “humans are now the main driver behind planetary change”.
They highlighted drastic events all over the world, including in the Arctic which saw sea ice melt to its second lowest extent in the 40-year satellite record just last year.
The past five years in the Arctic region have been the warmest on record.
Melting land ice is contributing to sea level rise which could ultimately see more flooding and the complete loss of coastal regions.
Negative impacts on urbanised areas and increased poverty was also highlighted.
The researchers wrote: “A warmer world has higher risks of flooding, landslides, fire and infectious and parasitic disease.”
They also compared the obesity crisis with the famine occurring in other parts of the world and revealed that strains on food production are set to increase so this divide may grow even further.
This year will see many international talks and meetings regarding climate change were decisions about the future will hopefully be made.
A major world leader conference is happening in China in 2020 to discuss how to safeguard nature.
The UK will also be hosting a crucial UN summit, referred to as COP26, in Glasgow in November.
Climate change explained
Here are the basic facts…
- Scientists have lots of evidence to show that the Earth’s climate is rapidly changing due to human activity
- Climate change will result in problems like global warming, greater risk of flooding, droughts and regular heatwaves
- Each of the last three decades have been hotter than the previous one and 17 of the 18 warmest years on record have happened during the 21st century
- The Earth only needs to increase by a few degrees for it to spell disaster
- The oceans are already warming, polar ice and glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising and we’re seeing more extreme weather events
- In 2015, almost all of the world’s nations signed a deal called the Paris Agreement which set out ways in which they could tackle climate change and try to keep temperatures below 2C
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And, here’s how Antarctica’s ‘Doomsday Glacier’ Thwaites could collapse and send sea levels soaring.
What are your thoughts on this ‘global systemic collapse’ warning? Let us know in the comments…
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