Climate change is a planetary emergency – how can we avert disaster?
- The Earth has coped relatively well with emissions so far.
- But ‘tipping points’ are being reached.
- Read the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report
(World Economic Forum) While politics continue to cripple efforts to fight the planetary emergency, the science remains as unequivocal and irrefutable as ever.
We have already crossed a number of ‘tipping points’ in the Earth system; vital thresholds beyond which irreversible and catastrophic consequences for all life on this planet will ensue. The impacts of climate change and ecological destruction are more severe and are manifesting themselves earlier than many scientific predictions in previous decades had foreseen. Without major interventions, the risks will soon reach a critical stage.
For 10,000 years, human civilisation has grown and thrived because of the Earth’s remarkable climate stability and rich biological diversity. Astonishingly, every year since the Industrial Revolution, land-based and ocean ecosystems have absorbed close to half of all our emissions from fossil-fuel burning. That’s because the climate, and the natural ecosystems which regulate it and all life on earth, are inextricably linked. In fact, species diversity and ecosystems integrity play a fundamental role in regulating the climate, water cycles, carbon sequestration and food production. Without nature’s ability to absorb and store our GHG emissions, we would have already exceeded 2°C of warming, with potentially disastrous consequences decades ago.
Read more at: World Economic Forum