Apocalypse now: Combined impacts of rising temperatures, dwindling food supplies and biodiversity loss could trigger 'global systemic collapse', scientists warn

There is not an ounce of sense in this.  A warmer planet would produce MORE food.  A warmer planet would make vast new areas of Northern Canada and Siberia available to grow crops.  And crops everywhere would grow better with more CO2 in the atmosphere

And warm climates have MORE biodiversity. Life just leaps out at you in the tropics.  Warmth is the last thing that would be bad for biodiversity

And there would be MORE rain, not "dwindling sources of fresh water". The earth's surface is two thirds water and warmer oceans would evaporate off more water vapour -- which is where rain comes fro.

It is so tedious that I have to keep repeating the obvious. These people are just con-men who are ignoring the most basic physics

Overlapping environmental crises could tip the planet into a ‘global systemic collapse’, more than 200 global scientists have warned.

Climate change, biodiversity loss, dwindling sources of fresh water and food, and extreme weather events from hurricanes to heatwaves will provide a monumental challenge to humanity in the 21st century.

Out of 30 global-scale risks, these five topped the list both in terms of likelihood and impact, according to scientists surveyed by Future Earth, an international research organisation.

The report, published on Thursday, called on the world’s academics, business leaders and policymakers to ‘pay urgent attention’ to the five risks and consider them as interlinked.  

In combination, they ‘have the potential to impact and amplify one another in ways that might cascade to create global systemic collapse,' a team led by Maria Ivanova, a professor at the Center for Governance and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts, said in a 50-page report.

‘Humanity is at a critical stage in the transition to a more sustainable planet and society,’ said Amy Luers, executive director of Future Earth.

‘Our actions in the next decade will determine our collective future on Earth.

Of the five main issues, extreme heat waves are speeding global warming by releasing planet-warming gases from natural sources.

While Europe had its third-warmest and Asia its fourth warmest October on record, dry and warm conditions in Australia caused intense bushires this season that killed an estimated 1 billion animals in the country.

Australia's bushfires and fires in the Amazon region in 2019 were partly caused by climate change, the report says, as warmer air pulls moisture out of vegetation, creating drier fuel and feeding wind to fan flames. 

In the Arctic region, meanwhile, the last five years have been the warmest on record, melting sea ice and affecting wildlife, fisheries and local communities.

But the greater the warming, the greater the anticipated impacts of heatwaves in cities as well, mainly in places of high urbanisation rates, poverty and marginalisation in South East Asia and Latin America.

‘A warmer world has higher risks of flooding, landslides, fire and infectious and parasitic disease,' the report says.

Biodiversity loss, meanwhile, weakens the capacity of natural and agricultural systems to cope with climate extremes, also putting food supplies at risk.

Elsewhere in the report, the authors highlight the undernourishment in impoverished parts of the world compared with the obesity crisis in developed countries.

‘The amount of food produced per person on the planet has gone up by more than 40 per cent since the 1960s,’ it says.

Yet the prevalence of undernourishment has started to go up again – the total number of people undernourished in 2018 stood at more than 820 million people, up from a record low of 785 million in 2015.

At the same time, some 1.9 billion people are overweight and 650 million are obese – highlighting a discrepancy in food security.

The world needs to feed an estimated 9 billion people on a planet with diminished natural resources.

But strains on food production are expected to increase caused by changing climate and environments, the report says – once again highlighting how the top five global-scale risks are closely related.


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