Humans have pushed the Earth over boundaries, according to ‘health check for planet’ Yesterday, 6:55 PM in Abroad Of the nine planetary boundaries that scientists have designated, six have been crossed, according to research published in the journal Science Advances.

- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_img

NOS NewsAmended
  • Sven Schaap

    editor Online

  • Sven Schaap

    editor Online

The Earth is currently under so much pressure that the planet has ended up “well outside the safe space for humanity”. Researchers warn about this in a new article in the scientific journal Science Advances. This threatens to endanger the stability that life on Earth has known for 10,000 years – since the last ice age.

The scientists build on research from 2009 into the so-called ‘planetary boundaries’. Nine boundaries have been identified: global warming, biodiversity loss, the nitrogen/phosphorus cycle, the ozone hole, ocean acidification, water scarcity, land use, chemical pollution and particulate matter in the atmosphere.

As long as humans remain within those planetary boundaries, the Earth can solve the burden itself and the system is relatively stable. The idea is that as soon as the planetary boundaries are crossed, the stability in which humans have been able to develop themselves for millennia is in danger.

Health check for planet

Lead author Katherine Richardson compares the Earth to a body and crossing boundaries to having high blood pressure: “You are not immediately certain of a heart attack, but the risk does increase.”

The researchers speak of “the first health check for the entire planet”. Of the nine limits, only three have not been exceeded, the study shows. The climate is disturbed, the loss of biodiversity is much greater than acceptable and there is too much chemical pollution and deforestation.

Only ocean acidification is still within planetary limits, as are air pollution and the depletion of the ozone layer. The limit for climate change was already crossed in the late 1980s, the researchers conclude. But the limits of air pollution and ocean acidification have also almost been reached.

The green circle is the part that falls within the planetary boundaries, everything outside the boundaries exceeds the boundaries:

“These boundaries determine the fate of the planet,” says one of the authors, Johan Rockström, the director of the Institute for Climate Impact Research in Potsdam (PIK). “We are in really bad shape.” Rockström and his team see particular benefit in returning forests to the level of the early twentieth century. These can then store the CO2 that now ends up in the air and is therefore an important cause of global warming.

The researchers also argue for more attention to declining biodiversity – the variety of life forms such as plants and animals – in addition to the great attention to the climate crisis. “Biodiversity is fundamental to maintaining the carbon and water cycle.”

Alarming study

Professor of global environmental changes Detlef van Vuuren of Utrecht University and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency speaks of an alarming study. “We are in a situation where we are dealing with multiple environmental crises at the same time. The climate is one of them, and we have seen in various places this summer what consequences this can have in the form of weather extremes. We are currently Our production and consumption put too much pressure on the planet.”

According to Van Vuuren, the study is in the same tradition as that of the Club of Rome, which tried to indicate the limits of economic growth in the 1970s in the influential report Limits to Growth. “At the time, they were the first to indicate that things will go wrong if you put too much pressure on our planet’s ability to process our pollution and waste. There was also a response to that, but not enough. Netto has been Rome’s global environmental burden has increased.”

Sick, but not incurable

Following this latest study, he once again calls for research into solutions. “We now know that we are in a global environmental crisis. We now have to see whether we can outline paths that will allow us to stay within planetary boundaries again.”

In that context, he points to the amount of knowledge that exists about the climate: “We know that we need a change in society for this: less energy use, a different energy system, changes in transport, industry and agriculture. That will take time, but in the optimistic scenarios you could have achieved that globally by 2050.”

The scientist is not necessarily negative. “It can be reversed. I have said it before: the patient is ill, but not incurable. We know from all kinds of explorations that with a combination of technology and a change in behavior we can significantly reduce the scale of the problem. Less consumption and a different diet can have many positive effects.”

  • Warm ocean and missing sea ice are causing great surprise among scientists
  • Heat waves in southern Europe would be ‘virtually impossible’ without climate change
  • Partridge project does not bring more partridges, but it does bring more biodiversity
  • Abroad

Share article:

- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_img
Latest news
- Advertisement -spot_img
Related news
- Advertisement -spot_img