The United Nations says the world is on the brink of an environmental tipping point



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SINGAPORE, Oct 25 (Reuters) – The world is headed for a series of environmental “tipping points” that could cause irreparable damage to water supplies and other life-support systems, the United Nations’ research arm said on Wednesday. warned.

Climate change and overuse of resources are putting the world on the brink of six interconnected tipping points that “could cause abrupt changes in our life support systems and shake the foundations of our societies,” the United Nations says. says the University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU). -EHS) said.

“Once these thresholds are crossed, the system ceases to function normally, creating a cascade of new risks that can be transferred to other systems,” the paper says. said lead author Jack O’Connor, a United Nations University EHS researcher. report.

“We should expect this to happen because it’s already happening in certain areas.”

The ‘Interrelated Disaster Risks’ report, released ahead of next month’s COP28 climate change conference, identifies accelerating extinctions, groundwater depletion, melting glaciers and extreme heat as key interconnected threats. It was done.

The report said one million plants and animals could become extinct “within decades,” and the loss of key species would “trigger cascading extinctions of dependent species” and increase the likelihood of ecosystem collapse. I warned you.

Many of the world’s largest aquifers are already being depleted faster than they can be replenished, and Saudi Arabia, India and the United States already face significant risks. Runoff from melting glaciers is also expected to decrease.

“Due to the drought, the heat is extracting more groundwater,” said Caitlin Eberle, the other lead author. “Many of the glaciers in the Rocky Mountains, Himalayas, and Andes feed into these rivers and groundwater systems, so when these glaciers disappear, there will be less water available.”

Researchers have also warned of increased risks posed by space debris, saying collisions could render Earth’s orbit “unusable” and make future space activities impossible, including satellite monitoring of environmental threats. It is expected.

In another tipping point, 500,000 homes in Australia alone are expected to become uninsurable by 2030, as the worsening risks of climate change make insurance premiums unaffordable.

“Beyond this point, people will no longer have an economic safety net when disaster strikes,” the report says.

Report by David Stanway.Editing: Michael Perry

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