In an opinion piece published in the British journal Nature, scientists say the sudden and irreversible changes in the Earth’s system mark a “state of emergency” on the planet. Scientists cite evidence that the west Antarctic ice sheet and the Amazon rainforest may be more likely to emerge at critical points such as shrinking.
They explored how the interaction of different tipping points might have cascading effects, “potentially placing the world in a long period of irreversible change”.
Twenty years ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that a tipping point could only be reached if global temperatures rose by more than 5 degrees Celsius. However, its latest report suggests that when warming exceeds 1 to 2 degrees Celsius, it is possible to break through some thresholds. Some ice sheets are melting at an accelerated rate, and if the average global temperature rises by 2 degrees Celsius, 99% of tropical corals are expected to disappear.
In addition, studies have shown that breaking through the critical point of one system may increase the risk of breaking through the critical point of other systems. Academics, including Tim Renton, a scientist at the Institute of Global Systems at the University of Exeter in the UK, say examples of such tipping point interactions have been observed, which could signal the possibility of reaching a global tipping point.
“If destructive tipping cascades occur and global tipping points cannot be ruled out, then this is a real threat to civilization. Any economic cost-benefit analysis will not help us. In the paper, the researchers note.
“The stability and resilience of the earth is in jeopardy. They concluded that “the international community must act and respond positively, not just verbally.” “