The world reaches the point of no return, catastrophes will follow: UN releases alarming report
The world is approaching six tipping points, the crossing of which could have catastrophic consequences for both people and the planet. They include an increase in space debris, groundwater depletion, melting mountain glaciers, and more.
Tipping points are conditional thresholds in natural and social systems that are reached when the system can no longer provide the expected function. Scientists warn that crossing such "points" will actually mean crossing the point of no return when humanity will no longer be able to return the Earth's systems to a sustainable form.
The first point is the extinction of species, which is accelerated by human activity and is now occurring more than 10 times faster than the natural rate. The rapid extinction of individual species can lead to even greater extinctions and, ultimately, to the collapse of ecosystems.
Problems also exist with underground reservoirs used for drinking and agriculture. If these groundwater reservoirs are depleted faster than they are naturally replenished, it will not only cause water shortages but also affect humanity's ability to produce food.
Mountain glacier meltwater is another vital source of water. But it is already known that glaciers around the world have passed the so-called "peak water". This is a situation when, as in the case of groundwater, mountain glaciers provide the maximum amount of runoff but lose their own reserves.
There is also a space problem. About 75% of all tracked objects in Earth's orbit are debris. If there is too much of it in orbit, it will lead to collisions that could destroy existing satellites that provide telecommunications networks and more.
"If we lose these eyes in the sky, we lose the ability to better monitor things like biodiversity or weather," explained Jack O'Connor of the United Nations University, according to New Scientist.
Another point is the insurmountable heat. In recent years, temperature records have been broken across the planet, and heat waves are becoming more commonplace. In the future, scientists warn, humanity may see heat waves so intense that they will pose a deadly danger even to healthy young people.
The final tipping point will come when it becomes too expensive for most people to insure their property against extreme weather events or natural disasters. According to forecasts, by 2030, more than 500,000 homes in Australia will be too expensive to insure due to flood risks.
At the same time, as the authors of the report note, some of these tipping points have already been passed in certain parts of the world. Groundwater has been depleted in some parts of Saudi Arabia, while extreme temperatures close to the limit of human survival are observed in Asia.
To avoid these critical points, humanity must move towards transformation. "We have to start taking into account the risk of rising temperatures in the way we build our cities."
"All these things are caused by human behavior, actions, and values. We can change our thinking. This transformation must take place at the individual level, up to the level of governments," said one of the report's authors, Caitlyn Eberle of the United Nations University in Germany.
As OBOZ.UA previously reported, scientists believe that if the global temperature rises by only 1 degree Celsius, the Earth may be covered by an inhuman heat wave that will cause billions of people to suffer.