The world is approaching a series of climate risk tipping points, according to a major new report from the UN University. It is also on the brink of irreversible changes to nature, water systems and pollution in space, which would drastically damage our ability to cope with disasters, including the withdrawal of home insurance from flood-hit areas and the drying up of the groundwater that is vital for ensuring food supplies.

These “risk tipping points” also include the loss of the mountain glaciers that are essential for water supplies in many parts of the world and accumulating space debris knocking out satellites that provide early warnings of extreme weather.

The report sets out a series of risk tipping points that are approaching, but says having foresight of these meant that it remained possible to take action to prevent them. Tipping points are triggered by small increases in their driving force but rapidly lead to large impacts.

The risk tipping points are different from the climate tipping points the world is on the brink of, including the collapse of Amazon rainforest and the shutdown of a key Atlantic Ocean current. The climate tipping points are large-scale changes driven by human-caused global heating, while the risk tipping points are more directly connected to people’s lives via complex social and ecological systems.

Covered in The Guardian

Scientists say Earth’s ‘vital signs’ worse than at any time in human history

The journal paper, entitles ‘The 2023 state of the climate report: Entering uncharted territory’ found that 20 of the 35 planetary vital signs they use to track the climate crisis are at record extremes. As well as greenhouse gas emissions, global temperature and sea level rise, the indicators also include human and livestock population numbers.

Also covered in The Guardian

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