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“The Future of Earth, 2020”

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    28th Feb, 2020

Five global risks that have the potential to impact and amplify one another in ways that may cascade to create a global systemic crisis, have been listed by “The Future of Earth, 2020”.

Context

Five global risks that have the potential to impact and amplify one another in ways that may cascade to create a global systemic crisis, have been listed by “The Future of Earth, 2020”.

About:

  • “The Future of Earth, 2020” has been released by the South Asia Future Earth Regional Office, Divecha Centre for Climate Change, Indian Institute of Science.
  • As many as 222 leading scientists from 52 countries conducted the survey by Future Earth, an international sustainability research network.
  • The report was prepared with the aim of reducing carbon footprint and halting global warming below 2 degree Celsius by 2050.

South Asia Future Earth Regional Office is hosted by the Divecha Centre for Climate Change, Bengaluru, India.

The Divecha Centre for Climate Change was established at Indian Institute of Science in 2009 to understand climate variability and climate change and its impact on the environment.

 

Future Earth, established in 2015, is an international sustainability research network.

What are the Five Global Risks?

  • The report lists the following as the five global risks:
    • failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation:
    • extreme weather events
    • major biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse
    • food crises
    • water crises
  • Extreme heatwaves can accelerate global warming by releasing large amounts of stored carbon from affected ecosystems, and at the same time intensify water crises and/ or food scarcity.
  • The loss of biodiversity also weakens the capacity of natural and agricultural systems to cope with climate extremes, increasing our vulnerability to food crises.

Other highlights of the Report:

  • Combination of problems: Climate breakdown and extreme weather, species loss, water scarcity and a food production crisis are all serious in themselves, but the combination of all five together is amplifying the risks of each, creating a perfect storm that threatens to engulf humanity unless swift action is taken.
  • Changing nature of calamities: The changing nature of bushfires and other calamities around the world is one of the tragic consequences of climate change.
  • Economic development: The great acceleration of economic growth has put enormous pressure on earth systems. The rapid expansion of broad-scale agriculture and extensive mining in some regions has led to deforestation, biodiversity loss and land degradation.
  • Unfair use of technologies: Much existing technology is being used to promote consumption in the pursuit of economic growth, rather than to safeguard ecosystems or to promote just and fair societies.
  • Social problems: The report also warned of social problems that scientists identified as potential major risks for the future. These included the rise of populismand fake news, trends in migration and the rise of artificial intelligence.

The road ahead:

There is a need to harness investments and financial instruments for sustainable development, including green bonds, sustainability-linked loans and more. The innovative digital sector has immense potential for reducing emissions and empowering people to monitor and protect ecosystems. The sector should be utilised for environment protection. The situation needs a change in the way risks are getting handled. The world together needs to pay urgent attention to the identified global risks and to ensure they are treated as interacting systems, rather than addressed one at a time in isolation.

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