The Planetary Triple Crisis

THE TRIPLE PLANETARY CRISIS

The triple planetary crisis encompasses climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss, interconnected challenges threatening humanity’s future on Earth.

As per the latest IPCC report, global warming of 1.5°C poses the threat of unavoidable multiple climate hazards over the next 20 years. Even temporarily exceeding this warming level will result in additional severe impacts, some of which will be irreversible. Our planet faces a triple crisis driven by climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services predicts that the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem integrity will undermine our efforts on 80 per cent of assessed Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets, making it even more difficult to report progress on poverty, hunger, health, water, cities and climate. The interlinkages between the three prongs of the climate crisis have been recognised more strongly than before in the latest IPCC assessment.

BIODIVERSITY LOSS

Biodiversity loss refers to the decline or disappearance of biological diversity, which includes animals, plants and ecosystems. The reasons for biodiversity loss include everything from overfishing to habitat loss (e.g. deforestation to make way for development) to desertification due to climate change. Biodiversity is the baseline for everything on the planet – as in the end we are all interlinked. Biodiversity loss impacts food supplies and access to clean water – without it we have no future on our planet.

Animals Are Running Out of Places to Live

Meet some of the animals most affected as humans take over more and more land.

 

CLIMATE EMERGENCY

Climate change is the most pressing issue facing humanity today. Simply put, climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns that in the long run will completely alter the ecosystems that support life on the planet. Human activities are the main drivers of climate change. Almost everything we do releases emissions, but energy use, industry, transport, buildings and agriculture are the main causes for release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The consequences of climate change already today manifest through increased intensity and severity of  droughts, water scarcity, wildfires, rising sea levels, flooding, melting polar ice, catastrophic storms and declining biodiversity.

Note (February 8, 2024): Copernicus, European Union’s Earth Observation Programme reports that for the first time, for 12 months in a row global temperature was 1.5°C above pre industrial times. Read more…

World is on brink of catastrophic warming, U.N. climate change report says

In a new IPCC climate change report, scientists said the world is likely to pass a dangerous temperature threshold within the next 10 years.

POLLUTION

Air Pollution is the largest cause of disease and premature death in the world, with more than seven million people dying prematurely each year due to pollution. Incredibly, nine out of ten people worldwide breathe air that contains levels of pollutants that exceed WHO guidelines. Pollution is caused by everything from traffic and factories to wildfires, volcanoes and mould. Another cause of pollution is indoor household air pollution from cooking with polluting fuels and technologies which caused an estimated 3.8 million deaths in 2016 alone.

By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans, study says

About 8 millions metric tons of plastic end up in the world´s waterways every year.

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CONSEQUENCES

“Humanity is waging war on nature. This is senseless and suicidal,” Secretary-General António Guterres said in the foreword of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Making Peace With Nature report, published last year. “The consequences of our recklessness are already apparent in human suffering, towering economic losses and the accelerating erosion of life on Earth”.

These consequences range from deaths due to weather-related disasters (of which there has been a five-fold increase in the past 50 years) to the 21.5 million people displaced by climate-change related disasters every year. It also means more extreme and more frequent floods, droughts and storms, which not only means a huge human cost, but a huge environmental and financial cost as well. A 2021 report from Swiss Re, one of the largest providers of insurance to other insurance companies, revealed that climate change could cut the value of the world economy by $23 trillion by 2050 – with developed nations such as the US, Canada and France losing between six and ten per cent of their potential economic output. For developing nations, the effects of climate change are even more dire, with Malaysia and Thailand, for example, both seeing their economic growth 20 per cent below what would otherwise be expected by 2050.

Understanding Global Crisis: Scientists Unveil Critical Issues

Delve into our blog where scientists present the pressing problems shaping our planet’s future.
Gain insight into the challenges we face and the urgency of addressing them. Explore their findings to deepen your understanding of our world’s critical issues.