Human activity has pushed Earth beyond four of nine ‘planetary boundaries’

January 19, 2015 • Daily Email Recap

Human activity has pushed Earth beyond four of nine ‘planetary boundaries’, scientists warn

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At the rate things are going, the Earth in the coming decades could cease to be a “safe operating space” for human beings.

That is the conclusion of a new paper published in the journal Science by 18 researchers trying to gauge the breaking points in the natural world.

The paper contends that we have already crossed four “planetary boundaries”.

They include the extinction rate; deforestation; the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; and the flow of nitrogen and phosphorous (used on land as fertiliser) into the ocean.

“What the science has shown is that human activities – economic growth, technology, consumption – are destabilising the global environment,” said Will Steffen, who holds joint appointments at the Australian National University and the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and is the lead author of the paper.

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