UN report warns of catastrophic risks to Earth systems

The Interconnected Disaster Risks Report identifies thresholds it calls “risk tipping points,” defined as “the moment at which a given socioecological system is no longer able to buffer risks and provide its expected function”—after which the risk of catastrophe increases significantly.

It focuses on six areas that connect the physical and natural world with human society: accelerating extinctions, groundwater depletion, mountain glacial melt, space debris, unbearable heat and an “uninsurable” future.

“As we indiscriminately extract our water resources, damage nature and biodiversity, and pollute both Earth and space, we are moving dangerously close to the brink of multiple risk tipping points that could destroy the very systems that our life depends on,” said Zita Sebesvari, the report’s lead author.

The report finds most solutions currently being implemented focus on delaying problems rather than genuinely addressing the root causes.