Climate crisis: Is Earth destabilising?

Source: Down To Earth

Relevance: This article explains the Planetary boundaries and its impact on Environment.


Professor Johan Rockstrom, an internationally recognized scientist working on global sustainability issues, is looking into much broader questions like Do our planets have boundaries? Can it be defined?

What is a planetary boundary?

The planetary boundary is a novel concept developed and published by the international team of 18 researchers in the year 2009. According to the paper, there are nine planetary boundaries, and they are as follows,

  1. Climate change
  2. Change in biosphere integrity (biodiversity loss and species extinction)
  3. Stratospheric ozone depletion
  4. Ocean acidification
  5. Biogeochemical flows (phosphorus and nitrogen cycles)
  6. Land-system change (for example deforestation)
  7. Freshwater use
  8. Atmospheric aerosol loading (microscopic particles in the atmosphere that affect climate and living organisms)
  9. Introduction of novel entities (eg, organic pollutants, radioactive materials, nanomaterials, and micro-plastics).

The stability of our planet earth is mainly due to these nine processes. These elements are the reason, our planet is intact. Any change in this would greatly affect our planet, and in turn, us.

Two of these, climate change and biosphere integrity, are core boundaries. Any change in these two would drive the Earth System into a new state.

Planetary boundaries level at present:

Four of nine planetary boundaries: climate change, loss of biosphere integrity, land system change, altered biogeochemical cycles (phosphorus and nitrogen), have crossed the tipping point due to unfavorable human activities

Planetary Boundaries do not dictate how human societies should develop, but they can aid decision-makers by defining a safe operating space for humanity

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