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Politicians, economists and even some natural scientists have tended to assume that tipping points1 in the Earth system — such as the loss of the Amazon rainforest or the West Antarctic ice sheet — are of low probability and little understood. Yet evidence is mounting that these events could be more likely than was thought, have high impacts and are interconnected across different biophysical systems, potentially committing the world to long-term irreversible changes.
Here we summarize evidence on the threat of exceeding tipping points, identify knowledge gaps and suggest how these should be plugged. We explore the effects of such large-scale changes, how quickly they might unfold and whether we still have any control over them.
Research news | 2020-03-26
Three major innovations helped shape the global food system in the past. How can we learn from them to develop a more sustainable system for the future?
Research news | 2020-03-24
Researchers and practitioners present a vision and strategy to better include different worldviews on the value of nature. All with a little help of the octopus
Research news | 2020-03-23
Researchers urge hydrology and water community to join the “Grand Challenge” in establishing safe limits to human interference with the global water cycle
Research news | 2020-03-19
Four-year programme receives SEK 64 million from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra)
Research news | 2020-03-18
Researchers, practitioners and artists present previously unimagined ways of thinking about sustainability futures in the region
Research news | 2020-03-17
Computational approach can reveal intricate interactions among stakeholders and help prevent unintended policy outcomes