EARTH AT RISK OF REACHING ‘HOTHOUSE’ STATE Researchers in Stockholm have published a study showing that there is a risk of the Earth entering a ‘hothouse’ state, even if internationally agreed carbon emission targets are met. In this state, the long-term climate could stabilise at up to 5°C higher than pre-industrial temperatures, with sea levels rising up to 60m higher than today. These extreme changes are due to environmental feedback loops such as permafrost thaw, forest dieback and the increasing loss of methane from ocean floors all combining together, say the researchers.
‘EARTH OVERSHOOT DAY’ EARLIER THAN EVER Earth Overshoot Day, the point in the year at which the human race has consumed more natural resources than the Earth is capable of providing in 12 months, fell on 1 August this year – the earliest date ever. According to calculations by the Global Footprint Network, a California-based think tank whose members include the World Wildlife Federation, we are using 1.7 Earths’ worth of resources each year. We first started overshooting in 1970, but the effect has become progressively more pronounced as time has gone by.