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Chemical pollution has passed safe limit for humanity, say scientists

Study calls for cap on production and release as pollution threatens global ecosystems upon which life depends

Firefighters take part in an emergency drill against winter chemical hazards and accidents in China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
Firefighters take part in an emergency drill against winter chemical hazards and accidents in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Photograph: Xinhua/Rex/Shutterstock

The cocktail of chemical pollution that pervades the planet now threatens the stability of global ecosystems upon which humanity depends, scientists have said.

Plastics are of particularly high concern, they said, along with 350,000 synthetic chemicals including pesticides, industrial compounds and antibiotics. Plastic pollution is now found from the summit of Mount Everest to the deepest oceans, and some toxic chemicals, such as PCBs, are long-lasting and widespread.

The study concludes that chemical pollution has crossed a “planetary boundary”, the point at which human-made changes to the Earth push it outside the stable environment of the last 10,000 years.

Chemical pollution threatens Earth’s systems by damaging the biological and physical processes that underpin all life. For example, pesticides wipe out many non-target insects, which are fundamental to all ecosystems and, therefore, to the provision of clean air, water and food.

“There has been a fiftyfold increase in the production of chemicals since 1950 and this is projected to triple again by 2050,” said Patricia Villarrubia-Gómez, a PhD candidate and research assistant at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) who was part of the study team. “The pace that societies are producing and releasing new chemicals into the environment is not consistent with staying within a safe operating space for humanity.”

Dr Sarah Cornell, an associate professor and principal researcher at SRC, said: “For a long time, people have known that chemical pollution is a bad thing. But they haven’t been thinking about it at the global level. This work brings chemical pollution, especially plastics, into the story of how people are changing the planet.”

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Global Warming and the Planetary Boundary

Global Warming and the Planetary Boundary

Climate change is on a fast track, a surprisingly fast, very fast track. As such, it’s entirely possible that humanity may be facing the shock of a lifetime, caught off-guard, blindsided by a crumbling ecosystem, spawning tens of thousands of ISIS-like fighters formed into competing gangs struggling for survival.

Furthermore, what if the biosphere is already under stress by “planetary boundary” or the capacity of the planet to support life? Then what?

As for global warming, a non-consensus school of scientific thought, consisting of a small minority of scientists, believes the ecosystem is at risk of collapse within current lifetime. These scientists do not pull punches. Rather, they tell it like it is, as they see it.

Whereas, most leading climate scientists are not willing to honestly expose their greatest fears, as discovered by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! while at COP21 in Paris this past December, interviewing one of the world’s leading climate scientists, Kevin Anderson of Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research, who said: “So far we simply have not been prepared to accept the revolutionary implications of our own findings, and even when we do we are reluctant to voice such thoughts openly… many are ultimately choosing to censor their own research.”

Straightaway, we know from one of the world’s leading authorities that climate scientists are censoring their own research. They are low-balling. Consider this; imagine trying to get a “research grant or private funding” for work that exposes the dastardly truth. That’s the quickest way forward to an unemployment line of sour-faced scientists.

At Paris COP21 just a few months ago, it was agreed by almost every nation on the planet to take defensive action, on a voluntary basis, to limit global warming to under 2C post industrialization, preferably under 1.5C.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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