Environmental problems could interact in global breakdown of political and social systems

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  • 12 Feb 2019 12:00 AM
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Climate and Economic Risks ‘Threaten 2008-Style Systemic Collapse’, Says New Report

The gathering storm of human-caused threats to climate, nature and economy pose a danger of systemic collapse comparable to the 2008 financial crisis, according to a new report that calls for urgent and radical reform to protect political and social systems. Conducted by the Institute for Public Policy Research, the study says the combination of global warming, soil infertility, pollinator loss, chemical leaching and ocean acidification is creating a “new domain of risk”, which is hugely underestimated by policymakers even though it may pose the greatest threat in human history. The authors examine how the deterioration of natural infrastructure, such as a stable climate and fertile land, have a knock-on effect on health, wealth, inequality and migration, which in turn heightens the possibility of political tension and conflict. The paper stresses the human impacts go beyond climate change and are occurring at speeds unprecedented in recorded history.

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