The Future of Earth 2020 report has listed five global risks that have the potential to impact and amplify one another in ways that may cascade to create a global systemic crisis. 

About the report 

  • The report was prepared with the aim of reducing carbon footprint and halting global warming below 2 degree Celsius by 2050.
  • It was released by the South Asia Future Earth Regional Office, Divecha Centre for Climate Change, Indian Institute of Science. 
  • The report, released by K. Kasturirangan, former Chairman, ISRO, lists 
  1. failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation
  2. extreme weather events
  3. major biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse
  4. food crises and 
  5. water crises, as the five global risks.

Interrelation among risk factors: 

  1. Extreme heatwaves can accelerate global warming by releasing large amounts of stored carbon from affected ecosystems and at the same time intensify water crises and/ or food scarcity. 
  2. The loss of biodiversity also weakens the capacity of natural and agricultural systems to cope with climate extremes, increasing our vulnerability to food crises, they point out.

Trends in the report

  1. On climate: Among the chapters in the report is one on climate, which highlighted that time is running out to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • This has inspired declarations of a climate crisis or climate emergency by the leaders of more than 700 cities, States and governments. 
  1. Right-wing populism: That focuses on nationalist tendencies to clamp down on borders and reject immigrants is on the rise around the world. This has led to a denial of climate change facts or impacts.
  2. Human impact on ecosystem: Humans have now significantly altered 75% of our planet’s land area about a quarter of species in assessed plant and animal groups are threatened.
  3. Role of media: The flow of information in the world is changing. The digital platforms designed to engage with emotion over reason can cause the propagation of fake news and can lead to social harms like erosion of trust in vaccines.

On environmental health and education: 

  • The National Education Policy will address the question of environmental health and education at the school level. 

  • Children in the last four years of secondary education will have a reasonable grounding to be sensitive towards the environment. Without it, no government rules and policies can be helpful.

South Asia Future Earth Regional Office: The office plays a key role in promoting solution-oriented research on environmental sustainability in the south Asian region. It is hosted by the Divecha Centre for Climate Change, Bengaluru, India.

Future Earth is an international sustainability research network established in 2015.

The Divecha Centre for Climate Change was established at Indian Institute of Science in 2009 with the aim to understand climate variability and climate change and its impact on the environment.

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