From: Aisling Irwin, SciDevNet, More from this Affiliate
Published March 31, 2012 07:07 AM

Planet Under Pressure Conference - State of the Planet Declaration Issued

Earth has only one decade to pull itself back from various environmental 'tipping points' — points at which the damage becomes irreversible, scientists have said.

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If it fails to do so, it is likely to witness a series of breakdowns in the systems that sustain people, such as oceans and soil, according to a major meeting on safeguarding the planet's future, the Planet Under Pressure conference (26—29 March).          

"Research now demonstrates that the continued functioning of the Earth system as it has supported the wellbeing of human civilization in recent centuries is at risk," said some of the world's leading documenters of global environmental change in the first 'State of the Planet' declaration.

They also admitted that scientists could no longer continue with 'business as usual'.

"We have been far better at documenting the problem and understanding the processes than engaging with solutions," said Mark Stafford Smith, science director of the Climate Adaptation Flagship at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia's national science agency.

Johan Rockström, executive director of the Stockholm Environment Institute, in Sweden, said it was "absolutely shocking" that scientists had not answered questions such as "how much biodiversity [do] we need in order to sustain landscapes for our economy?".

Planet Earth sunrise from space photo via Shutterstock.

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