Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Environmental change trends 'mixed bag'.
According to scientific indicators, environmental change caused by human activities continues to rise — in some cases heading towards the 'tipping point' beyond which there may be no recovery — but social indicators offer hope that the battle to save the environment is not lost yet. Speakers at the Planet Under Pressure conference presented two sets of indicators of environmental change — scientific and social — and how they fared over two time periods: between 1950 and 2000, and since 2000. William Steffen, executive director of the Australian National University's Climate Change Institute, reported that the key global physical, geological and biological indicators of climate change, such as carbon dioxide levels, loss of polar ice or tropical forests, continued to rise in each decade since the 1950s. On the other hand Sandra Diaz, professor at Córdoba National University, in Argentina, cautioned that unsustainable growth is taking a toll on the natural ecosystems that are losing their diversity.