Bezos-funded scientists issue dire climate ‘tipping point’ warning, say to phase out fossil

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The Earth is careening toward disaster in the next decade as global warming triggers irreversible planetary changes, scientists warn in a new alarmist report.

In the new “Global Tipping Points 2023” report, Professor Tim Lenton of the University of Exeter and his team of 200 worldwide researchers identify five natural systems currently at risk of crossing “tipping points” that could trigger “catastrophic” global changes. Three more of these tipping points may be reached in the 2030s if the planet heats 2.7 degrees Farenheit (1.2 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial temperatures, the report warns.

The report is led by the University of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute and funded by the Bezos Earth Fund, a $10 billion initiative launched by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2020. The fund provides research grants to address climate change and nature within the current decade, according to its website. 

“Tipping points in the Earth system pose threats of a magnitude never faced by humanity,” Lenton said in a news release. “They can trigger devastating domino effects, including the loss of whole ecosystems and capacity to grow staple crops, with societal impacts including mass displacement, political instability and financial collapse. 

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Jeff Bezos speaks at a podium

Jeff Bezos speaks during the Climate Week NYC Leaders’ Reception at PEAK at Hudson Yards on September 20, 2021, in New York City. Bezos has committed $10 billion to fighting climate change.  (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Bezos Earth Fund / Getty Images)

“But tipping points also offer our best hope: we need to prioritize and trigger positive tipping points in our societies and economies,” he added.

According to the report, the tipping points at immediate risk include the collapse of ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic, the degradation of warm-water coral reefs, the melting of permafrost and changing ocean currents in the North Atlantic. 

“These threats could materialize in the coming decades, and at lower levels of global warming than previously thought,” the scientists warn. The “catastrophic” consequences of these changes might include global-scale loss of capacity to grow major staple crops, for example. And there is fear that crossing one tipping point may trigger others in a “domino effect” that could cause “unmanageable damage” and societal unrest comparable to the stress on society caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The scientists call for urgent government action to address the threat, including laws that would phase out fossil fuels and land-use emissions by 2050 and incentivize adoption of renewable energy and electric vehicles. The report openly calls for government mandates in high-emitting sectors including power, road transportation and food production to limit emissions and trigger “positive tipping points.” 

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Midnight sun on the ice sheet in Greenland

Midnight sun on the ice sheet. The brown sediment on the ice is created by the rapid melting of the ice. Landscape of the Greenland ice sheet near Kangerlussuaq. America, North America, Greenland, Danish territory.  (Martin Zwick/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images / Getty Images)

“Currently, our global governance system is inadequate to deal with the coming threats and implement the solutions urgently required,” said Dr Manjana Milkoreit, from the University of Oslo.

“Some Earth system tipping points are now likely to be triggered, causing severe and disproportionate impacts within and between nations,” Milkoreit continued. “This provides an urgent impetus to strengthen adaptation and loss and damage governance, adjusting existing frameworks and increasing resources to account for tipping point threats.”

The report, which is directed at policymakers, outlines six key recommendations: 

  • Phase out fossil fuels and land-use emissions now, stopping them well before 2050.
  • Strengthen adaptation and “loss and damage” governance, recognizing inequality among and within nations.
  • Include tipping points in the Global Stocktake (the world’s climate “inventory”) and Nationally Determined Contributions (each country’s efforts to tackle climate change)
  • Coordinate policy efforts to trigger positive tipping points.
  • Convene an urgent global summit on tipping points.
  • Deepen knowledge of tipping points. The research team supports calls for an IPCC Special Report on tipping points.

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In this aerial view, water vapor and exhaust rise from the steel mill of Salzgitter AG, one of Europe’s largest steel producers, as residential buildings stand nearby on November 22, 2023, in Salzgitter, Germany.  (Sean Gallup/Getty Images / Getty Images)

“Climate change is the defining issue of our time; it is essential that we advance the science on global tipping points to address the threats and opportunities ahead,” said Kelly Levin, Chief of Science, Data and Systems Change for the Bezos Earth Fund. 

“The path we choose now will determine the future of humanity, and this extraordinary report sets out the Earth system tipping points we need to prevent, the governance we need to urgently implement, and critically the positive tipping points we need to trigger to transform our society and world.”

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Levin said that “major transitions across most multiple sectors” are required to solve the climate crisis, suggesting that government mandates are needed to instigate “beneficial positive tipping points” to make change “unstoppable.” 

“At Bezos Earth Fund, we are dedicated to identifying and triggering positive tipping points in this decisive decade,” she said. 

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