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Climate Change, Extinctions Signal Earth in Danger Zone: Study

Climate change and high rates of extinctions of animals and plants are pushing the Earth into a danger zone for humanity, a scientific report card about mankind's impact on nature said on Thursday. An international team of 18 experts, expanding on a 2009 report about "planetary boundaries" for safe human use, also sounded the alarm about clearance of forests and pollution from nitrogen and phosphorus in fertilizers. "I don’t think we've broken the planet but we are creating a much more difficult world," Sarah Cornell, one of the authors at the Stockholm Resilience Centre which led the project as a guide to human exploitation of the Earth, told Reuters. "Four boundaries are assessed to have been crossed, placing humanity in a danger zone," a statement said of the study in the journal Science, pointing to climate change, species loss, land-use change and fertilizer pollution. Of a total of nine boundaries assessed, freshwater use, ocean acidification and ozone depletion were judged to be within safe limits. Others, including levels of airborne pollution, were yet to be properly assessed. The report defined climate change and loss of species as two core areas of concern. Each "has the potential on its own to drive the Earth System into a new state should they be substantially and persistently transgressed," the authors wrote.

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--- Reuters