Scientists: New Rating System Maps Immediacy Of Nine Threats to Environment

In a rating system compiled by a group of scientists, there is new meaning to immediate threats being off-the-charts. The top three threats? Biodiversity loss, nitrogen run-off and climate change.

Susannah Locke at Popsci-com reports:

“Publishing in the journal Nature, a group of 29 scientists have established a comparative scale for rating the immediate threat posed by nine environmental hazards–everything from climate change to ocean acidification. And while our warming climate gets most of the attention, more immediate problems may be brewing in our intensifying lack of biodiversity and out-of-whack nitrogen cycle.

Of the nine ongoing hazards (climate change, ocean acidification, ozone depletion, the nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, freshwater use, land use, biodiversity loss, aerosols in the atmosphere, and chemical pollution) the group pegged nitrogen runoff as our second-worst problem, and biodiversity as the first. There’s not enough data, the researchers say, to accurately plot chemical pollution or aerosol contamination on their scale, but as you can see, we’re already in what they’ve defined as the “danger zone” for three conditions–climate change being the third, in order from worst to still-pretty-terrible.”

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