Study: Human activity pushes Earth past "safe operating space" for four of nine planetary vital signs

January 16, 2015 4:45 AM

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Study: Human activity pushes Earth past "safe operating space" for four of nine planetary vital signs

Scientists who measure the resilience of the planet with a set of nine vital signs say human activity has pushed past a “safe operating space” for four of them. In a new study published in the journal Science, an international team of 18 researchers argue the most important “planetary boundary” is the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, followed closely by the rate of species extinction.

The other “planetary boundaries” the planet’s exceeding are the rate of species extinction and the flow of nitrogen and phosphorous, altered by agricultural fertilization and loaded into the ocean.

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