Juan Rocha vom Stockholm Resilience Centre hat in zehn Jahren eine Datenbank voller Kipppunkte im Erdsystem aufgebaut und nun ein Paper veröffentlicht, in dem er 45% aller „potenziellen Umwelt-Katastrophen“ (z.B. das Wegsterben der Korallenbänke, Waldrodung im Amazonas) mindestens einen Domino- oder sich gegenseitig verstärkende Effekte bescheinigt.
Im Guardian bezeichnet er die verschränkten Kipppunkte als „Wicked Problem“, Wikipedia: „A wicked problem is a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize. […] Moreover, because of complex interdependencies, the effort to solve one aspect of a wicked problem may reveal or create other problems.“
Policymakers have severely underestimated the risks of ecological tipping points, according to a study that shows 45% of all potential environmental collapses are interrelated and could amplify one another.
The authors said their paper, published in the journal Science, highlights how overstressed and overlapping natural systems are combining to throw up a growing number of unwelcome surprises.
“The risks are greater than assumed because the interactions are more dynamic,” said Juan Rocha of the Stockholm Resilience Centre. “The important message is to recognise the wickedness of the problem that humanity faces.”
Cascading effects of regime shifts
The potential for regime shifts and critical transitions in ecological and Earth systems, particularly in a changing climate, has received considerable attention. However, the possibility of interactions between such shifts is poorly understood. Rocha et al. used network analysis to explore whether critical transitions in ecosystems can be coupled with each other, even when far apart […].
Regime shifts are large, abrupt, and persistent critical transitions in the function and structure of ecosystems. Yet, it is unknown how these transitions will interact, whether the occurrence of one will increase the likelihood of another or simply correlate at distant places. We explored two types of cascading effects: Domino effects create one-way dependencies, whereas hidden feedbacks produce two-way interactions. We compare them with the control case of driver sharing, which can induce correlations. Using 30 regime shifts described as networks, we show that 45% of regime shift pairwise combinations present at least one plausible structural interdependence. The likelihood of cascading effects depends on cross-scale interactions but differs for each type. Management of regime shifts should account for potential connections.