The researchers behind the Global Tipping Points Report are calling for a global emergency meeting on the five tipping points. Their conclusion is that current climate action is insufficient.

"These points threaten humanity on an unprecedented level," said Tim Lenton of Exeter University.

He is one of the leading researchers behind the study, which involved 200 researchers from 90 universities and organisations. The university has compiled research on the complex relationships between climate systems on Earth.

Domino effects can be created

A so-called threshold point means that a climate or ecosystem goes from one state to another in a short period of time. This creates a domino effect where other climate systems are affected, and where the consequences can be uncontrollable.

One example is the Greenland ice sheet, which is melting at a higher rate than scientists previously thought. Once the tipping point is passed, the ice sheet will never recover, but the melting will continue even if we get the warming of the planet under control.

The Gulf Stream is weakening sharply

Five trigger points out of 26 are critically close to being triggered or may have already been passed. In addition to the Greenland ice sheet, the researchers point out that permafrost is melting in Arctic areas, that the ice in the western Arctic is melting, tropical coral reefs are dying and that the Gulf Stream, the so-called AMOC, in the Atlantic is weakening sharply. This will result in a cooler climate that can make food production more difficult.

All of this can pose incalculable risks to humanity, the researchers emphasize.

"It can lead to migration, political instability and economic collapse," says Tim Lenton.