Image courtesy of NASA’s Visible Earth catalog – it’s a composite of Earth’s city lights.
February 9, 2007 In releasing its latest comprehensive report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) focuses an important spotlight on the current state of the Earth’s climate. Climate change is just one of the many symptoms exhibited by a planet under pressure from human activities. "Global environmental change, which includes climate change, threatens to irreversibly alter our planet," says Kevin Noone, Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP).Global studies by International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) show that human-driven environmental changes are affecting many parts of the Earth’s system, in addition to its climate. For example, half of Earth’s land surface is now domesticated for direct human use, 75 percent of the world’s fisheries are fully or over-exploited, and the composition of today’s atmosphere is well outside the range of natural variability the Earth has maintained over the last 650,000 years. The report concludes that Earth is now in the midst of its sixth great extinction event. And the remarkable image comes from NASA’s Visible Earth catalog – it’s a composite of Earth’s city lights.