LONDON - Politicians and policymakers have failed to grasp the gravity of the environmental crisis facing the Earth, a report claims.

The think-tank IPPR says human impacts have reached a critical stage and threaten to destabilise society and the global economy.

Scientists warn of a potentially deadly combination of factors.

These include climate change, mass loss of species, topsoil erosion, forest felling and acidifying oceans.

The report from the centre-left Institute for Public Policy Research says these factors are "driving a complex, dynamic process of environmental destabilisation that has reached critical levels.

"This destabilisation is occurring at speeds unprecedented in human history and, in some cases, over billions of years."

The IPPR warns that the window of opportunity to avoid catastrophic outcomes is rapidly closing.

The authors urge three shifts in political understanding: on the scale and pace of environmental breakdown; the implications for societies; and the subsequent need for transformative change.

​They say since 2005, the number of floods across the world has increased by 15 times, extreme temperature events by 20 times, and wildfires seven-fold.

At least climate change features in policy discussions, they say – but other vitally important impacts barely figure.(FA)