According to the United Nations, population growth, urbanization and consumption could lead to irreversible damage. “If current trends continue, if current patterns of production and consumption of natural resources prevail and cannot be reversed and ‘decoupled’, then governments will preside over unprecedented levels of damage and degradation,” U.N. Under-Secretary Achim Steiner said in a statement.
This issue was presented to the public via the U.N. Environment Programme Global Environment Outlook report and was published two weeks before the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil, a meeting of international government officials, companies and environmentalists.
The U.N. also set 90 environmental goals for the planet but on only four of them do we seem to be making any progress, two of them being providing access to clean water and minimizing depletion of the ozone layer. Carbon dioxide emission is up by 40 percent, which can be attributed to the growth of nations like China and Brazil. Transport-related emissions are expected to be up by 57 percent and will most likely be caused by China and India, according to the report. The planet’s population is expected to be 9 billion by 2050, another factor in the health of the planet.
Steiner believes this report should inspire some action. “The moment has come to put away the paralysis of indecision, acknowledge the facts and face up to the common humanity that unites all peoples,” he said.