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World running out of time to ensure food, water and energy, says UN report

Monday, January 30th 2012 - 21:56 UTC
Full article 3 comments
Every year an area the size of Costa Rica is lost to deforestation Every year an area the size of Costa Rica is lost to deforestation

The world is running out of time to make sure there are enough food, water and energy to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population and to avoid sending up to 3 billion people into poverty, a UN report warned on Monday.

As the world's population looks set to grow to nearly 9 billion by 2040 from 7 billion now, and the number of middle-class consumers increases by 3 billion over the next 20 years, the demand for resources will rise exponentially.

Even by 2030, the world will need at least 50% more food, 45% more energy and 30% more water, according to UN estimates, at a time when a changing environment is creating new limits to supply. And if the world fails to tackle these problems, it risks condemning up to 3 billion people into poverty, the report said.

Efforts towards sustainable development are not fast enough or deep enough, as well as suffering from a lack of political will, the United Nations' high-level panel on global sustainability said.

“The current global development model is unsustainable. To achieve sustainability, a transformation of the global economy is required,” the report said. “Tinkering on the margins will not do the job. The current global economic crisis ... offers an opportunity for significant reforms”.

Although the number of people living in absolute poverty has been reduced to 27% of world population from 46% in 1990 and the global economy has grown 75% since 1992, improved lifestyles and changing consumer habits have put natural resources under increasing strain.

There are 20 million more undernourished people now than in 2000; 5.2 million hectares of forest are lost per year - an area the size of Costa Rica; 85% of all fish stocks are over-exploited or depleted; and carbon dioxide emissions have risen 38% between 1990 and 2009, which heightens the risk of sea level rise and more extreme weather.

The panel, which made 56 recommendations for sustainable development to be included in economic policy as quickly as possible, said a “new political economy” was needed.

Categories: Environment, International.

Top Comments

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  • briton

    They say, as one species dies out, another more intelligent one takes its place,
    But as we are not that intelligent, infecting our fresh water,
    Polluting the air that we breathe, destroying the forests and infecting the land,
    I guess we won’t be around as long as the dinosaurs were then.

    But then, that’s what happens when we are a species that is greedy selfish, none caring and acting worse than the animals that share this planet we live on,
    So from the rest of the species, point of view,
    The sooner you humans skiddadle the better for the rest of us.


    Jan 30th, 2012 - 10:47 pm 0
  • MistyThink

    UN says :

    The world is running out to ensure food and energy...........

    I say :

    We must call for a holistic approach to permanent development which will guide humanity to live in harmony with nature.!.........

    Jan 31st, 2012 - 11:28 am 0
  • laceja

    And, y'all still believe all that UN trash!

    Jan 31st, 2012 - 02:34 pm 0
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