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Overconsumption of natural resources driving environment damage, says UN
Use of natural resources has increased as emerging countries follow rich economies in a lifestyle that is gluttonous on energy and use of water.
Population growth and unsustainable consumption are driving Earth towards “unprecedented” environmental destruction, the UN said in a report released on June 6 ahead of the Rio Summit.
Of 90 key goals to protect the environment, only four have seen good progress, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) said in a planetary assessment issued only every five years.
“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,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
The phonebook-sized report, the fifth edition of the Global Environment Outlook (GEO), was issued ahead of the June 20-22 UN Conference on Sustainable Development — the 20-year follow-up to the landmark Earth Summit, also in Rio.
Preceded by a series of forums gathering as many as 50,000 policymakers, business executives and activists, the summit aims at plotting a course for green development over the next two decades.
But the report warned of many challenges, painting a tableau of a planet whose resources were being stressed into the red zone.