Major UN Environment Report

Reply Fri 26 Oct, 2007 12:07 am
Published on Thursday, October 25, 2007 by Times Online/UK
Earth Is Reaching The Point of No Return, Says Major UN Environment Report

by Lewis Smith

The speed at which mankind is using and abusing the Earth's resources is putting humanity's survival at risk, scientists have said.

The bleak assessment of the state of the environment globally was issued as an "urgent call for action" amid growing concerns of worldwide waste, neglect and governmental inertia.

Fundamental changes in political policy and individual lifestyles were demanded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as it gave warning that the "point of no return" for the environment is fast being approached.

The damage being done was regarded by the UN programme as so serious that it said the time had come for the environment to be a central theme of policy-making instead of just a fringe issue, even though it would damage the vested interests of powerful industries.

Marion Cheatle, of the environment programme, said that damage sustained by the environment was of fundamental economic concern and, if left unchecked, would affect growth.

"The report provides incontrovertible evidence of unprecedented environmental change over the last 20 years that, unless checked, will fundamentally undermine economic development for current and future generations," she said as the report was released in London.

The report, the fourth Global Environment Outlook: environment for development (GEO-4), assessed the impact on the environment since 1987.

It was drafted on the basis of reports by almost 400 scientists, all experts in their fields, whose findings were subjected to review by another 1,000 scientists.

Climate change was identified as one of the most pressing problems but the condition of freshwater supplies, agricultural land and biodiversity were considered to be of equal concern.

It came 20 years after the publication Our Common Future by the Brundtland Commission, the first attempt by the UN to provide a comprehensive review of Man's impact on the environment.

The authors of the latest report said there had been progress on some environmental problems in the past two decades, most notably the international agreement to protect the ozone layer. But while maintaining that they wanted to avoid presenting a "dark and gloomy scneario", they concluded: "There are no major issues raised in Our Common Future for which the foreseeable trends are favourable."

They said the scale of the challenge was huge and highlighted a series of problems that need to be faced and tackled by people and governments around the world before damage to the environment becomes irreversible.

Increases in the world population, which has risen almost 34 per cent from 5 billion in 1987 to 6.7 billion today, have caused many of the challenges because of the demands on the Earth's natural resources.

Demand, heightened by a three-fold increase in trade since 1987, means that more is now being produced than can be sustained in the long term. On average, each person needs 21.9 hectares of the Earth's surface to supply their needs whereas, it was calculated, the Earth's biological capacity is 15.7 hectares per person.

The report was critical of the lack of action by governments in protecting the environment. The response to climate change was described as "woefully inadequate" but it was regarded as one of several significant problems that need to be addressed effectively.

"We appear to be living in an era in which the severity of environmental problems is increasing faster than our policy responses," it said. "To avoid the threat of catastrophic consequences in the future, we need new policy approaches to change the direction and magnitude of drivers of environmental change.

"The need couldn't be more urgent and the time couldn't be more opportune, with our enhanced understanding of the challenges we face, to act now to safeguard our own survival and that of future generations."

Overfishing was singled out as an issue that needed to be tackled as a priority. Measures to protect biodiversity, with species being forced into extinction at a rate 100 times faster than any in fossil records, were regarded as equally urgent.

Achim Steiner, executive director of UNEP, said that the international community's response to environmental issues was at times "courageous and inspiring", but all too often was inadequate.

"The systematic destruction of the Earth's natural and nature-based resources has reached a point where the economic viability of economies is being challenged - and where the bill we hand to our children may prove impossible to pay," he said.

Mike Childs, of the environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth, said: "The steady degradation of the world's environment threatens the well-being of everybody on the planet.

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said the report illustrated the importance of living sustainably: "It is the only way to improve global life expectancy and income inequality, beat climate change, reduce deforestation and protect biodiversity."

© 2007 The Times Online

After reading this, i was slightly cheered by the comment below from a US citizenSo, what's the answer?
You're not going to like it...

"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."
-- Albert Einstein, physicist, Nobel Prize 1921

Told you you wouldn't like it
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Reply Fri 26 Oct, 2007 12:49 am
Consumerism, mostly in the electronics field, like massive plasma tv's and high definition tuners, computers, printers, ipods, the list goes on, is one area that needs actual government intervention to slow down the mad rush to have the "next big thing". In Australia, the Federal Reserve bank's answer to stem this rush, it to increase loan interest rates, hitting the home-owner in the hip-pocket, allowing the independently wealthy to continue the splurging, at the cost of families losing their homes, or both parents having to work to subsist.

And considering where most of these products come from, (China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, eg.) do we really need to prop up their economies, and cowtow to their demands for cheap commodities to balance the books?

The whole system needs a top-to-bottom shake-up, for mine.

Blatant consumerism will be the death of us. It is the sole reason for the massive waste of resources, and the mad rush for fossil fuels.

Oh, and while I'm up on the soap-box, if our respective governments are so hell-bent on getting us all to toss away our old gas-guzzlers in favour of hybrid technology cars (which use far more resources to manufacture than they save), how come there are no fingers pointed at Nascar, or Formula 1, or the V8 Supercars?

No hypocrisy there? Or is there simply too much money from big business and advertising involved? Hmmm?

Evil or Very Mad
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Reply Sat 17 Nov, 2007 12:03 pm

IPCC report says the evidence of a human role in global warming is now 'unequivocal'

The world's top scientific authority on climate change says the already visible impact of global warming will accelerate and is potentially irreversible.

Heat waves, rainstorms, tropical cyclones and surges in sea levels are among the events expected to become more frequent, more widespread and more intense according to new document to be published by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The report to be released on Saturday at the end of the group's meeting in the Spanish city of Valencia and is the first overview on the greenhouse-gas effect since 2001.

The IPCC report says the evidence of a human role in observed warming is now "unequivocal".

Urgent action

Ban Ki-moon, the UN chief, has called for urgent action on the issue.

"I believe we are on the verge of a catastrophe if we do not act. I am not scare-mongering. But I believe we are nearing a tipping point," he is as quoted as saying in the International Herald Tribune newspaper.

Launching the IPCC report, Ban said that next month's climate change conference in Bali, Indonesia, was an opportunity for policymakers to make real decisions on the environment.

"Today, the world's scientists have spoken, clearly and with one voice. In Bali, I expect the world's policy makers to do the same. Together we can do even more and address climate change. We can transform a necessity into a virtue," he said.

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the UN panel on climate change, told Al Jazeera: "I think that if the leaders of the world don't do anything about climate change, the impact could be really serious. And some of them may result in abrupt and irreversible changes.

"You could have areas of the world facing serious catastrophe.

"I think leaders should understand that the cost of addressing climate change is not burdensome at all. It's something that all countries of the world can take part in.

"Towards technologies, production and consumption methods, by which we reduce our carbon footprint on this Earth.

"That requires to be understood with a sense of urgency. There is a very short window of opportunity and that means we need to move very fast."

Drastic action

But Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Sceptical Environmentalist, said that while climate change is happening and man is causing it, it is "somewhat silly" to think that man can drastically change his ways right now.

"See how much time it took anyone to do anything about the Kyoto protocol," he said.

"It took 10 years and yet the outcome is very very tiny.

"Even if it had been everything that everybody had promised, it still would have only postponed global warming, by the end of the century, by seven days at a cost of $180 bn a year."

"That's where I think we need to realise we need smarter solutions, and that will have to be longer term solutions on investment in research and development on non-carbon emitting energy technologies."

The IPCC report outlines a scientific consensus on human-induced climate change and indicates that so-called climate sceptics who doubt such findings are now firmly a minority.

Guide for politicians

The 20-page report, labelled a "summary for policymakers", is designed to be a guide for politicians facing decisions on cutting pollution from fossil fuels, moving to cleaner energy sources and strengthening defences against drought, flood, storms and other problems that are predicted to increase because of climate change.

The IPCC forecast that, by the year 2100, average global temperatures could rise between 1.1C and 6.4C while sea levels will rise by between 18cm and 59cm.

The report says all countries will be affected, but poorer nations, which it says are the least to blame, are likely to be the hardest hit.

Those poorer countries, whose economies often depend on heavily industrialised technologies, the issue of compromise on climate change can have a devastating financial impact.

Assistance required

When asked how they would likely be compensated, Pachauri said that assistance must be provided by the developed world, but gave little information on how this can be done.

Developments such as retreating glaciers and declining amounts of snow in alpine regions, thinning Arctic sea ice during the summer show that climate change is already on the march, it says.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference due to be begin on December 3 is to set a "roadmap" of negotiations for intensifying cuts in carbon emissions beyond 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol runs out.

The details of the 20-page summary report supported by a 70-page technical document was outlined by negotiators from more than 140 countries over five days.


As far as i can make out - the planet is fighting back
We've waged war on her- a war of greed
And now she says "Enough"

If the human race fails to 'grow up' spiritually and start taking some responsibility for itself - the planet will take things into her own hands and deal out her own kind of justice.

Take a good long look at a dino's empty skull if you think humanity is invincible

We don't own the Earth - we belong to her - and we get to stay around as long as she wants us -

If there is one greedy bastard in the life boat, who steals all the food for himself when the others are asleep - what's the answer?

The environment is about harmony - not hegemony
(20% of the world's top industrial countries using up 80% of the world's resources)

If ever there was a time to end poverty and the war machine - it is now. We should be joining together as a species - to figure a way around this thing.

We have our paradise right here now, on earth
It doesn't get any better than this
Why destroy this for future generations?

It is shameful
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