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World on Unsustainable Track, Says U.N.

rio10-conf-060712As world leaders prepare for the Rio+20 environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro, a United Nations report says that despite over 500 internationally agreed goals and objectives, the world continues to pursue an entirely unsustainable path.


The latest Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5) looks at 90 of the most critical, agreed goals and objectives, and concludes that significant progress has only been made in four of them.

According to the report, small progress has been made in 40 goals, including the expansion of protected areas such as National Parks and efforts to reduce deforestation.

Little or no progress was detected for 24 goals, including climate change, fish stocks, and desertification and drought.

And further deterioration was posted for eight goals including the state of the world‘s coral reefs while no assessment was made of 14 other goals due to a lack of data.

The report cautions that “if humanity does not urgently change its ways, several critical thresholds may be exceeded, beyond which abrupt and generally irreversible changes to the life-support functions of the planet could occur.”

“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,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

Is that likely to happen? We’ll see when the conference begins on June 20th.

A summary of the GEO-5 is here. And the full report is here.