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19 February, 2021

5 Min Read

UNEP Report on Environmental crises

UNEP Report on Environmental crises

Introduction

  • Three environmental crises — climate change; nature loss; and the pollution of air, soil and water — add up to a planetary emergency that will cause far more pain than COVID-19 in the long-term.

UNEP Report

  • In 2020, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced that, despite a dip in greenhouse gas emissions caused by the pandemic, the world is still headed for global warming of more than 3°C this century.
  • The Dasgupta Review reminded us of what UNEP has long warned: the per capita stock of natural capital (the resources and services nature provides to humanity) has fallen by 40% in just over two decades.
  • A staggering nine out of 10 people worldwide breathe polluted air.

Towards a sustainable future

  • The UN has released the Making Peace with Nature report to guide decision-makers towards the action required.
  • Our environmental, social and economic challenges are interlinked.
    • They must be tackled together.
    • For example, we cannot achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 if climate change and ecosystem collapse are undermining food and water supplies in the world’s poorest countries.
    • We have no choice but to transform our economies and societies by valuing nature and putting its health at the heart of all our decisions.
    • If we did this, banks and investors would stop financing fossil fuels. Governments would shift trillions of dollars in subsidies to nature-positive farming and clean energy and water.
  • People would prioritise health and well-being over consumption and shrink their environmental footprint.

What must be done?

  • Net-zero emissions: The number of countries promising to work towards net-zero emissions stands at 126.
    • The ask is for all countries to deliver stretched nationally determined contributions ahead of the climate Conference of the Parties (COP) and immediately kickstart the transitions to net-zero.
    • At the climate COP, governments must also finally agree on the rules for a global carbon trading market.
    • The $100 billion that developed countries promised to provide every year to help developing nations cope with the impacts of climate change must finally flow.
  • Circular economic systems: We can create an amazing economy by moving to circular economic systems that reuse resources, reduce emissions and weed out the chemicals and toxins that are causing millions of premature deaths – all while creating jobs.

Conclusion

Governments must take the lead, starting with a smart and sustainable recovery from the pandemic that invests in the right places.

  • Govt. must create opportunities for future industries that generate prosperity.
  • Govt. must ensure that transitions are fair and equitable, creating jobs for those who lose out.

Source: TH

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