Just 4 of 90 Most-Important Environmental Goals Show Significant Progress: UNEP

coral reef fish photoNOAA National Ocean Service/CC BY-SA 2.0

Just as scientists warn that global ecological collapse is possible if biodiversity continues to decline as it has been, UNEP releases a new report showing how little progress we've made in reducing humanity's impact on the world around us.

UNEP's Global Environment Outlook says that of the 90 most-important, international agreed upon, environment goals, significant progress has been made on just four of them. Four. Of Ninety.

Where we've collectively actually given a damn about the environment we depend upon, that is cared about our own health and wellbeing in the macrocosm, is in eliminating the production and use substances depleting the ozone layer, getting rid of leaded fuels, increasing research into reducing pollution in oceans, and increasing access to clean water supplies (the last of those has some debate as to whether progress has actually been made).

Going down the list of lack of progress: for 40 goals "some progress" was made, "little or no progress" was made on 24 more (climate change, declining fish stocks, and desertification fall in this category), and on 14 goals we simply don't have the data.

Which leaves 8 goals where things have gotten worse (UNEP highlights the state of coral reefs here).

UNEP director Achim Steiner says, perhaps too matter of factly given the potential effects (um, civilizational collapse, even if it takes a couple generations):

If current trends continue, if current patterns of production and consumption of natural resources prevails and cannot be reversed...then governments will preside over unprecedented levels of damage and degradation.

Delve into all the details: Global Environment Outlook 5, or Measuring Progress (the scorecard version of the report).

Tags: Biodiversity | Coral Reefs | Global Climate Change | United Nations


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