In 1992, global leaders gathered in Rio de Janeiro and made a pledge to protect Earth’s climate and biodiversity.Now scientists are lining up to explain just how badly that pledge has failed. Ahead of the June 20-22 Rio+20 conference, significant progress has been made on only four of 90 of the most important environmental goals set down 20 years ago.
Three recent reports from the The Royal Society’s ‘People and the Planet,’ The World Wildlife Fund’s ‘Living Planet 2012,’ and the UN’s own Global Environmental Outlook argue that climate change, population growth and environmental destruction are driving the Earth toward an irreversible collapse.
We’ve gone through the reports and chosen the most alarming charts and diagrams.
OVERPOPULATION: The UN estimates that human population will reach between 8 and 11 billion by 2050 (and two out of three people will live in a city)
Most of that growth will occur in the least developed countries where food and clean water are already in demand
OVER-CONSUMPTION: The WFF report found that the world needs 1.5 years to replenish the natural resources that humans consume in a single year
BIODIVERSITY LOSS: The depletion of renewable resources and the accumulation of waste destroys ecosystems
The WWF reported that coral reefs declined 38 per cent since 1980 and overall there was a 28 per cent reduction in global biodiversity between 1970 and 2008
WATER SCARCITY: The FAO recently reported that by 2025 two-thirds of the world's population could be living under water-stressed conditions
CLIMATE CHANGE: The WWF reported that the current rate of climate change exceeds the rate during the end of the last Ice Age (12,000 years ago)
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