Nairobi: Extracting and processing materials, fuel and food contributes as much as half of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, the UN said on Tuesday, as experts gathered in Kenya to find ways to rein in exploding global consumption. Using dozens of data sources, the authors of a major new report presented lawmakers and businesses with a stark choice: drastically reform the global economy to get more from less, or risk the collapse of global infrastructure.
With countries already committed under the Paris climate deal to curb emissions to fend off the worst impacts of global warming, experts said there was little hope of meeting that goal without an “urgent and systemic transformation” in how we use Earth's resources.
The Global Resources Outlook 2019 said that worldwide consumption of basic commodities such as water, minerals and fossil fuels had tripled since 1970.
With high-population nations such as China and India rapidly expanding their economies, the team behind the report called for a drastic overhaul in how that growth is fed.
“Nobody is claiming that the countries which are on the lower level of development should not have the right to develop,” said Janez Potocnik, co-chair of the International Resource Panel. “The question is, is it possible to do it differently to how we have done it, with fewer consequences than we see today?” The report paints a grim picture of relentless demand for resources as the global population ticks towards eight billion people. In a message to lawmakers and heads of state due in Nairobi for Thursday's One Planet Summit, Potocnik said the time for vague political commitments on the environment had passed....