Without nature’s help, “we will not thrive or even survive”, the UN chief said on Thursday, launching a major report on the environment.
“For too long, we have been waging a senseless and suicidal war on nature. The result is three interlinked environmental crises”, Secretary-General António Guterres told a virtual press briefing on the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report, Making Peace with Nature.
Pointing to climate disruption, biodiversity loss and pollution, which “threaten our viability as a species”, he detailed their cause as “unsustainable production and consumption”. “Human well-being lies in protecting the health of the planet”, said Mr. Guterres.
According to the UNEP report, the world can tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution crises together, but the UN chief said that these interlinked crises require “urgent action from the whole of society”. Noting that some two-thirds of global CO2 emissions are linked to households, he underscored that “people’s choices matter”. He explained that “we are overexploiting and degrading the environment on land and sea. The atmosphere and the oceans have become dumping grounds for our waste. And governments are still paying more to exploit nature than to protect it”.
The report shows that the global economy has grown nearly fivefold in the past five decades, but at massive cost to the environment. The report spotlighted the importance of changing mindsets to find political and technical solutions that equal the environmental crises.
“The path to a sustainable economy exists – driven by renewable energy, sustainable food systems and nature-based solutions. It leads to an inclusive world at peace with nature”, said Mr. Guterres, emphasizing that “this is the vision we must all adopt”. The UN chief encouraged everyone to use the report to “re-evaluate and reset our relationship with nature”.
Making Peace with Nature draws on global assessments, including those from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), UNEP reports and new findings on the emergence of zoonotic diseases, such as COVID-19.
The first UNEP synthesis report is titled: “Making Peace With Nature: A scientific blueprint to tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution emergencies” and is based on evidence from global environmental assessments.
The resulting synthesis communicates how climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution can be tackled jointly within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. The report serves to translate the current state of scientific knowledge into crisp, clear and digestible facts-based messages that the world can relate to and follow up on. [more]
Posted on: 19 February 2021