Global Environment Outlook
19th Mar, 2019
The sixth Global Environment Outlook, recently released by United Nations Environment Programme at UN Environment Conference in Nairobi.
More on news:
- Report is another stark warning that the world is unsustainably extracting resources and producing unmanageable quantities of waste.
- The theme of the report is “Healthy Planet, Healthy People,” with a focus on highlighting the damages that has been done and will likely to impact the human civilization on planet earth.
- The GEO draws on hundreds of data sources to calculate the environmental impact on over 100 diseases.
Global Environment Outlook:
- It is often referred to as UN Environment’s flagship environmental assessment.
- Its first publication was in 1997.
- It is a flagship report because it fulfils the core functions of the organization, which date back to the UN Environment Programme in 1972.
- It is a consultative and participatory process to prepare an independent assessment of the state of the environment.
- It provides a platform to analyse the effectiveness of the policy response to address these environmental challenges and the possible pathways to be achieve various internationally agreed environmental goals.
Highlights of the report:
- GEO-6 estimates that the top 10% of populations globally, in terms of wealth, are responsible for 45% of GHG emissions, and the bottom 50% for only 13%.
- A quarter of all premature deaths and diseases worldwide are due to manmade pollution and environmental damage. Poor environmental conditions "cause approximately 25 per cent of global disease and mortality" - around 9 million deaths in 2015 alone
- Deadly smog-inducing emissions, chemicals polluting drinking water, and the accelerating destruction of ecosystems crucial to the livelihoods of billions of people are driving a worldwide epidemic that hampers the global economy.
- Despite the Paris Agreement 2015 which aims keeping the global temperature below 1.5 degree Celsius to that of pre-industrial level, health impacts of pollution, deforestation and the mechanised food-chain are less well understood.
- Lacking access to clean drinking supplies, 1.4 million people die each year from preventable diseases such as diarrhoea and parasites linked to pathogen-riddled water and poor sanitation.
- Chemicals pumped into the seas cause "potentially multi-generational" adverse health effects, and land degradation through mega-farming and deforestation occurs in areas of Earth home to 3.2 billion people.
- The report says air pollution causes 6-7 million early deaths annually.
- Unchecked use of antibiotics in food production will see drug-resistant superbugs become one of the largest causes of premature death by mid-century.
- Food waste accounts for 9 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
- The “grow now, clean up later approach” in most parts of the world “has not factored in climate change, pollution or degradation of natural systems. This approach has also contributed to increasing inequality within and between countries.
Pointers for India
- India could save at least $3 trillion (?210 trillion approx.) in healthcare costs if it implemented policy initiatives consistent with ensuring that the globe didn’t heat up beyond 1.5 degrees celsius by the turn of the century.
- Air pollution killed about 1.24 million in India in 2017.
- As India’s population grows, it must worry that agricultural yields are coming under stress due to increase in average temperature and erratic monsoons.
- The implications of these forecasts for food security and health are all too evident, more so for the 148 million people living in severe weather ‘hotspots’.
- The task before India is to recognise the human cost of poorly enforced environment laws and demonstrate the political will necessary to end business-as-usual policies.
- It would mean curbing the use of fossil fuels and toxic chemicals across the spectrum of economic activity.