Extracting and processing materials, fuel and food contributes as much as half of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, the UN said Tuesday
Extracting and processing materials, fuel and food contributes as much as half of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, the UN said 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 use of climate-warming fossil fuels has increased worldwide from 6 billion tonnes in 1970 to 15 billion tonnes in 2017 despite decades of efforts to steer nations towards greener energy.
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.
“If you are in public office, defend public interest. And it’s clear what is public interest today: we have to survive.”