Environmental crunch 'worse than thought': OECD

Mar 15, 2012
Pressures on Earth's ecosystem are now so great that future generations could be doomed to falling living standards, the OECD said on Thursday in a report looking to the mid-century.

Pressures on Earth's ecosystem are now so great that future generations could be doomed to falling living standards, the OECD said on Thursday in a report looking to the mid-century.

"Providing for a further two billion people by 2050 and improving the living standards for all will challenge our ability to manage and restore those natural assets on which all life depends," it warned.

"Failure to do so will have serious consequences, especially for the poor, and ultimately undermine the growth and human development of ."

The report by the Organisation for and Development (OECD) builds on previous peeks-into-the-future, ending in 2030, that focused on climate change, biodiversity and the impacts on health for pollution.

"The prospects are more alarming than the situation described in the previous edition," it said, speaking of "irreversible changes that could endanger two centuries of rising living standards."

Carbon emissions from energy use are likely to rise by 70 percent by 2050, "locking in" more disruptive climate change, the OCED says.

The report made these points:

- CLIMATE CHANGE: from are likely to rise by 70 percent by 2050, "locking in" more disruptive . On present trends, the world's will be 3-6 degrees Celsius (5.4-10.8 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than in pre-industrial times, compared with the UN's target of 2 C (3.6 F).

To reach the 2 C (3.6 F) goal would cost only 0.2 percentage points in economic growth each year on average if starting today.

"This pales alongside the potential cost of inaction, which could be as high as 14 percent of average world consumption according to some estimates," the OECD warned.

In fact, previous estimates of the cost of climate action may be too high, as they fail to take into account its benefits in and new technology, it said.

Providing for a further two billion people by 2050 and improving the living standards for all will challenge humans' ability to manage and restore those natural assets on which all life depends, the OECD says

- BIODIVERSITY: is set to continue, especially in Asia, Europe and southern Africa.

According to a scientific benchmark called mean species abundance, diversity of land species is expected to fall by 10 percent by 2050 compared with today. Already about a third of freshwater species diversity has been lost.

"The current trend of declining biodiversity presents a threat to human welfare, and will be very costly," said the report. "The aggregate loss of biodiversity and ecosystem service benefits associated with the global loss of forests, for example, is estimated to be between $2 trillion and $5 trillion per year."

- HEALTH: No country will be spared worsening problems of air pollution, according to the OECD's scenarios. Levels in some cities, particularly in Asia, already far exceed World Health Organisation (WHO) safety limits.

"With growing transport and industrial air emissions, the global number of premature deaths linked to airborne particulate matter is protected to double to 3.6 million a year, with most deaths occurring in China and India," it said.

But rich countries, too, will be hit. Ground-level ozone -- a respiratory irritant caused by the reaction of traffic fumes with sunlight -- will be a danger to their ageing, highly urbanised populations.

Species loss is set to continue, especially in Asia, Europe and southern Africa, the OCED says. Diversity of land species is expected to fall by 10 percent by 2050 compared with today. Already about a third of freshwater species diversity has been lost.

The report, OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050, reissued appeals for a change in policy.

Pollution should be made more expensive, such as by scrapping environmentally-damaging subsidies for fossil fuels, it said.

And natural assets should carry a monetary value that is factored into pricing, so that their true worth is appreciated.

"Progress on an incremental, piecemeal, business-as-usual basis in the coming decades will not be enough," it said.

Explore further: Drought may take toll on Congo rainforest, study finds

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User comments : 13

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Howhot
4.2 / 5 (10) Mar 15, 2012
Unfortunately the Environmental Outlook is about where I thought it would be. Only when there is Summer in Chicago in March is something off enough that citizens notice.
Vendicar_Decarian
4.2 / 5 (10) Mar 16, 2012
The average high temperature in Chicago for today is 5'C. Today it was reached 21'C.

There was no climatological winter in the U.S. this year. At it's worst this winter was like a moderate fall or spring.

On the other hand, Europe has had a cold winter this year and on average the coldest winter months have been only around the 10'th warmest over the last 200 years or so.

Such rapid changes in weather are predictions made by the climate models.

This winter provides yet another confirmation of the climatological models.
Sinister1811
2.3 / 5 (18) Mar 16, 2012
This summer has definitely had its share of record heatwaves.
Birger
4.3 / 5 (11) Mar 16, 2012
Unfortunately, no amount of facts will have an effect on the denialbots.
kaasinees
2.6 / 5 (12) Mar 16, 2012
This summer has definitely had its share of record heatwaves.

Have followed the solar activity and solar flares? We have been hit by CME's since 8 march.

On the other hand, Europe has had a cold winter this year and on average the coldest winter months

Not sure about Europe as a whole but we only had a few weeks of minor snow. Although the temperature reached something like -15 degrees Celsius I think that is very cold for my country.
Anyway a cold winter is very normal in Europe.

Such rapid changes in weather are predictions made by the climate models.

Yep the rapid weather changes are not normal and it proves global warming. The solar activity and the greenhouse gasses combined are a horror for this planet. Hopefully life will adept and i think it has another chance to adept when we reach solar minimum. Or maybe not when the greenhouse gasses BLOCK the sun to much.. wich is likely.
Moebius
3.9 / 5 (12) Mar 16, 2012
Unfortunately, no amount of facts will have an effect on the denialbots.


The forces of stupidity and greed will win, that is the ultimate price of our foolish form of freedom. End of story.
Sinister1811
2.5 / 5 (18) Mar 16, 2012
Unfortunately, no amount of facts will have an effect on the denialbots.


Sounds like the denialbot Geokstr. Thanks for the 1 rating. ;)

But, yeah, Climate change is a reality, and it's only going to get worse unfortunately. Unless some kind of drastic action takes place, and there's a major shift in attitude.
Howhot
4.3 / 5 (6) Mar 17, 2012
Climate change should effect many things. Computer modeling has a number of scenarios from the weakest to the most extreme. This winter is one of the most extreme. Apparently the northern jet stream is weird, a la-nino still exists and weather weirdness is dominate.
Sinister1811
2.4 / 5 (17) Mar 17, 2012
Just thought I would add one more thing... Shelgeyr - Another AGW denialbot. Thanks for the 1 rating. :P
Osiris1
4 / 5 (5) Mar 17, 2012
Better look for more sources of energy or the new world will be a slave society rife with death. Like Steven Hawking said, we need new homes...or else. And all detractors and nay sayers to space travel will be in the future hung as economic saboteurs, just like Russia in 1926!
Vendicar_Decarian
4 / 5 (3) Mar 18, 2012
The time is fast coming for the hangings. Have your lists ready.

I will supply the rope.

I am not joking.
Gigel
4 / 5 (1) Mar 18, 2012
Banks'd better let the money flow and stop the "environmental crunch" nonsense. Where are the ocean colonies or the space habitations, where's the essential progress? I'd say they're buried deep under stock exchange games and banking risk operations. We're pretty good at taking money for a walk though.
Howhot
5 / 5 (1) Mar 19, 2012
I really do wonder what the "human" tipping point is before international demand for global change can modify the behavior of industry? Will the UN have to take action by security counsel resolutions to enforce strict CO2 limits? When will that happen? When Kansas City hits 140F in one of these weird climate swings we've seen this past year.

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