Reports issued over the past few weeks remind us of the dramatic consequences of human intervention into ecosystems, and the terrifying prospects if we continue business as usual.
From the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development comes “Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Consequences of Inaction.” The report focuses on what it calls “red light” issues: climate change, biodiversity, freshwater and health impacts of pollution. The language of the summary is muted:
“Humanity has witnessed unprecedented growth and prosperity in the past decades, with the size of the world economy more than tripling and population increasing by over 3 billion people since 1970. This growth, however, has been accompanied by environmental pollution and natural resource depletion. The current growth model and the mismanagement of natural assets could ultimately undermine human development.”
Put more bluntly: If we don’t change our notions about economic growth, it’s “game over.”
News from conference in London reminds us of the specific threat from climate disruption. The headline on the news report says it all: “Global Warming Close to Becoming Irreversible.”
The key conclusion: “The world is close to reaching tipping points that will make it irreversibly hotter, making this decade critical in efforts to contain global warming, scientists warned on Monday.”
And, finally, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns of “such severe storms, droughts and heat waves that nations should prepare for an unprecedented onslaught of deadly and costly weather disasters.”