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article imageReport: Time to prevent severe effects of climate change is now

By Karen Graham     Mar 14, 2019 in Environment
Human activities are degrading the global environment at a pace that could endanger the "ecological foundations of society" and human health, according to a landmark United Nations report released Wednesday.
The United Nations released its sixth Global Environment Outlook (2019) on Wednesday at a U.N. conference in Nairobi, Kenya. The 740-page report paints a dire picture of a planet that is sick with multiple and worsening environmental ills that are killing millions of people every year.
The report urges policymakers worldwide to work toward drastically cutting carbon emissions, improving water management and reducing pollution because it is possible for us to achieve a future that supports humanity — so there is hope, but it will take transformative change on a global scale.
“There is every reason to be hopeful,” report co-editors Joyeeta Gupta and Paul Ekins told The Associated Press in an email. “There is still time but the window is closing fast.”
Gupta and Ekins, environmental scientists in Amsterdam and London, said air pollution annually kills seven million people worldwide and costs society about $5 trillion. Water pollution, with associated diseases, kills another 1.4 million.
World leaders have been trying to breathe new life into the Paris climate agreement amid backsliding...
World leaders have been trying to breathe new life into the Paris climate agreement amid backsliding from several nations -- most notably the United States
Oliver Berg, dpa/AFP/File
Climate Change
“Time is running out to prevent the irreversible and dangerous impacts of climate change,” the report says. The world needs to realize that the cost of mitigating climate change is expensive, at $22 trillion. But reducing carbon emissions combined with the health benefits afforded by cleaning up air pollution could yield approximately $54 trillion in savings, according to the report.
The report also warns that if nothing is done to reduce greenhouse gasses, global temperatures will exceed the threshold of warming — another 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (one degree Celsius) above current temperatures.
Climate change impacts
Greenhouse gas emissions and climate change are intertwined in ways that affect our environment, health, pollution, weather extremes, and the list goes on, but it also shows how interconnected everything actually is.
n Somalia  some 363 000 children under five are malnourished  of whom 71 000 are severely malnourish...
n Somalia, some 363,000 children under five are malnourished, of whom 71,000 are severely malnourished and face a high risk of disease and death.
We are already experiencing a global major extinction of animals and plants, a soaring world population that will soon reach 10 billion people. We have degraded land, polluted air, and plastics, toxic chemicals, and pesticides in our water. All this is making our planet an unhealthy place to live.
The report concludes “unsustainable human activities globally have degraded the Earth’s ecosystems, endangering the ecological foundations of society.” To better understand what this means, the authors are talking about global health and related environmental challenges our planet is facing today.
“The report provides a road map to move beyond ‘doom and gloom’ and rally together to face the challenges and take the future in our hands,” said former U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief Jane Lubchenco, who wasn’t part of the report. “This is an all-hands-on-deck moment.”
More about Climate change, un report, Global Environment Outlook 6, ecological foundations, Environment
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