“For too long we have been waging a senseless and suicidal war against nature,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a press briefing Thursday presenting the report. “The result is three interrelated environmental crises: climatic disruption, loss of biodiversity and pollution that threaten our viability as a species.”
“We are destroying the planet, endangering our own health and prosperity,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, which released the report.
“At the current rate, warming will reach 1.5 ° C around 2040 and possibly sooner. Taken together, current national policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions put the world on the path to global warming. ‘at least 3 ° C by 2100 “, he says. .
Humans are already paying a bitter price, and not just in the form of increasingly extreme weather conditions. According to the report, a quarter of the global disease burden now comes from environmental risks, including diseases that emerge from growing proximity to wildlife – such as Covid-19, believed to be from bald people -mouse – and exposure to ours. toxic waste; pollution causes about 9 million premature deaths each year, according to the report.
Perhaps the time has come to change all that, as the world emerges from a pandemic that has revived business as usual. Governments considering broad policies to restart their economies could seize this unique historic moment to put the planet first, the report said. “The COVID-19 crisis provides the impetus to rethink how society can accelerate the transformation towards a sustainable future.”
The report offers suggestions to everyone, from governments to financial institutions to individuals, but its proposal for a new way of thinking about the environment and the global economy is on a civilizational scale.
“Economic and financial systems ignore the essential benefits that humanity derives from nature and do not provide incentives to manage nature wisely and maintain its value. (…) Conventional parameters such as gross domestic product (GDP) overestimate progress because they fail to adequately capture the costs of environmental degradation or reflect declining natural capital, ”he says. .
If humanity began to integrate the value of our environment – and the costs of its degradation to our health and safety – into economic activity, our decisions could be different, according to the report. “Excluding the value of nature diverts investments from economic solutions that conserve and restore nature, reduce pollution, develop renewable energies and make more sustainable use of resources while increasing prosperity and well-being . ”
Guterres put it this way: “Just to give you an example of how important this requirement for a change of mind is, even in the way we organize economic policies and economic data, we can see the growth of GDP when we overfish. We destroy nature, but we see it as an increase in wealth. “
He added: “We can see the growth in GDP when we cut down forests, and we destroy nature, and we destroy wealth, but we see that as growth in GDP.”
“There is indeed no precedent for what we need to do, but if 2020 were a disaster, then 2021 would be the year when humanity began to make peace with nature and ensured a just future. , fair and sustainable for all, ”he said.