New Delhi: The Asia-Pacific area is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions globally and the region will contribute to around 40 percent of global carbon emissions by 2015, according to a UN report released Wednesday.
The fifth edition of the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5), launched ahead of the Rio+20 UN Summit on sustainable development, has assessed 90 of the most important environmental goals and found that significant progress had been made only in the case of four objectives.
The assessment was coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
According to the report, rapid economic growth over the past 20 years, particularly in the larger economies in the Asia-Pacific region, has been accompanied by increasing emissions of greenhouse gases and degradation of natural capital.
“A business as usual scenario suggests that the region will contribute around 40 percent of global CO2 emissions by 2015,” the report says.
It also states that the world continued to speed down an unsustainable path despite over 500 internationally agreed goals and objectives for sustainable management of the environment and improving human well being.
The goals include eliminating production and use of substances that deplete the ozone layer, removal of lead from fuel, increasing access to improved water supplies and boosting research to reduce pollution of the marine environment.
Some progress was shown in 40 goals, including in the expansion of protected areas such as National Parks, and in efforts to reduce deforestation. However, little or no progress was detected for 24 goals, including those of climate change, drought and desertification.
The report cautions that if humanity does not urgently change its ways, several critical thresholds may be exceeded, beyond which abrupt and generally irreversible changes to the life-support functions of the planet could occur.
“If current trends continue, if current patterns of production and consumption of natural resources prevail and cannot be reversed, then governments will preside over unprecedented levels of damage and degradation,” said UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner.