The OECD has published a report where it stresses that environmental degradation could lead to "irreversible changes that could endanger two centuries of living standards". This approach is based on four themes: climate change, biodiversity, water and the impact of pollution on health.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has recently published the OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050: the Consequences of Inaction, where it warns that environmental degradation will continue until 2050 if natural resources are not management correctly. The report stresses that well-designed policies can reverse the trends of degradation and erosion of the environment and considers some measures that may help to stop them, such as allocating value and price to natural assets and ecosystem services, removing environmentally harmful subsidies, devising effective regulations and standards, or encouraging green innovation.
The report aims to identify the possible social and environmental consequences of the current inaction, in other words, the lack of new policies and continuing socio-economic trends over the coming four decades.
Poor environmental outlook for 2050
Under the 2050 scenario, pressures on the environment from population growth and rising living standards will outpace progress in pollution abatement and resource efficiency. In fact, by 2050, the world’s population is expected to increase from 7 billion to over 9 billion, 70% of whom will live in cities and will consume 80% more energy than at present.
Therefore, the OECD outlook foresees continued degradation and erosion of natural environment capital, "with the risk of irreversible changes that could endanger two centuries of rising living standards. The report's forecasts thus include that climate change will be more obvious and the global average temperature will increase between 3ºC and 6ºC towards the end of the century.
16 April, 2012.