Saturday, July 23, 2016

Rise in Plunder of Earth’s Natural Resources

New UN report warns that the threefold increase in extraction of the Earth’s primary materials will intensify climate change, increase air pollution and reduce biodiversity.

Landscape deeply scarred by an open cut coal mine in Hunter Valley, Australia. [Image Credit: Max Phillips (Jeremy Buckingham MLC) via Flickr] Click to Enlarge.
Humans’ appetite for gnawing away at the fabric of the Earth itself is growing prodigiously.  According to a new UN report, the amount of the planet’s natural resources extracted for human use has tripled in 40 years.

A report produced by the International Resource Panel (IRP), part of the UN Environment Program, says rising consumption driven by a growing middle class has seen resources extraction increase from 22 billion tonnes in 1970 to 70 billion tonnes in 2010.

It refers to natural resources as primary materials, and includes under this heading biomass, fossil fuels, metal ores and non-metallic minerals.

The increase in their use, the report warns, will ultimately deplete the availability of natural resources − causing serious shortages of critical materials and risking conflict.

Growing primary material consumption will affect climate change mainly because of the large amounts of energy involved in extraction, use, transport and disposal.

Read more at Rise in Plunder of Earth’s Natural Resources

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