Global Environment Outlook (GEO-4)

Global Environment Outlook (GEO-4)

The fourth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-4), the most comprehensive United Nations assessment report on environment, development and human well-being has been officially launched at the UN Information Center.

See the BBC special report on the state of the planet in graphics. How many earths again?

Download the entire report (pdf, 21.9 mg).

United Nations Environment Programme brochures and reports

  • Over the last 20 years, the human population has increased by a third, global trade has tripled, and per capita income has gone up by 40%. Annual emissions of the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, have also increased by one third.
  • As the human population grows it has reached the point, the UN says, “where the amount of resources needed to sustain it exceeds what is available”.
  • Sixteen thousand species are threatened with extinction. Habitat loss is a major factor as many forests are cleared for agriculture. The UN estimates the global annual loss of primary forest is 50,000 km2.
  • The availability of fresh water will decline, according to the UN, who project that by 2025 1.8bn people will be affected by water scarcity. Sanitation is also a major issue, as contaminated water is the greatest single cause of human disease and death.
  • By the end of 2007 it is estimated that more people will live in cities than rural areas for the first time in history.

(Thanks to JR)


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