UN Report Paints Grim Portrait of Planet's Future

Environmental decline spurs poverty, disease
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2007 4:08 PM CDT
Achim Steiner of Germany, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, addresses the media in this photo from June. Steiner's group has issued a grim report on the world's environment....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A major UN report says the health and wealth of millions of people around the world are at risk because of worsening environmental problems, BBC reports. The UN report cited deforestation, overfishing, shortages of drinking water, and rising greenhouse gas levels among the biggest problems. And it criticized a "remarkable lack of urgency" to fix them.

"This assault on the global environment risks undermining the many advances human society has made in recent decades," wrote UN chief  Ban Ki-moon. The nearly 500-page report isn't all grim; Amazonian deforestation is slowing and Western Europe's air is getting cleaner. But the negatives far outweigh the positives. "There have been enough wakeup calls," says UN environmental official Achim Steiner.