UNEA-6 Reflects on Planetary Crisis

Published on the sidelines of the sixth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-6), the Global Resources Outlook 2024 has outlined how excess resource use is contributing to climate change, nature loss and pollution. The extraction and processing of material resources like fossil fuels and minerals now account for over 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 40% of particulate matter health-related impacts, the report co-authored by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Resource Panel (IRP) revealed. “If land-use change is considered, climate impacts grow to more than 60%, with biomass contributing the most (28%), followed by fossil fuels (18%) and then non-metallic minerals and metals together (17%),” it further stated. Material use increased by more than three times over the last 50 years, having grown by an average of 2.3% per year, with high-income countries using six times more materials per capita compared to low-income countries. High-income states are also responsible for ten times more climate impacts per capita. Against this background, the UNEP and IRP argued that increased resource efficiency and supporting policies must be put in place to reduce material use and “dramatically reduce” subsequent environmental impacts, while improving well-being and boosting economic growth. Separately, several heads of state and governments at the conference called for greater cooperation on the environment. “This assembly plays a vital role in driving environmental action,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “Please, take this chance to drive multilateral solutions.” 

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