Worldwatch's vital signs paints a dismal picture.September 24, 2007
The Worldwatch Institute The Worldwatch Institute is a globally-focused environmental research organization. Based in Washington, D.C., the institute was founded in 1974 by Lester Brown. Christopher Flavin is the current president. last week released "Vital Signs 2007-2008," its annual rundown on environmental trends shaping our future--and the news is not good. Only six of the 44 environmental trends the organization tracks were positive developments, with 28 categorized by Worldwatch as "pronouncedly bad." Some of the more disturbing findings: meat production hit a record 304 million tons--or 95 pounds per person--in 2006; soybean soybean, soya bean, or soy pea, leguminous plant (Glycine max, G. soja, or Soja max) of the family Leguminosae (pulse family), native to tropical and warm temperate regions of Asia, where it has been plantations could displace 54 million acres of forest and savanna savanna or savannah (both: səvăn`ə), tropical or subtropical grassland lying on the margin of the trade wind belts. over the next two decades; humans ate three times as much seafood per person in 2004 than in 1950; and the world's forests lost more wood in 2005 than ever before.
Beyond these individual flashpoints, though, the biggest issue, as outlined by the report, is climate change. Worldwatch warns that the warming climate is undermining biodiversity by accelerating habitat loss, altering the timing of animal migrations and plant flowerings, raising sea levels, and intensifying weather-related disasters and coastal erosion Coastal erosion see also (beach evolution) is the wearing away of land or the removal of beach or dune sediments by wave action, tidal currents, wave currents, or drainage. , among other effects. The findings underscore what the group terms an "urgent need to check consumption of energy and other resources that are contributing to the climate crisis, starting with the largest polluter, the U.S., which accounted for over 21 percent of global carbon emissions from fossil fuel fossil fuel: see energy, sources of; fuel.
Any of a class of materials of biologic origin occurring within the Earth's crust that can be used as a source of energy. Fossil fuels include coal, petroleum, and natural gas. burning in 2005." (According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (Dutch: Milieu en Natuur Planbureau) is a Dutch research institute that advises the Dutch government on environmental policy issues. , however, China has surpassed the U.S. as a greenhouse gas emitter, producing 6,200 million metric tons in 2006, compared to a U.S. figure of 5,800 million metric tons.)
Vital Signs Project Director Erik Assadourian is calling on Europe, which has been hit hard in recent years by deadly fires, floods and heat waves likely intensified if not sparked by global warming, to pressure the U.S. to mandate emissions reductions.
"The world is running out of time to head off catastrophic climate change, and it is essential that Europe and the rest of the international community bring pressure to bear on U.S. policymakers to address the climate crisis," said Assadourian at the Vital Signs launch event last week. "The U.S. must be held accountable for its emissions, double the per capita [Latin, By the heads or polls.] A term used in the Descent and Distribution of the estate of one who dies without a will. It means to share and share alike according to the number of individuals. level in Europe, and should follow the EU lead by committing to reducing its total greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050."
Sources: Worldwatch Institute; Planet Ark