The Challenge
Environmental Degradation

World remains on an unsustainable track

GEO-5 CoverOn June 6th, 2012, UNEP published the fifth edition of the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5). The GEO is published every 5 years, and assesses the current state of the global atmosphere, land, water and biodiversity.

The fifth edition focuses on the state of the environment in relation to 90 goals included in various international agreements. The report concludes that significant progress has been made in only 4 of these environmental goals, including reduction of ozone-depleting substances, removal of lead from fuel, and two others. Some progress was detected in 40 goals, limited or no progress in 24, including climate change, and further deterioration in 8 goals. No assessment was possible in 14 goals due to a lack of data.

Chapter 7 of the report, An Earth System Perspective, examines the interconnections between the different spheres of the Earth System, and concludes that 'critical thresholds are approaching or have been exceeded, beyond which abrupt and non-linear changes to the life-support functions of the planet could occur'.