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10/30/2007

Environmental failures 'put humanity at risk'

Each person requires a third more land for his or her needs than the planet can supply, says the study. Photograph: Corbis


The future of humanity has been put at risk by a failure to address environmental problems including climate change, species extinction and a growing human population, according to a new UN report.

In a sweeping audit of the world's environmental wellbeing, the study by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warns that governments are still failing to recognise the seriousness of major environmental issues.

The study, involving more than 1,400 scientists, found that human consumption had far outstripped available resources. Each person on Earth now requires a third more land to supply his or her needs than the planet can supply, it finds.

Meanwhile, biodiversity is seriously threatened by the impact of human activities: 30% of amphibians, 23% of mammals and 12% of birds are under threat of extinction, while one in 10 of the world's large rivers runs dry every year before it reaches the sea.

The report - entitled Global Environment Outlook: Environment for Development - reviews progress made since a similar study in 1987 which laid the groundwork for studying environmental issues affecting the planet.

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