With forests and fish stocks declining, water demand rising and lack of action on climate change, humanity’s path is anything but sustainable, the UN warns.
The Global Environmental Outlook says significant progress is seen on only four out of 90 environmental goals.
Meanwhile, a team of scientists warns that life on Earth may be on the way to an irreversible “tipping point”.
The UN Environment Programme (Unep) urges leaders to agree tough goals at this month’s Rio+20 summit.
Where governments have agreed specific treaties, it says, major change has transpired.
However, negotiations leading up to the summit appear mired in problems, with governments failing to find agreement since January on issues such as eliminating subsidies on fossil fuels, regulating fishing on the high seas and obliging corporations to measure their environmental footprint.
“GEO-5 reminds world leaders and nations meeting at Rio+20 why a decisive and defining transition towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient, job-generating ‘green economy’ is urgently needed,” said Achim Steiner, Unep’s executive director.
“If current trends continue, if current patterns of production and consumption of natural resources prevail and cannot be reversed, then governments will preside over unprecedented levels of damage and degradation.”