‘There will be no tomorrow’: UN fears humanity’s greed will cause a climate change apocalypse

Humanity is gobbling up Earth’s resources at a rapidly increasing rate and it could spell doom for our species.

The UN has published a report which found that the extraction of resources has tripled since 1970, with a 45% increase in the use of fossil fuels.

It warned that ‘there will be no tomorrow’ unless urgent action is taken to curb our greedy exploitation of the natural world.

The ‘extraction and processing of materials, fuels and food’ is responsible for half of total greenhouse gas emissions and 90% of ‘biodiversity loss and water stress’, the UN warned in its Global Resources Outlook 2019 report.

Students in Cambridge city centre march against climate change (Photographer: Harry Hubbard /

This means society’s rapaciousness is putting our future as risk, as our pillage of the planet’s natural wealth is totally unsustainable.

‘We are ploughing through this planet’s finite resources as if there is no tomorrow, causing climate change and biodiversity loss along the way,’ said Joyce Msuya, acting executive director of UN Environment.

‘Frankly, there will be no tomorrow for many people unless we stop.’

Over the past five decades, the population has doubled and annual global extraction of materials grew from 27 billion tons to 92 billion tons.

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This will double again by 2060, the UN predicted.

Experts called for a huge change in the way our economy works, so we move away from making throw-away products to building stuff which can be repaired, reused or upgraded.

‘What is needed is a move from linear to circular flows through a combination of extended product life cycles, intelligent product design and standardization and reuse, recycling and remanufacturing,’ the report said.


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