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  1. 1
    075247

    Environment, population and sustainable development.

    Conable BB

    [Unpublished] 1989. 7 p.

    The World Bank President at a meeting of the World Resources Institute in 1989 addressed the issues of World Bank accomplishments, public awareness, industrial nations' responsibilities, and the link of poverty to population and the environment. Collective responsibility is urged. The cumulative effect of human activity will determine the fate of the planet. The World Bank has created a central Environment Department. Staff assigned full time to environmental issues has increased to 65 over 3 years. Environmental Issues Papers have been prepared for the most active borrowers, which in August 1989 included 70 countries. The Environmental Technical Assistance Program has US$5 million to distribute for environmental projects. Regional studies in an Asian urban environmental clean up and a Mediterranean environmental project were initiated and jointly funded with the European Investment Bank. By June 30, 1989, more than 100 projects with environmental components will be approved for funding, which is 35% of total yearly projects. 60% of all agricultural projects funded have environmental components. Funding for forestry projects is expected to double to US$950 million in the next 3 years, and US$1.3 million will be lent for environmental projects. Bringing environmental awareness to developing countries has been made difficult be fears that advanced countries are trying to impede economic development and to interfere with foreign sovereignty. Collective responsibility has not been agreed upon. Industrialized countries must be prepared to accept and remedy their own environmental shortcomings. 71% of industrial emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) comes from North America and Western Europe, which has only 8.2% of the world's population. Meanwhile, 7% of CO2 emissions come from developing countries, which have 70% of the world's population. The US produces 5 tons of CO2/person, while the world average is 1 ton/person. The US exports agricultural chemicals that are hazardous to human health. The US leads all industrial nations, except Canada, in energy use/unit of production of goods and services. 33% of all chlorofluorocarbons are released in the US. The population growth rate has a serious and life-threatening impact on human life. Natural resource constraints will limit growth. The solution is to provide family planning and expand the carrying capacities right now.
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  2. 2
    047690

    The earth's vital signs.

    Brown LR; Flavin C

    In: State of the world 1988. A Worldwatch Institute report on progress toward a sustainable society. New York, New York, W.W. Norton, 1988. 3-21.

    Most of the recognized threats to the world environment, such as the destruction of forests by acid rain, the ozone hole, population growth, energy use, and the greenhouse effect, have moved from hypothetical projections to present-day realities which can be solved only by international efforts. The Montreal accords of 1987 to limit the production of chlorofluorocarbons and the UN call for a cease-fire in the Iran-Iraq war were steps in this direction. But a look at the "vital signs" of the earth as expressed by environmental crises will show how much more is needed. Deforestation for agriculture and logging causes as estimated loss of 11 million hectares of forest each year. Deforestation means erosion. The topsoil layer, once 6-10 inches deep over the globe is being blown or washed away at the rate of 26 billion tons a year. The soil is not only being depleted, it is being contaminated by agricultural pesticides and toxic wastes. In Poland, for example, 1/4 of the soil is unfit for food production, and only 1% of the water is safe for drinking due to chemical contamination. The depletion of the ozone layer is no longer observed only in Antarctica; it has dropped up to 9% in North Dakota, Maine, and Switzerland. The loss of forests and the acidification of lakes and soil are causing whole species to become extinct. World population continues to grow, as each year 80 million more people are born than die. But the real problem is not population growth per se; it is the relationship between population size and the sustainable yield of local forests, grasslands, and croplands. In 1982 India's forests could sustain an annual harvest of 30 million tons of wood; the estimated demand was 133 million tons. In 9 Southern African countries the number of cattle exceed the carrying capacity of the grasslands by 50% to 100%. In India enough fodder is raised to supply only 50% to 80% of the needs of cattle. The results of deforestation, overgrazing and overplowing is desertification, which compounded by drought, brings famine. The relationship between population growth and land degradation is reflected in per capita food production. In China it has risen by 1/3 since 1970, but in Africa it has fallen by 1/5; and India, despite the Green Revolution, will have to import grain if there is another failure of the monsoons. Another indicator of environmental ill-health is energy consumption, which is again on the rise. Industrial use of oil and coal, especially in the US, the USSR, and China, has resulted in air pollution and acid rain, which by September 1987 had damaged 30.7 million hectares of forests in Europe. But by far the most serious result of the burning of fossil fuels and wood is the 7 billion tons of carbon discharged annually into the atmosphere, causing the greenhouse effect, which will raise the global temperature between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Celsius by year 2050. Patterns of World settlement and agriculture will change drastically; irrigation and drainage systems will have to be adjusted; and a rise in sea levels between 1.4 and 2.2 meters by year 2100 could inundate coastal cities. In view of these deteriorating "vital signs" of the planet, nations must work together to turn one earth into one world. The Montreal accord on ozone protection and the 1987 US-Soviet arms limitation were a good beginning. The greenhouse effect and the changing climate are logical candidates for the next round of world environmental deliberations.
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