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HUMAN EXISTENCE IS AT REAL AND IMMINENT RISK – Maurice Strong

Posted on 01 December 2009 by admin

NOVEMBER 2009 (IPS) – The current economic and climate change crises are both rooted in the unsustainable nature of the existing economic system. The rapid and unexpected economic meltdown, which began in the United States and quickly spread throughout the world demonstrated dramatically that the phenomenon of globalization and interdependence has a dramatic downside of shared risks and vulnerability, writes Maurice Strong, Secretary General of the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, first Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and Secretary General of the 1992 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment.

China and the US combined produce some 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. China has now surpassed the US as the main source of carbon emissions; but it is still well behind in per capita terms. The average Chinese produces only one-fifth as much in carbon emissions as the average American. Indeed, since the dawn of the industrial revolution, the US has generated more than 1.1 trillion tons of carbon emissions from fossil fuels compared to China’s 300 billion tons.

There are immense opportunities for China and the US to reduce their carbon emissions through increased energy efficiency.

(*) Maurice Strong was the Secretary General of the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, first Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and Secretary General of the 1992 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment ( http://www.mauricestrong.net).

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