U.N. Warns of Urgent Environmental Problems

By JAMES KANTER
The New York Times
October 26, 2007

The human population is living far beyond its means and inflicting damage to the environment that could pass points of no return, according to a major report being issued today by the United Nations.

Climate change, the rate of extinction of species, and the challenge of feeding a growing population are among the threats putting humanity at risk, according to the United Nations Environment Program in its fourth Global Environmental Outlook since 1997.

“The human population is now so large that the amount of resources needed to sustain it exceeds what is available at current consumption patterns,” Achim Steiner, the executive director of the Environment Program, said in a telephone interview. Efficient use of resources and reducing waste now are “among the greatest challenges at the beginning in of 21st century,” he said.

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