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OECD Report Highlights Consequences of Inaction for the Environment

OECD15 March 2012: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published a new report, titled "OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Consequences of Inaction." The report presents the latest projections of socio-economic trends over the next four decades, and their implications for climate change, biodiversity, water and health impacts of environmental pollution.

The report, based on joint modeling by the OECD and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), looks to 2050 to ascertain the demographic and economic implications for the environment if more ambitious polices to manage natural assets sustainably fail to be introduced. Trends and projections for key environmental challenges without new polices include: growing GHG emissions; increasing evidence of a changing climate and its effects; continued loss of biodiversity from growing pressures from land use and climate change; steady decrease in primary forest area; over-exploitation or depletion of fish stocks; deterioration of surface water quantity in non-OECD countries; increase in premature deaths linked to urban air pollution; and high burden of disease from exposure to hazardous chemicals, particularly in non-OECD countries.

The report highlights policies that could improve outcomes but concludes that prospects are more alarming than prognoses in previous estimates, such as those presented in the "OECD Environmental Outlook to 2030." The current report emphasizes that urgent and holistic action is needed now to avoid the significant costs and consequences of inaction. The outlook presents achievable solutions, highlighting linkages between various environmental issues, and challenges and trade-offs created by competing demands. [Publication: OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050] [OECD News  release]