decline 'far worse' than official estimates
Global Water Supplies to Drop By 30% in Next 20 Years
paper - OECD's grim warning on climate change
Vidal in Johannesburg
Monday August 28, 2002
The UK Guardian
The real level of world inequality and environmental
degradation may be far worse than official estimates,
according to a leaked document prepared for the world's
richest countries and seen by the Guardian.
new estimates that the world lost almost 10% of its forests
in the past 10 years; that carbon dioxide emissions leading
to global warming are expected to rise by 33% in rich
countries and 100% in the rest of the world in the next
18 years; and that more than 30% more fresh water will
be needed by 2020.
paper for last month's Organisation for Economic Co-operation
and Development pre-Johannesburg meeting on sustainable
development draws on many previously unseen UN, World
Bank, World Trade Organisation, and academic papers.
the governments of the world's 22 richest nations who
make up the OECD have seen the document, many of the calculations
are new and considerably different from their own.
that less than 0.1% of of the average income of the 22
members of the OECD actually finds its way to the world's
low income countries and just 0.05% went to the least
developed countries. Recent US and EU initiatives, it
says, "will not meet targets at any time soon".
for environmental protection and basic social services
has declined to less than 15% of all aid compared with
35% at the time of the last earth summit in 1992.
paper calculates that rich countries now subsidise their
industries by up to $1,000m a year, including more than
$300bn in agriculture. This, it says, is having increasing
effects on the development of poor countries. and on environmental
degradation. If unrestricted market access were given
to just the four richest economies in the world, it would
increase per capita incomes of more than 2 billion people
in the world's most populated countries by 4% a year.
the paper finds that foreign assistance from western European
countries, including private funding and direct investment
encouraged through national policies, was more globally
oriented in 1900 than it is today.
that if the EU, Canada, Japan and the US allowed migrants
to make up 4% of their workforce, the returns to poor
countries could be $160bn to 200bn a year - far more than
any debt relief could provide.
calculations of environmental degradation suggest the
many conventions, treaties and intergovernmental agreements
signed in the past decade have had little or no effect
on stopping the rush for timber and mineral resources
in the developing world and that extinction of species
is now reaching 11% of birds, 18%-24% of mammals, 5% of
fish, and 8% of plants.
next 18 years, says the report, global energy use is expected
to expand by more than 50%, and by more than 100% in China,
east Asia and the former Soviet Union. Transport is by
then expected to account for more than half of global
fossil fuel resource base is expected to be sufficient
to meet demand to 2020 though problems beyond that point
are foreseen for natural gas and possibly oil," the report
that OECD countries subsidise the emission of global warming
gases by $57bn - almost exactly what the report estimates
it would cost to meet international targets. The paper
suggests that investing the money in reducing climate
change emissions would have next to no effect on the global
economy. "Through the provision of subsidies on fossil
fuels governments are effectively subsidising pollution
and global warming as more than 60% of all subsidies flow
to oil, coal and gas."
and development groups yesterday reacted to the report
world knows this is happening," said the chair of Friends
of the Earth International, Ricardo Navarrez. "We in poor
countries have always known the climate is changing, aid
does not come, and the poor are getting poorer. The richest
countries are here in Johannesburg to keep the system
Depleted resources: Key facts from OECD report
Global water withdrawals are expected to rise 31% by 2020
Most groundwater resources are being replenished at a
rate of between 0.1% and 0.5%
Nearly 50% of all fish stocks are fully exploited, 20%
Only 2% of global fisheries is recovering from overfishing
On current trends by 2025 15% of all forest species will
60% of the world's population lives in ecologically vulnerable
3 million people die each year due to air pollution and
5 million due to unsafe water
80% of global finance flows went to rich countries in
2000, with the entire African continent receiving less
than 1% of direct foreign investment
In 1914 40% of western European investment went to Africa,
Latin America and Asia. In 1990 less than 20% went to