Tuesday, February 24, 2009

UNEP Year Book 2009

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has recently released "UNEP Year Book 2009: New science and developments in our changing environment". Achim Steiner, who is the UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, describes it as follows:
The Year Book, compiled at the request of the UNEP Governing Council, presents the hard facts and worrying trends while also underlining some of the transformational and innovative ideas already being piloted in both the developed and developing world.

"The Year Book serves as a reminder to the international community as to why a Green Economy is so urgently needed from the bubbling up of methane gas in the Arctic to the shrinking availability of croplands".

Some of the highlights include information on topics such as:


Over two billion tones of waste are being generated throughout the world annually.

Constuction and building

The built environment is currently responsible for 30-40% of the world's GHG emissions. It examines various efforts to improve their energy efficiency of the built environment such as:
  • 'dematerialism'
  • 'material substitution' and
  • 'industrial symbiosis' - the idea is to co-locate businesses and facilities in such a way that their wastes are raw materials for other nearby ones

Accounts for over 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.


Currently close to 880 million people lack adequate access to clean water and 2.5 billion are without improved sanitation in their homes. By 2030, close to four billion people could be living in areas suffering severe water stress.

Climate Change

In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated that sea levels might rise by between 18cm and 59cm in the coming century. But many researchers now believe the rise will be even higher in part as a result of new assessments of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. One study estimates a sea level rise of between 0.8 and 1.5 metres, while another suggests a sea level rise of two metres in the coming century from outflows of ice from Greenland alone. A one metre rise in sea levels world-wide would displace millions of people. Around 100 million people in Asia, mostly Bangladesh, eastern China and Vietnam; 14 million in Europe and eight million each in Africa and South America.

Anyway, you get the idea.

Worth a look !!

The UNEP Year Book 2009 can be found at:
It can be purchased at Earthprint at:
To read previous UNEP and GEO Year Books, visit:
For more information on UNEP's Green Economy Initiative, visit:
State of the World 2009
Gambling with climate change: MIT updates its climate gamble wheels
So please, tell us what you think.

No comments: