Jill Colgan in Washington
ABC News Online, January 31, 2012
A major United Nations report has called for a sustainable "evergreen revolution", warning that time is running out to ensure there is enough food, water and fuel to meet the needs of the world's rapidly growing population.
In a grim warning about the earth's increasing demand for resources, a panel led by the presidents of Finland and South Africa found demand will grow exponentially as the global population rises from 7 billion people to an expected 9 billion by 2040.
Within the next 20 years the world's population will need 50 per cent more food and vast new reserves of energy and water, according to UN estimates.
The report warns a failure to secure resources will condemn up to 3 billion people to poverty.
Billed as a blueprint for sustainability, the report urges governments to embrace green energy technologies and cut back on the use of non-renewable resources.
Its authors have urged governments to tackle sustainable development with a greater sense of urgency and political will.
"The current global development model is unsustainable. To achieve sustainability, a transformation of the global economy is required," the report said.
"Tinkering on the margins will not do the job. The current global economic crisis ... offers an opportunity for significant reforms."