A UN report examining population increase concludes that, by 2030, just 18 years from now, we'll need 50% more food, 45% more energy and 30% more water to meet humanity's needs. Secretary general Ban ki-Moon said "We need to chart a new, more sustainable course for the future, one that strengthens equality and economic growth while protecting our planet."
Strengthening equality, a term that, to some, is code for sharing, perhaps even rationing among nations and peoples. The UN panel calls for a transition from "unsustainable lifestyles, production and consumption patterns." If you don't think that's aimed at you, think again.
An interesting recommendation is a new way of valuing and pricing goods and services incorporating the full environmental and social costs of production and consumption.
It's difficult to see how this could possibly work. It would necessitate some transfer of wealth and resources and a broad based sharing of economic and political powers with the poorest and most vulnerable states. The recent fiscal meltdown has already left people in the West feeling set upon. How willing could they possibly be to accept gratuitous transfers of wealth and power for the sake of sustainable growth elsewhere?
The one thing the UN panel can't address is where to find the will, public and political, at local, national and global levels necessary to pull this off. It's hard to see that the world the panel needs in order to make this happen is or will become a reality within the relatively small window available to effect these changes.
If there's one thing that this report is probably right about it's that, by 2030, mankind will need 50% more food, 45% more energy and 30% more water. Using that baseline, try to imagine what the world of 2030 is going to look like without those essentials.