The United Nations and the OECD push for greater efforts in resource efficiency
Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks has called for putting a stop to resource waste. “Unless resource use is transformed worldwide, we will not be able to stay below the two degree limit on global warming, nor will we attain the UN’s sustainable development goals,” Hendricks said on the sidelines of the G7 environment ministers’ meeting in Toyama, Japan. UNEP’s International Resource Panel (IRP) and the OECD presented Hendricks and her Japanese counterpart, Minister Marukawa, with their latest scientific studies on resource conservation. The OECD and the IRP warn that global raw material consumption will at least double by 2050 if the current trend continues unchecked. “This would come coupled with considerable environmental problems related to CO2 emissions and loss of biodiversity,” Hendricks explained. “The studies clearly show that we have to do more. I advocate resource efficiency in every part of the value chain, from raw materials extraction all the way to recycling.”
The reports also support the idea that more effective use of raw materials and other natural resources will have significant advantages for the economy and the environment. Ambitious resource efficiency and climate policies could stabilise global resource consumption by 2050 and simultaneously boost incomes and economic growth, according to the IRP. The UNEP International Resource Panel brings together senior scientists from all over the world to discuss issues related to resource conservation.
During its G7 presidency in 2015, the German government placed resource efficiency on the G7 summit agenda for the first time. At the summit, held at Schloss Elmau, the heads of state and government commissioned the IRP and the OECD to investigate the most promising solutions for and approaches to resource efficiency. Their reports were presented today on the occasion of the G7 environment ministers’ meeting in Japan.