"Billions of people will be condemned to poverty and much of civilization will collapse" - that's what the biggest single report to look at the future of the planet has predicted due to climate change.
The stark warning from the report has been obtained by The Independent, ahead of its official publication next month.
AdvertisementThe impact of the global recession is a key theme in the report, with researchers warning that global clean energy, food availability, poverty and the growth of democracy around the world are at "risk of getting worse due to the recession".
"Too many greedy and deceitful decisions led to a world recession and demonstrated the international interdependence of economics and ethics," the report added.
Although the future has been looking better for most of the world over the past 20 years, the global recession has lowered the State of the Future Index for the next 10 years.
Half the world could face violence and unrest due to severe unemployment combined with scarce water, food and energy supplies and the cumulative effects of climate change, according to the report.
"The scope and scale of the future effects of climate change - ranging from changes in weather patterns to loss of livelihoods and disappearing states - has unprecedented implications for political and social stability," it added.
The immediate problems are rising food and energy prices, shortages of water and increasing migrations due to political, environmental and economic conditions, which could plunge half the world into social instability and violence.
Organized crime is flourishing, with a global income estimated at 3 trillion dollars, which is twice the military budget of all countries in the world combined.
The effects of climate change are worsening, with predictions suggesting that by 2025, there could be three billion people without adequate water as the population rises still further.
Massive urbanization, increased encroachment on animal territory, and concentrated livestock production could trigger new pandemics.
Although government and business leaders are responding more seriously to the global environmental situation, it continues to get worse, according to the report.
It calls on governments to work to 10-year plans to tackle growing threats to human survival, targeting particularly the US and China, which need to apply the sort of effort and resources that put men on the Moon.
"This is not only important for the environment; it is also a strategy to increase the likelihood of international peace. Without some agreement, it will be difficult to get the kind of global coherence needed to address climate change seriously," it concluded.
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