UN report: 'Urgent action' needed to protect human, environmental health

UN report: 'Urgent action' needed to protect human, environmental health
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A United Nations report released Wednesday issued a blunt warning about the effects of human activity on the Earth, projecting that air pollution and other environmental consequences could lead to the premature deaths of millions of people over the next few decades. 

The U.N. issued its sixth Global Environment Outlook, which is intended to help policymakers worldwide assess the state of the planet and layout environmental goals.

"The overall condition of the global environment has continued to deteriorate since the first edition of GEO, despite environmental policy efforts across all countries and regions," the report states. "Environmental policy efforts are being hindered by a variety of factors, in particular unsustainable production and consumption patterns in most countries and climate change."

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"Urgent action at an unprecedented scale is necessary to arrest and reverse this situation, thereby protecting human and environmental health and maintaining the current and future integrity of global ecosystems," the report continues. 

The 740-page report calls on international leaders to implement practices to reduce land degradation; cut down on air, land and water pollution; address climate change; and improve water and resource management.

Wednesday's report is the latest instance of the United Nations warning countries of the impending consequences of climate change.

António Guterres, the United Nations secretary general, told global leaders in September that the world has less than two years to avoid "runaway climate change."

A report issued in October by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that the world might be on a path toward catastrophic climate change if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t cut dramatically by 2030.

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association said 2018 was the fourth-hottest year on record by average temperature.

Environmental activists have criticized the Trump administration for cutting regulations and failing to adequately address the issue of climate change.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE has long cast doubt on the existence and effects of climate change. The president late last year downplayed a government report on the subject, telling reporters that he doesn't believe its warnings about the economic impacts of climate change.

On Tuesday, Trump shared a quote from a "Fox & Friends" guest who denied that climate change was caused by humans or that it is a threat.

Some Democrats have backed the Green New Deal championed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezTop Missouri newspaper condemns GOP's 'shameful silence' on Trump's 'racism' Restaurant in city where Trump rally held donating profits to immigrants Crowd chanting 'welcome home Ilhan' greets Omar at airport MORE (D-N.Y.) and other progressives have sought to combat climate change with a series of ambitious proposals.