Not the only global problem

Global warming is not the only global problem. There are other issues of a global scale; we need to see global warming in their context. Four problems of particular importance impact on the global warming issue.

The first is population growth. When I was born there were about 2000 million people in the world. At the beginning of the twenty-first century there were 6000 million. During the lifetime of my grandchildren it is likely to rise to 8000 or 9000 million.6 Most of the growth will be in developing countries; by 2020 they will contain over 80% of the world's people. These new people will all make


demands for food, energy and work to generate the means of livelihood - all with associated implications for global warming.

The second issue is that of poverty and the increasing disparity in wealth between the developed and the developing world. The gap between the rich nations and the poor nations is becoming wider. The net flow of wealth in the world is from the poorer nations to the richer ones. Increasingly there are demands that more justice and equity be realised within the world's communities. The Prince of Wales has drawn attention to the strong links that exist between population growth, poverty and environmental degradation (see box above).

The third global issue is that of the consumption of resources, which in many cases is contributing to the problem of global warming. Many of the resources now being used cannot be replaced, yet we are using them at an unsustainable rate. In other words, because of the rate at which we are depleting them, we are seriously affecting their use even at a modest level by future generations.

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