Making Growth Green

When the world's leaders met at the Millennium Summit four years ago, they agreed on a set of goals aimed at cutting global poverty in half by 2015. They also set targets for the environment, because they understood its centrality to long-term economic growth, human development, and the stability of the planet. The problem is that today, ten years shy of when the 2015 goals are to be met, progress on the environment is alarmingly slow. So much more is possible.

The phase-out of ozone depleting substances through the Montreal Protocol, for instance, shows what can be done when the international community works together. Thanks to the protocol, it is estimated that up to 20 million cases of skin cancer, and 130 million eye cataracts, will be avoided.

This kind of success should encourage us. But now we need to match our action with the scale of the challenge. Our world is not only unbalanced, but endangered. Deforestation is increasing, with almost 100 million hectares lost in the last decade alone - much of it due to millions of poor farmers in Africa and Latin America being forced to cut down trees because they have no other access to land or energy sources.

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