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II. The challenges we face - Threats to the Environment


12. Thousands of different species of animals and plants have been made extinct. It is already clear that irreparable damage has been inflicted on nature by humanity. In the last 20 years, scientific reports have persistently warned about the ecologically damaging consequences of the industry and agriculture of technological society.

13. The energy problems present huge difficulties. Rich countries in the North face the need to change energy consumption patterns. The greenhouse effect and damage to the ozone layer require urgent, co-ordinated international measures. We are uncertain how to regulate problematic scientific developments such as genetic engineering. Accidents and catastrophes like Chernobyl, Bhopal and the pollution of the Rhine (Schweizerhalle) have shocked people into awareness of threats to the environment. Dying trees and woods, poisoned rivers and seas provide visible evidence of pollution which crosses national boundaries by water and air. Environmental problems cannot be solved by governments on a national level. An international ecological order is required.

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