The United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) sounded the alarm in its fifth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-5) report, published two weeks before the Rio+20 summit in Brazil June 20-22.
The GEO-5 report, three years in the making and the United Nations' main health-check of the planet, urges governments to create more ambitious targets or toughen existing ones.
"If current trends continue, if current patterns of production and consumption of natural resources prevail and cannot be reversed and 'decoupled', then governments will preside over unprecedented levels of damage and degradation," said United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
GEO-5 assessed progress and gaps in meeting 90 internationally agreed goals from UN conventions. Significant progress was found for just 4 goals, with some progress made for 40 goals, and 32 goals with very little or no progress.
UNEP called on governments to focus their policies on the key drivers behind climate change, notably: population growth, urbanisation, fossil fuel-based energy consumption, and globalisation.
View June 6, 2012 United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) report (PDF)
View June 6, 2012 Huffington Post coverage
View June 6, 2012 CBC News coverage
View United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20 page
View more on Manitoba Wildlands Rio+20 page
United Nations, Huffington Post, CBC