Environment

OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050

The Consequences of Inaction

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Published on March 15, 2012

Also available in: German, French

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Humanity has witnessed unprecedented growth and prosperity in the past decades, with the size of the world economy more than tripling and population increasing by over 3 billion people since 1970. This growth, however, has been accompanied by environmental pollution and natural resource depletion. The current growth model and the mismanagement of natural assets could ultimately undermine human development.

The OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 asks “What will the next four decades bring?” Based on joint modelling by the OECD and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, it looks forward to the year 2050 to find out what demographic and economic trends might mean for the environment if the world does not adopt more ambitious green policies. It also looks at what policies could change that picture for the better. This Outlook focuses on four areas: climate change, biodiversity, freshwater and health impacts of pollution. These four key environmental challenges were identified by the previous Environmental Outlook to 2030 (OECD, 2008) as “Red Light” issues requiring urgent attention.

SUMMARIESavailable in 25 languages

English OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in English)
French OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in French) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in French)
Spanish OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Spanish) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Spanish)
German OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in German) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in German)
Japanese OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Japanese) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Japanese)
Italian OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Italian) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Italian)
Chinese OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Chinese) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Chinese)
Czech OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Czech) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Czech)
Danish OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Danish) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Danish)
Dutch OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Dutch) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Dutch)
Estonian OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Estonian) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Estonian)
Finnish OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Finnish) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Finnish)
Greek OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Greek) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Greek)
Hebrew OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Hebrew) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Hebrew)
Hungarian OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Hungarian) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Hungarian)
Icelandic OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Icelandic) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Icelandic)
Korean OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Korean) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Korean)
Norwegian OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Norwegian) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Norwegian)
Polish OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Polish) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Polish)
Portuguese OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Portuguese) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Portuguese)
Russian OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Russian) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Russian)
Slovak OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Slovak) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Slovak)
Slovene OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Slovenian) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Slovenian)
Swedish OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Swedish) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Swedish)
Turkish OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Turkish) OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 (Summary in Turkish)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword
Acronyms and Abbreviations
Executive Summary
Introduction
Socio-economic Developments
Climate Change
Biodiversity
Water
Health and Environment
Modelling Framework
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The report asks the question “What will the next four decades bring?” Based on joint modelling by the OECD and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, PBL, the report looks forward to the year 2050 to find out what demographic and economic trends might mean for the environment if the world does not adopt more ambitious green policies; and also looks at what policies could change that picture for the better.

The report focuses on four areas: climate change, biodiversity, freshwater and health impacts of pollution. These four key environmental challenges were identified by the previous Environmental Outlook to 2030 (OECD, 2008) as “Red Light” issues requiring urgent attention.

 

IN THE PRESS 

News releases

Speech

Opening Remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, delivered at the Meeting of the Environment Policy Committee at Ministerial Level, March 2012

Article

Green Growth: Making it Happen, by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, Article published in Europe's World, February 2012 

Insights Blogs

Better Plays for Better Lives: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, OECD Insights Blog, July 2013
Avoiding death by diesel, by Simon Upton, OECD Environment Director, June 2013

events

further reading

  • An Overview of the OECD ENV-Linkages Model: Version 3 - This document provides a detailed technical description of the ENV-Linkages model. The OECD ENV-Linkages Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model is an economic model that describes how economic activities are inter-linked across several macroeconomic sectors and regions. It links economic activity to environmental pressure, specifically to emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). The links between economic activities and emissions are projected for several decades into the future, and thus shed light on the impacts of environmental policies for the medium- and long-term future. In this paper specific attention is given to the equations that form the core of the model. The version of the model presented in this paper is used for analysis carried out for the OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050. An updated version of the model is expected to play a key role in the OECD Cost of Inaction and Resource Scarcity: Consequences for Long-term Economic Growth (CIRCLE) project. (OECD Environment Working Paper No. 65, June 2014).

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