Computers project that between now and the year of 2030 we are going to have an increase of the average temperature between 1,5—4,5 degrees C. Sea levels would rise by several metres, flooding coastal areas and ruining vast tracts of farmland. Huge areas would be infertile and become uninhabitable. Water contamination could lead to shortages of safe drinking water. It looks like the end of civilization on the Earth.
For hundreds of thousands of years the human race has thriven in Earth's environment. But now, at the end of the 20th century, we are at a crucial turning point. We have upset nature's sensitive equilibrium releasing harmful substances into the air, polluting livers and oceans with industrial waste and tearing up the countryside to accommodate our rubbish. These are the consequences of the development of civilization. We are to stop it by joint efforts of all the people of the world.
The range of environmental problems is wide. But the matters of people's great concern nowadays are atmosphere and climate changes, depletion of the ozone layer, freshwater resources, oceans and coastal areas, deforestation and desertification, biological diversity, biotechnology, health and chemical safety. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) concentrates its activities on these issues.