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According to a report by the International Resource Panel last year, the extraction of material resources from the Earth (biomass, fossil fuels and non-metallic minerals) was expected to reach nearly 90 billion tons in 2017 and is likely to more than double from 2015 to 2050. In order to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, better resource efficiency must be achieved by the global economy.

The International Resource Panel (IRP) comprises a group of scientists who specialize in resource management issues, established by the UN Environment in 2007. The IRP was asked by the UN Environment Assembly to share information on the current state, trends and outlook of sustainable consumption and production.

IRP’s co-Chairs, JanezPotocnik and Izabella Teixera said: “The amount of natural resources used is closely linked to the amount of final waste and emissions generated through their use. Effective pollution control must also look to minimize raw material use, thereby decreasing final waste and emissions.”

The UN Environment Assembly is using The Executive Director’s Report: Towards a Pollution-Free Planet as a key resource on which to base new action points. Many resolutions are discussed at the Assembly, including the biggest current threat to the environment: air pollution. The report says that, in order to make the earth more sustainable and pollution-free, we need to achieve efficiency in resource extraction, manufacturing, use, recycling and disposal.

The IRP’s research shows that natural resource use can be reduced by 26% by 2050 globally if resource efficiency policies and initiatives were put into place. Greenhouse gas emissions could also be reduced by 15-20% by 2050. Technically and commercially viable solutions could also improve water and energy efficiency by 60-80% by 2030.