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Desertification is greatest threat to planet, expert warns

December 21, 2010

From The Guardian

By Damian Carrington

Desertification and land degradation is “the greatest environmental challenge of our time” and “a threat to global wellbeing”, according to the UN’s top drylands official, Luc Gnacadja, who says people must be paid via global carbon markets for preserving the soil. The executive secretary of UN’s Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), will today launch the UN decade for the fight against desertification in London.

“The top 20cm of soil is all that stands between us and extinction,” he told the Guardian. Conflicts and food price crises all stem from the degradation of land, he added.

Desertification and land degradation is “the greatest environmental challenge of our time” and “a threat to global wellbeing”, according to the UN’s top drylands official, who says people must be paid via global carbon markets for preserving the soil.

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Land conflicts in Somalia, dust storms in Asia and the food price crises of recent years all stem from the degradation of land, he said, due to overuse by humans and the impacts of global warming. Since the early 1980s, a quarter of the planet’s land has been despoiled and 1% a year continues to be lost.

From The Guardian

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