EU countries are consuming well beyond the Earth’s means

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The World Wide Fund (WWF) and the Global Footprint Network warns that EU member states are living well beyond their means.

By Anders Lorenzen

None of the countries in the EU have consumption levels compatible with what the Earth naturally can produce says a report compiled by the World Wide Fund (WWF) and the Global Footprint Network. According to the report, EU member countries and its citizens are currently consuming twice the amount that it’s possible for their ecosystems to renew.

The EU uses almost 20% of the Earth’s biocapacity although it comprises only 7% of the world population. In other words, 2.8 planets would be needed if everyone consumed at the rate of the average EU resident; well above the world average which is approximately 1.7. Whether at the regional or global level, human demand on nature is way beyond what is sustainable for our planet.

The report also states that at the current rate of consumption, all of ‘natures budget’ will have run out by the 10th of May, also known as Earth Overshoot Day. Beyond this point, we’ll all be producing more carbon emissions than the planet’s natural ecosystems can absorb, more deforested biomass than nature can regenerate, etc.

The report was unveiled just as the EU countries met to decide on their sustainability priorities up until 2024.

With the US having opted out from any leadership role on tackling climate change and other sustainability issues, the baton has been handed to the EU and China. But with coal usage in China and some EU states continuing to be a big problem, the EU has a mountain to climb.

French President Emmanuel Macron has been one of the key actors pressing for stronger climate and sustainability goals. However, with populism surging across the EU, these issues have dropped down the pecking order. The block of the 28 EU countries (soon 27 when the UK leaves later this year) is divided on how big a priority these issues should be and how stringent the goals should be.

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4 responses to “EU countries are consuming well beyond the Earth’s means

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