EU ‘outright dangerous’ in its use of natural resources, says WWF

About 2.8 planets would be needed if rest of the world followed suit, biocapacity data shows

Arthur Neslen

Thu 9 May 2019 09.20 EDTLast modified on Thu 9 May 2019 11.03 EDT

Europe makes up 7% of the world’s population but exploits a fifth of its biocapacity, mostly through greenhouse gas emissions. Photograph: David Sillitoe/The Guardian

Europe makes up 7% of the world’s population but exploits a fifth of its biocapacity, mostly through greenhouse gas emissions. Photograph: David Sillitoe/The Guardian

Europe is using up natural resources so quickly that the planet’s ability to replenish itself over the year would be exhausted by this Friday if everyone consumed as much, a new analysis has found.

It would take 2.8 planets to extend the EU’s rate of consumption of fuels, food, fibres, land and timber to all the world’s people, according to data collected by WWF and the Global Footprint Network.

The alarming report follows a warning from a UN panel that the scale and pace of biodiversity loss is now endangering the foundations of human society itself.

Ester Asin,the director of WWF’s European policy office, said: “EU Overshoot Day is a stark reminder that EU consumption is contributing to the Earth’s looming ecological and climate collapse. This is not only irresponsible, it is outright dangerous. Urgent action is needed, and EU leaders must summon the political will to treat this situation as an emergency and set us on a path towards a sustainable future for Europe.”

If the EU were a country, it would have the world’s third-highest ecological footprint, behind the US and China. While Europe makes up just 7% of the world’s population, it exploits a fifth of its biocapacity, mostly through greenhouse gas emissions.

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