According to the Global Footprint Network and WWF’s Living Planet Report, yesterday was Earth Overshoot Day. That means the seven billion people on Earth have consumed the globe’s renewable resources for the year. In other words for the next 133 days humanity will be accumulating ecological debt by overdrawing on our collective resources.
According to the latest statistics from Eurostat – the data agency for the European Commission – greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union fell by 2.1 percent from 2011 to 2012. This takes place after a massive 4.1 percent decrease from 2010 to 2011.
This decrease can be explained by the increased importance of renewable energy sources, by more energy efficiency and conservation but also by a warmer winter and the economic crisis. Unemployment in the Euro area has reached a staggering 12.2 percent.
As the official press release notes :
Eurostat estimates that from 2011 to 2012 CO2 emissions decreased in nearly all Member States, except Malta (+6.3%), the United Kingdom (+3.9%), Lithuania (+1.7%) and Germany (+0.9%).
The largest decreases were recorded in Belgium and Finland (both -11.8%), Sweden (-10.1%), Denmark (-9.4%), Cyprus (-8.5%), Bulgaria (-6.9%), Slovakia (-6.5%), the Czech Republic (-5.2%), Italy and Poland (both -5.1%).
Given how in 2010, greenhouse gas emissions were already 15.4 percent lower than in 1990 (source: Eurostat), the goal of slashing emissions by 20 percent from 1990 to 2020 is within reach.
As the European Environmental Agency notes, ” The European Union’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2011 were 18.4 % below 1990 levels, according to the EU greenhouse gas inventory.”
This is why the European Parliament has called for 30 percent cuts last year. Environmental organizations such as the WWF stated last week that “There’s no reason now to go sit on our hands for 7 years, knowing that by keeping up the recent pace we could reach the 95% cuts needed by 2050 to keep Europe in line with efforts to avoid dangerous global warming.”
As we have seen before, going for 30 percent cuts would enable the European Union to create long lasting jobs, decrease air pollution levels and could even allow some country members to pay back their debts…
The 2012 edition of WWF’s Living Planet Report warns that our way of life is way beyond the Earth’s capability to restore itself, that is, it is unsustainable. It says in order to have a future, we need to reduce waste, introduce smarter water management techniques and adopt renewable energy such solar and wind power.
Led by WWF, today several landmarks will be going dark to celebrate Earth Hour. It’s a global event that anyone can join.
Among the places that are going to switch off for the planet are Niagara Falls in Canada; Times Square in New York; the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio; Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Big