One Planet Economy Targets
The key result of WWF’s Living Planet Report series shows that the developed world is exploiting the Earth’s available resources, as measured in bio-productive land area or ‘bio-capacity’, at more than three times its “fair” share, as measured by the Ecological Footprint in global hectares per capita (gha/cap).
This is not a universal catch-all measure, but it does draw attention to the totality of global impacts and limits. These of course will change over time, so the One Planet target is a moving target, but the levels of magnitude are likely to remain similar:
- By 2050 there is likely to be a 50% increase in world population, up to 9 billion people.
- There may be some additions to bio-capacity through land reclamation and reforestation, but there may be other damage to eco-systems.
- Therefore a mid-range estimate of change in available bio-capacity would be from 1.81 (2009) to approximately1.3 gha/cap in 2050.
- To reduce the current EU footprint of 4.5 gha/cap to the 2050 fair share bio-capacity of 1.3 gha/cap would need a 70% reduction.
- If we factor in current growth trends the EU footprint could be anywhere between 6.5 – 7.5 gha/cap in 2050, we would need around an 80% reduction.
How would a sustainable Europe look in 2050?
We can envisage a vastly more efficient economy, where energy and materials are used to maximum effect. Shops will no longer need to sell disposable goods, and waste mountains would be a thing of the past. Responding to climate change buildings will produce their own energy needs. Innovation in science and technology no longer driven by profit alone, is inspired by the One Planet Economy challenge and becomes everyday practice in all branches of industry.
There is an equal and opposite agenda on the consumption side – consumers demand low impact products and services, and share cars or equipment where possible. They actively prefer products which are adaptable, long-lived, and designed for remanufacture. The principle of stewardship ensures that resources are shared according to need, rather than squandered in conspicuous consumption. Two hundred years after giving rise to the Industrial Revolution, the EU pointed the way towards an industrial evolution.