Environmental Footprint Image Footprint Network News
VOLUME 1, ISSUE 8  


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Our mission is to promote a sustainable economy by advancing the Ecological Footprint, a measurement tool that makes the reality of planetary limits relevant to decision-makers.
 
 

 
Advisory Council
 
E.O. Wilson
Manfred Max-Neef
Rhodri Morgan
Wangari Maathai
David Suzuki
Emil Salim
Julia Marton-Lefèvre
William E. Rees
Lester Brown
Jorgen Randers
M S Swaminathan
Daniel Pauly
Eric Garcetti
Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker
Michael Meacher
Karl-Henrik Robèrt
Will Steffen
Dominique Voynet
Fabio Feldman
Oscar Arias
Herman E. Daly
Peter Raven
Mick Bourke
 


"I know of no better way of thinking about sustainability or carrying capability on a global scale than Ecological Footprinting."
 
- Peter Raven, Missouri Botanical Garden

The United Kingdom Moves Toward a One Planet Economy
Prime Minister Tony Blair, with the launch of the government's Sustainable Development Framework, has endorsed a radical new plan to shift the UK economy towards a 'One Planet Economy.' To support this plan, WWF has produced a new report, Ecological Budget UK - Counting Consumption, which estimates that meeting this goal will require a 75 percent reduction in the UK's Ecological Footprint. (more)

WWF acknowledges that while this is an incredibly challenging target, it is essential for long-term sustainability. This means a 3 per cent annual reduction in the UK's Ecological Footprint, set against a projected economic growth rate averaging 2.25 per cent per year. This implies a major 'decoupling' of economic and material growth, which has occurred in the UK to some extent, but would need to be accelerated.

The report, launched on the 7th of March, was written in collaboration with Global Footprint Network partner Stockholm Environment Institute and with the Centre for Urban & Regional Ecology (CURE). It provides a vital evidence base to help policy makers better understand the issues of sustainable consumption and production in the UK. Using comprehensive physical resource flow accounts, the report divides production and consumption in the UK into 123 economic sectors and 54 socio-economic groups, sorted by every English region. The report concludes that if everyone used as much of the earth's natural resources as the average UK resident, we would need three planets to support us.

"The UK Government must now make the idea of a 'One Planet Economy' a reality," said Stuart Bond, WWF Footprint Coordinator and co-author of the report. "It must address a much bigger global impact created from imported products and materials that are currently not yet even accounted for."

Learn More:

Download the Report
Read more about the Ecological Budget UK Initiative
Read about Tony Blairís Endorsement



 
WorldWatch Releases 2005 State of the Environment Report
The dramatic rise of China and India presents one of the gravest threats - and greatest opportunities - facing the world today, says the WorldWatch Institute in its State of the World 2005 report. The choices these countries make in the next few years will lead the world either towards a future of growing ecological and political instability - or down a development path based on efficient technologies and better stewardship of resources.

"Rising demand for energy, food, and raw materials by 2.5 billion Chinese and Indians is already having ripple effects worldwide," says Worldwatch President Christopher Flavin. (more)

"Meanwhile," says Flavin, "record-shattering consumption levels in the U.S. and Europe leave little room for this projected Asian growth." The resulting global resource squeeze is already evident in riots over rising oil prices in Indonesia, growing pressure on Brazil's forests and fisheries, and the loss of manufacturing jobs in Central America. The United States still consumes three times as much grain per person as China and five times as much as India, notes the report. U.S. per-capita carbon dioxide emissions are six times the Chinese level and 20 times the Indian level. If China and India were to consume resources and produce waste at the current U.S. per-capita level, two planet Earths would be needed to sustain their two economies alone.

"We were encouraged to find that a growing number of opinion leaders in China and India now recognize that the resource-intensive model for economic growth can't work in the 21st century," Flavin said. "Already, China's world-leading solar industry provides water heating for 35 million buildings, and India's pioneering use of rainwater harvesting brings clean water to tens of thousands of homes. China and India are positioned to leapfrog today's industrial powers and become world leaders in sustainable energy and agriculture within a decade."


Learn More:

Hear Christopher Flavin Speak In Brussels
Read the report

Read other articles about the report:
http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn8570 http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0113-06.htm



FEATURE
Does Globalization Benefit the Poor?
Global Footprint Network Partner nef recently released Growth Isn't Working: The Uneven Distribution of Benefits and Costs from Economic Growth. This bold and controversial report argues that globalization is failing the world's poorest as their share of the benefits of growth plummets, and that accelerating climate change hurts the poorest most.

Read More

The report, the first in nef's series of 'Re-thinking poverty' reports, reveals that the share of benefits from global economic growth reaching the world's poorest people is actually shrinking, while they continue to bear an unfair portion of the costs of this growth. New figures show that growth in the 1990s was less effective at passing on benefits to the poorest than it was even in the 1980's - the so-called 'lost decade for development' - and that the coming age of rising climate chaos will worsen this imbalance.

Between 1990 and 2001, for example, the report shows that for every $100 worth of growth in the world's per person income, just $0.60 went to reducing poverty for those living below the $1-a-day line. At this rate, a single dollar of poverty reduction requires $166 of growth in global per capital income, with the associated increase in production and consumption generating enormous environmental impacts.

The authors argue that in order to achieve both poverty reduction and environmental sustainability, global growth can not remain the world's principal economic strategy. The scale of growth this model demands, they claim, would generate "unsupportable environmental costs; and the costs would fall disproportionately, and counter-productively, on the poorest - the very people the growth is meant to benefit."

The report offers many alternatives to current poverty reduction strategies, steering policy-makers towards achieving social and environmental objectives at the country level, and designing the global economic system to meet these goals.

Learn More:

Read the report


RESEARCH AND STANDARDS UPDATE

Footprint Standards - Final Review Period Begins
As the Footprint gains in popularity and influence among governments around the world, the demand for methodological standards has been increasing. Responding to this demand, Global Footprint Network initiated a, committee-based consensus process for both the development of standards and for an ongoing scientific review of the methodology.

In December 2005, the Standards Committee released draft standards for public comment. These comments have been incorporated into a final document which is available for review now. If you would like to comment on the standards, please click here. The first official version of the standards are scheduled to be released in June 2006 at the Footprint Forum 2006, our international meeting in Siena, Italy.

Related Link:
Learn more about our Standards Process at http://www.footprintnetwork.org/gfn_sub.php?content=standards

Global Footprint Network Opens Swiss Office
Martin Kärcher, Coordinator, Swiss Office
In response to strong governmental interest in the Footprint in Europe, Global Footprint Network recently opened an office in Zürich, Switzerland. The office is led by Martin Kärcher. Our new Swiss office has been made possible by a generous donation from our Partner, Novatlantis.
 
 
FEATURE
 
Science Article Shows
Conversion of Land is Undermining Ecosystems

 
Listen to Radio Interview with Jon Foley, University of Wisconsin, SAGE (Sustainability and the Global Environment)

Leading scientists writing in the July 22, 2005 issue of the journal Science argue that the massive conversion of the world's natural landscapes to agriculture and other human uses may soon begin to undermine the capacity of the planet's ecosystems to sustain a burgeoning human population.
 
 
RESEARCH AND STANDARDS UPDATE
   
"Ten In Ten Campaign" Update
The Ten in Ten Campaign is our worldwide initiative to make the Ecological Footprint as prominent as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and by 2015 to have ten countries managing their ecological wealth in the same way they manage their finances. Thank you to all those who have offered their financial support for the campaign. We are excited to report that we have already garnered the involvement of the country of Switzerland and have a received a statement of support from the European Union! We're off to a great start. Stay tuned for more news on this campaign. If you'd like to contribute to this initiative click here.
 
Save the Date: June 14-17, 2006
The Ecological Footprint Network and the University of Siena are co-hosting Footprint Forum: Accounting for a Small Planet.
 
The Ecological Footprint of Nuclear Energy
EIfER (European Institute for Energy Research) and Global Footprint Network have joined efforts in building scientific consensus on calculating the Ecological Footprint of nuclear power.

The objective of the partnership is to clarify, through the participation and coordination of a working group of reputable scientists and practitioners, how the nuclear energy Footprint should be calculated. Ideally, the process will lead to an international consensus that will then be presented as a recommendation to Global Footprint Network's National Accounts committee for consideration. Even if total consensus is not achieved, the process will generate useful ideas and approaches for Footprinting of nuclear energy. A Final Report will capture the advantages and disadvantages of identified methods, and document why participants prefer certain methods.