Scientists assessed the contribution of developed countries to excessive consumption of natural resources

(ORDO NEWS) — Three quarters of the resources expended by mankind are consumed by the inhabitants of the most advanced countries, although their population is only 15 percent of the world.

The appetites of today’s humanity surpass the Earth‘s ability to reproduce natural resources. The influence of civilization on the biosphere, climate and even the geology of the planet has become global. However, the contribution of different countries to these processes is far from the same.

Some societies remain at a relatively primitive level of management, spending resources in rather limited quantities. Others are able to process huge amounts of energy and materials, providing overconsumption.

An international team of scientists led by Jason Hickel, professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, has reassessed the contribution that different countries made to the overspending of natural resources in 1970-2017.

The authors note that today global humanity annually extracts and consumes more than 90 billion tons of various materials. Between 1970 and 2017, about 2.5 trillion tons were used, of which 1.1 trillion were in excess of what natural processes can reproduce .

Developed countries took the lion’s share of these resources: they account for 74 percent of excess consumption, despite the fact that the combined population of these countries is only 16 percent of the world’s population.

The US (27 percent) and the European Union (25 percent) and other most developed countries such as the UK, Japan and Canada occupy the top lines of the “overconsumption rating”. By comparison, China accounted for 15 percent of excess consumption.

The entire “global South”, including Africa, the Middle East, India, Central and Southeast Asia and Latin America, is responsible for only eight percent of the resources spent. Note that the population of these 58 countries exceeds 3.6 billion people.

“These results show that high-income countries are the main drivers of environmental problems. It is urgently and radically required to reduce their consumption of resources to a fair and reproducible level, ”the authors of the work summarized.


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