How many Earths do we need?

June 17, 2015 at 10:30 am Leave a comment

It has been suggested that if everyone on the planet consumed as much as the average US citizen, four Earths would be needed to sustain them. But where does this claim originate, and how is it calculated?

“Ecological footprinting” is where researchers look at how much land, sea and other natural resources are used to produce what people consume – how many potatoes they eat, how much milk they drink, the cotton that goes into the shirts they wear and so on.

One curious thing to note is that according to the Global Footprint Network, the world’s population is currently using not one, but one-and-a-half Earths.

That’s because it takes account of carbon emissions. The forests and oceans of the world absorb a lot of carbon dioxide, but we are currently emitting more than the planet can handle – and Wackernagel’s team has calculated how much extra land and sea we would need to absorb it. They estimate that we need an extra half a planet.

This means that for the four Earths we would need if everyone consumed like an American, more than two-and-a-half of those would be needed just to absorb carbon dioxide.

Read the full article HERE on BBC.

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Entry filed under: Carbon_Emissions, Climate.

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