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Planet living in environmental debt, say green group

IF GLOBAL consumption keeps growing at its current pace then humankind will need the equivalent of two globes by the late 2030s to sustain its lifestyle. This is one of the conclusions of a study published by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) environmental group, the ČTK newswire reported.

IF GLOBAL consumption keeps growing at its current pace then humankind will need the equivalent of two globes by the late 2030s to sustain its lifestyle. This is one of the conclusions of a study published by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) environmental group, the ČTK newswire reported.

Slovakia ranks 45th in a WWF chart of about 150 countries which most burden the planet. The Czech Republic is in 14th place.

When compiling this chart of countries, the environmentalists worked with the notion of a global hectare (gha), which is an indicator of how large a portion of the Earth is necessary to secure food, energy, housing, transport, consumer goods and services. The number of global hectares then determines the so-called environmental footprint, i.e. the impact of a country’s lifestyle on the surrounding environment.

The total ecological footprint of all nations in the year 2005 was 17.5 billion global hectares, i.e. about 2.7 gha per person. According to the WWF, about 3.3 gha was allotted to every Slovak, and about 5.3 gha to every Czech.

The biggest “environmental footprints” worldwide were those of the USA and China. But when calculated per person, the United Arab Emirates was first, followed by the USA and Kuwait. Malawi in Africa and war-affected Afghanistan had the lowest environmental footprints.

While the total “ecological footprint” of all countries was 17.5 billion gha in 2005, the total productive area of the Earth in the same period, its so called bio-capacity, was only 13.6 billion gha. In other words, the world was living in debt and consumed more resources than it managed to produce during the period.

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