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Alarming decline in natural resources: Report

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 10:30:04 PM, IANS

New Delhi: The population of tropical species is plummeting and humanity's demands on natural resources is skyrocketing to 50 percent more than what the earth can sustain, a new report says.

The 2010 edition of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature's Living Planet Report - the leading survey of the planet's health conducted in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London and Global Footprint Network - uses the 'Living Planet Index' as its measure for the health of some 2,500 species.

"There is an alarming rate of bio-diversity loss in low-income, often tropical countries while the developed world is living in a false paradise, fuelled by excessive consumption and high carbon emissions," WWF International's director general Jim Leape said.

The ecological footprint, one of the indicators used in the report, shows that the demand on natural resources has doubled since 1966 and the equivalent of 1.5 planets is being used to support human activities. At this rate, humans will need the equivalent of two planets' productive capacity to meet their annual demands by 2030, the report says.

"The report shows that continuing of the current consumption trends would lead us to the point of no return," Leape said.

Quoting an alarming 11-fold increase in the carbon footprint over the last five decades, the reports says the top 10 countries with the biggest ecological footprint per person are the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Denmark, Belgium, the United States, Estonia, Canada, Australia, Kuwait and Ireland.

The 31 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCED) countries, which include the world's richest economies, account for nearly 40 percent of the global footprint.

While there are twice as many people living in BRIC countries - Brazil, Russia, India and China - as there are in OECD countries, the report shows the current rate of per-person footprint of the BRIC countries puts them on a trajectory to overtake the OECD bloc if they follow the same development path.

"Countries that maintain high levels of resource dependence are putting their own economies at risk," Global Footprint Network's president Mathis Wackernagel said.

"Those countries that are able to provide the highest quality of life on the lowest amount of ecological demand will not only serve the global interest, they will be the leaders in a resource-constrained world," he added.







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