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The ESPON 2013 Operational Programme
http://mapfinder.espon.eu/wp-content/uploads/OMF03401-300x406.png 300 406 http://mapfinder.espon.eu/wp-content/uploads/OMF03401-546x738.png 546 738 http://mapfinder.espon.eu/wp-content/uploads/OMF03401-1250x1691.png 1250 1691 http://mapfinder.espon.eu/wp-content/uploads/OMF03401.png 2467 3339 http://mapfinder.espon.eu/wp-content/uploads/OMF03401-546x738.png 546 738 http://mapfinder.espon.eu/wp-content/uploads/OMF03401-1250x1691.png 1250 1691 http://mapfinder.espon.eu/wp-content/uploads/OMF03401.png 2467 3339 Ecological footprint, 2006

Ecological footprint, 2006

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  • If the entire would like many individuals in Europe, it would be needed two planets to provide the necessary resources and to absorb waste and pollution
  • In a global perspective, only Northern America has higher ecological footprint than Europe
  • European Union has 7.7 per cent of the world’s population and 9.5 per cent of the world’s biocapacity to produce useful biological materials and absorb waste generated by individuals, and accounts approximately 16 per cent of the world’s ecological footprint due to high levels of consumption

Observations for policy

Looking outwards is important to understand Europe’s position in the changing world of new emerging economies. Here, the economic recovery has additional aspects than returning Europe to its position before the financial crisis.

If the entire world lived like Europeans, it would need two planets to provide the necessary resources to absorb our waste and pollution.

The challenge is how to reduce the ecological footprint without losing the high level of economic and human development. With the planet stretched ecologically, policy makers at all levels need to consider the ecological footprint of their territory.

Policy context

Sustainable growth is seen as a key part of the Europe 2020 strategy. Economic recovery requires a more resource efficient, greener economy to increase competitiveness.

European leadership in green technologies backed by consumers who value resource efficiency can create new economic opportunities. By developing clean and efficient energy, Europe can reduce its imports of oil and gas and therefore enhance its energy security.

Initiatives to tackle climate change or to make more efficient use of resources should no longer be seen only as a concern of environmentalists. Rather economic recovery plans at all scales from the EU to the local need to include such measures.

Map interpretation

Most of the EU27=4 has an ecological footprint which is more than twice the size expected for the area. In other words, if the聽entire world lived like Europeans, more than two planets would be needed to provide the necessary resources, absorb waste and leave space for the necessary biodiversity of wild species.

From an ecological point of view, Europe is currently being bailed out by the poorer countries with ecological surpluses. This holds true for countries located in the southern hemisphere.

In a global perspective, only northern America has higher ecological footprint than Europe. Considering that the European Union has 7.7 per cent of the world’s population and 9.5 per cent of the world’s biocapacity to produce useful biological materials and absorb waste generated by individuals, it is important to ensure a reduction of the consumption levels. But despite the surplus registered for the European Union in biocapacity, the share in the world’s ecological footprint is still very significant, i.e. 16 per cent.

Concepts and methods

The ecological footprint of a country is a resource accounting tool that shows a country’s ecological sheet and the pressure the country puts on the planet. The Global Footprint Network publishes these accounts annually for approximately 200 nations across the world.

The measure used for this map is expressed in global hectares per person (gha), and it measures he global average ability to produce resources and absorb water. Europe’s supply is roughly 2.2 gha per person, but its consumption has doubled more than twice since 1960s.


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