According to a new report by World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF), the humanity is currently using 50 per cent more resources than the Earth can provide, and by 2030 the combined capacity of two planets will not be sufficient to support global demand.
That is the conclusion of the latest Living Planet report, a health check on over 2,600 species worldwide, which shows a 30% decline in biodiversity in the last 40 years.
The report stresses that deterioration in services provided by ecosystems and scarcity of resources not only threatens food and water supplies, but also the way businesses and industry operate, including the planet’s ability to deal with carbon emissions.
Actual consumption levels vary enormously from country-to-country: for example the per Capital ecological footprint of a US citizen is six times that of an Indonesian national. If everyone lived as they do in the US, a total of four Earths would be needed to meet the demands placed on nature.
With the global population expected to reach over nine billion by 2050, this type of unsustainable lifestyle cannot continue, WWF argues.
Since before the Rio+20, the NGO is calling for 20 per cent of land, freshwater and marine areas to be protected.
The group is arguing that such a move could be justified by the development of a new system for measuring the economic value of natural capital.
David Nussbaum, chief executive at WWF-UK, said the world could still develop sustainable economic models, but businesses and governments had to take urgent action.
According to the UN, the current economic thinking leads to irreversible destruction of natural resources that will leave future generations worse off.