What is the capacity of the earth
The "Earth" account is overdrawn
Heat waves, melting ice, dying forests - that we are living beyond our means is visible and now also dated. "Earth Congestion Day" falls on July 29 this year, calculated the international think tank Global Footprint Network.
The resource budget of the world's population was thus used up three days earlier than last year. The current standard of living of the people requires an average of 1.75 earths, in Germany there are even three planets.
The calculations for the congestion date are based on the ecological footprint. This figure represents the area that is necessary to enable the lifestyle of people or countries. This includes, for example, the need for food, wood or energy, but also areas such as forests that bind carbon.
If this footprint, usually measured in hectares, exceeds the amount of resources that the earth can generate in a year, a deficit arises. This results in the Earth Overshoot Day as the day of the year on which the resources are mathematically used up.
The day has been calculated since the 1970s, but at that time it was only reached a few days before New Year's Eve. Since then, the world's population - or its wasteful part - has been enforcing the overload day earlier and earlier: in 1980 it was the beginning of November, 2005 in August and last year on August 1st.
While countries like Uruguay, Gabon or Finland consume fewer resources than our planet would have available, countries like Germany, China or Egypt exceed the ecological capacity of the earth many times over.
For Eon a reason to advertise its products
In the Federal Republic of Germany, industry and the population overrun the resource budget mainly because of their far too high CO2Emissions, as the chairman of the BUND environmental association, Hubert Weiger, emphasized. "We expect the Federal Government to finally make ecologically and socially sustainable development a political maxim."
The BUND calls for a traffic and agricultural turnaround and also a coal phase-out by 2030. According to the previous plans, Germany does not want to finally phase out coal until 2038.
For the largest German energy company Eon, Earth Overload Day is an occasion for self-promotion. According to its own calculations, every electricity consumer could postpone the earth overload day by two days by switching to Eon green electricity, the company said.
However, energy transition experts and independent green electricity providers deny that the products that Eon and other conventional energy companies offer at great expense as green electricity really promote the energy transition.
For a long time, Eon also operated coal-fired power plants. In 2016, the group spun off its entire power plant business to Uniper. Critics see the company as a kind of waste ramp.
"Germany must free itself from obsession with growth"
According to the initiators of Earth Overshoot Day, the fight to protect the climate and resources is not yet lost. You are certain that the deficit between the demand and the available resources can be balanced again. To do this, however, the world's population would have to lead a sustainable lifestyle and forego fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas.
The Global Footprint Network calls for a political U-turn, especially in countries with high resource consumption. "Instead of going against the wall ecologically, it would be an advantage for Germany if its government would campaign for a much more ambitious energy, transport and agricultural policy and free itself from the resource-intensive and growth-obsessed economy," said Mathis Wackernagel from Global Footprint Network.
The BUND agrees with the demand. "Our earth is not an account that we can overdraw year after year without consequences," warned BUND boss Weiger. "Soon we will have used up all reserves, we are on the direct path to ecological resource bankruptcy."
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