We and the European Union responsible for 52% of the excessive use of resources causing ecological damage: study

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Rich countries have deprived the Earth of its natural resources and caused unimaginable damage. A new study has found that countries like Australia, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and others are responsible for most of the ecological damage suffered by the Earth. The study attributed responsibility to 160 countries that have harmed the planet over the past 50 years.

The US alone was responsible for 27% of the overuse of natural resources worldwide, while the EU (which included the UK for the study period) was responsible for 25%. Australia, Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia and other rich countries were collectively responsible for a 22% overuse. China is responsible for 15% of the world’s use of excess materials.

“High-income countries are the main drivers of global ecological degradation and they urgently need to reduce their resource use to equitable and sustainable levels,” said the study published in the journal Lancet Planetary Health.

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“These nations must take the initiative to drastically reduce their resource use to avoid further degradation, which will likely require transformative post-growth and degrowth approaches,” the study adds.

In terms of tonnes of overrun per capita, Australia was the worst at 29.16, followed by Canada at 25.82, then the United States at 23.45. The study found that almost half of the world’s resources were extracted by countries that had exceeded the limit on their share of the world’s resources. Countries like India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and 53 others at the same time remained within sustainable limits.

“We have all been shocked by the magnitude of the contribution of high-income countries to the excessive use of resources,” said Professor Jason Hickel of the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB) at the Guardian.

“We didn’t expect it to be this high. If they now want to reach sustainable levels, they need to reduce their resource use by around 70% on average from existing levels,” he added.

(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)

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