Today is the day of overshoot: humanity has consumed all the planetary resources for the year
Steph Deschamps / August 2, 2021
On Thursday, humanity will have consumed all of the planet's resources: the day of overshoot has returned to the level of 2019, after a brief lull in 2020 linked to the health crisis, warns the American NGO Global Footprint Network.
With more than five months to go, this July 29 we will have exhausted the world's biological resource budget for 2021. If we needed a reminder of the climate and ecological emergency we face, Earth Overshoot Day does it, said Susan Aitken, a politician in Glasgow, the city that will host COP26 on climate next November, in a statement released Tuesday.
If we needed a reminder of the climate and ecological emergency we face, Earth Overshoot Day does it, said Susan Aitken, a politician in Glasgow, the city that will host COP26 on climate next November, in a statement released Tuesday.
This index is intended to illustrate the ever-increasing consumption of an expanding human population on a limited planet. To put it graphically, this year it would take 1.7 Earths to sustainably support the world's population.
The date is calculated by crossing the ecological footprint of human activities (land and sea surfaces necessary to produce the resources consumed and to absorb the waste of the population) and the biocapacity of the Earth (capacity of the ecosystems to regenerate and to absorb the waste produced by Man, notably the sequestration of CO2).
The overshoot occurs when human pressure exceeds the regeneration capacity of natural ecosystems. According to the NGO, it has been increasing for 50 years: December 29 in 1970, November 4 in 1980, October 11 in 1990, September 23 in 2000, August 7 in 2010. In 2020, this date had been pushed back by three weeks under the effect of confinements related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The rebound this year is explained by both a 6.6% increase in carbon footprint and a 0.5% decrease in global forest biocapacity due in large part to the peak of deforestation in the Amazon, according to the NGO. While the carbon footprint of transportation remains below pre-pandemic levels, the carbon footprint of energy is expected to rebound significantly.
These data clearly show that post-Covid 19 recovery plans can only succeed in the long term if they are based on the regeneration and wise management of ecological resources, said Laurel Hanscom, CEO of Global Footprint Network, quoted in the release.