WWF rings alarm over fast-shrinking global resources

Kathmandu, October 31:

Global natural wealth and diversity are continuing to decline and more countries are slipping into a state of permanent seasonal water stress, according to the latest edition of World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Living Planet Report.

“The world is heading to an ecological credit crunch as human demands on the world’s natural capital reach nearly one-third more than the earth can sustain,” a press release issued by WWF Nepal stated.

“The world is currently struggling with the consequences of overvaluing its financial assets,” the release quoted James Leape, WWF’s International Director-General.

Carbon emissions from the use of fossil fuel and land disturbance are the greatest component

of humanity’s footprint, underlining the key threat of climate change.

The report, published every two years, has since 1998 become widely accepted as a statement on earth’s ability to remain a “living planet”.

For the first time in 2008, the report added new measures of global, national and individual water footprint to existing measures on the Ecological Footprint of human demand on natural resources and the Living Planet Index, a measure of the state of nature.

“We are acting ecologically in the same way as financial institutions have been behaving economically — seeking immediate gratification without due regard for the consequences,” said Jonathan Loh, co-editor of Zoological Society of London.”The consequences of a global ecological crisis are even graver than the current economic meltdown.”

The report suggests some key “sustainability wedges” which if combined could stabilise and reverse the worsening slide into ecological debt and enduring damage to global support systems.

For the single most important challenge — climate change — the report shows that a range of efficiency, renewable and low emissions “wedges” could meet projected energy demands to 2050 with reductions in carbon emissions of 60 to 80 per cent.