Wednesday, 20 October 2010

2030: The date we need to double our Earth

 October 18, 2010

We're running out of Earth, it seems.
Forget the Mayan calendar. The Earth won't end in 2012. It's got at least until 2030 before its expiration officially starts. At least, a new report by the WWF, the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network says so.
The Living Planet Report says human demands on natural resources have doubled since the 1970s, using more resources than the Earth can regenerate in one year. The situation is called "ecological overshoot."

An overshoot of 50 percent means it would take 1.5 years for the Earth to regenerate the renewable resources that people used in 2007 and absorb CO2 waste.
If the pace continues, humanity will need the capacity of two Earths by 2030 to sustain itself.
The report says the overshoot is largely due to carbon emissions, and now accounts for half of humanity's ecological footprint. "The countries with the biggest ecological footprint per person are: United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Denmark, Belgium, United States, Estonia, Canada, Australia, Kuwait, Ireland," the report states.
One possible solution would be to cut carbon emissions, though that may be difficult, as Ezra Klein points out, since "with one exception, none of the Republicans running for the Senate -- including the 20 or so with a serious chance of winning -- accept the scientific consensus that humans are largely responsible for global warming."
My solution? We just figure out how to travel those 20 light years to Gliese 581G lickety-split.

The Washington post

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