Brussels, Belgium. An ever-growing demand for natural resources by a mushrooming human population combined with almost insatiable consumer consumption demands in developed and emerging economies alike are placing intolerable pressures on Nature and threatening the existence of the ecological systems on which economies depend, according to the latest WWF Living Planet Report 2012– the leading survey of Planet Earth’s health.
The 2012 edition of the Living Planet Report published today confirms the negative trend of global Nature loss. The highest decline is in tropical regions where 60% of species have been lost in less than 40 years. It places the blame squarely on richer countries responsible for depleting natural resources. Within the European Union, four EU countries stand out as being particularly voracious. Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands and Ireland are among the 10 biggest global consuming nations compared to their own natural resource stocks.
The report forms the backdrop to WWF’s call to global leaders, businesses and non-governmental organisations ahead of the so-called “Rio+20” conference, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, in June to review the predicament of the planet and find new sustainable ways to live in harmony with the natural resources available for future global prosperity.
“As one of the major global consumers of natural resources, the European Union has a major responsibility in Rio to show different development paths which are less resource dependent” said Tony Long, Director of WWF European Policy Office.
“The days when European high consumption lifestyles were the accepted norm are over. Europe has to move to a new innovation driven economy which is more resource efficient while at the same time creating the environmental space that other developing countries will need to accommodate their own burgeoning populations and lifestyles.”
Tomorrow (16 May), the EU development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, will present the EU’s flagship report for Rio+20 – “The European Report on Development”- which highlights the increasing scarcity of natural resources, including land and water, and how this will affect the future development prospects for the world’s population. WWF calls on the Commission to use this research to ensure that measures to address environmental degradation are included in all EU development policy and external actions but also in major economic sectors now under review in the EU internally, including agriculture, fisheries and cohesion policies.
 European Report on Development 2012, “Confronting scarcity: Managing Water, Energy and Land for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth” to be launched 16th May 2012.
For further information:
Stefania Campogianni, Media and Communication Officer, WWF European Policy Office,
Tel: +32 2 743 88 15
Mobile: +32 499 539 736
Satellite image of Holbox Island and the Yalahau Lagoon on the northeast corner of Mexicos Yucatan Peninsula.