In fact, if everyone in the world consumed as many natural resources as the average European, we would already need three planets. The continent’s ecological footprint is second only to North America’s. We are in serious ecological overshoot and Europeans rely on the rest of the world’s resources to make up their increasing ecological deficit.
It is time to make vital choices. Reducing European pressure on nature is essential for Europe’s prosperity and its credibility as an international leader of sustainable development.
If the EU wants to be competitive, it is time to build a ‘smart economy’ that decouples economic growth from resource consumption. As energy consumption is a major source of the EU’s Ecological footprint, a massive investment in energy efficiency measures is absolutely vital, not least to reduce dependence on volatile outside energy supplies.
Moving from a fossil fuel dependent economy to more renewable energy sources is another key for reducing the European environmental deficit.