WWF calls for sustainable economy

2012-05-15 13:01
Cape Town - The World Wide Fund for Nature has released its Living Planet Report which has found that growing demand is putting strain on biodiversity.

"We are living as if we have an extra planet at our disposal. We are using 50% more resources than the Earth can sustainably produce and unless we change course, that number will grow fast - by 2030 even two planets will not be enough," said Dr Morné du Plessis, CEO of WWF South Africa.

The organisation is not against development to halt damage to ecosystems, particularly water systems, but development that was viable in terms of the future security for the global population, Du Plessis Told News24.

He said that evidence showed that a 2°C to 3°C warming was possible, but warned that if there was no change in behaviour, more drastic scenarios like 5°C warming could occur.

"We can imagine that if we continue business as usual, we can almost certainly get there [5°C warming]; it's just a question of when," said Du Plessis.

Fossil fuel

The report said that increasing population growth, particularly in poor countries has led to a 323% increase in the total ecological footprint of low-income countries since 1961.

"Without global action, we're likely to hit that kind of scenario" of 5°C warming, said Saliem Fakir, head of WWF's Living Planet Unit.

The organisation insisted that global dependence on fossil fuel was unsustainable, but as population growth continued, it would place additional pressure on countries to use fossil fuels to power economies.

"Countries don't take significant steps to reduce their emissions and one of those is to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel. All the projections are that by 2030, fossil fuel intensity is going to grow," said Fakir.

The organisation slammed fossil fuel subsidies, estimated to be about $700bn globally, that supported the industry, while programmes supporting renewable energy suffer funding shortfalls.

"One of the things - the G20 countries have already agreed to do this - is to stop subsidising fossil fuel. If we just get rid of those subsidies, we'll be taking a step in the right direction," Richard Worthington, WWF SA climate change programme manager, told News24.

The WWF called for management of waste in the supply chain of industry and particular attention should be given to forests and damaged ecological systems.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter
Read more on:    wwf  |  environment

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