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Earth Overshoot Day’ falls earlier than last year, activists warn

According to activists, people will have used up our quota of the earth’s biological resources by the end of July, almost a month earlier than last year.

The Global Footprint Network has calculated that Earth Overshoot Day will fall on July 29 this year, several weeks earlier than last year when it fell on August 22.

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity has used all the natural resources that the earth regenerates during the entire year.

Campaigners said this year’s date is almost as early as 2019, when it fell on July 26, after being pushed back in 2020 by lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahead of the upcoming COP26 UN climate conference in Glasgow, campaigners said leaders should “put the planet first” as part of post-Covid recovery plans.

Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken announced the date of Earth Overshoot Day on behalf of the Global Footprint Network and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).

Aitken said: “With nearly half a year to go, we will have already used up our quota of Earth’s biological resources for 2021 by July 29. If we need to be reminded that we are in the throes of a climate and environmental emergency, it may be Earth Overshoot Day.” She added:

“Let Earth Overshoot Day be our call to arms. In November, the eyes of the world will be on Glasgow, host of COP26, the climate summit responsible for making the decisions that will ensure a safer and more sustainable future for our planet “We have an opportunity here in Glasgow to show the world what we are doing, to coalesce as a city to show real change, to respond to the climate and environmental emergency.

Let’s put our planet first place and let’s do #MoveTheDate together.” So far, in 2021 the carbon footprint of transport will remain below pre-pandemic levels, with CO2 emissions from domestic air and road transport remaining 5 percent below 2019 levels and international aviation projected to be 33 percent lower.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global energy-related CO2 emissions are expected to recover, growing 4.8 percent from last year, as the economic recovery fuels demand for fossil fuels, while global coal consumption is projected to rise in 2021 and is estimated to account for 40 percent of this year’s total carbon footprint.

Laurel Hanscom, chief executive of Global Footprint Network, said: “As the UN Decade of Ecosystem Recovery launches on World Environment Day, June 5, these data make it abundantly clear that recovery plans in the post-Covid-19 era can only be successful. 

in the long run if they embrace regeneration and environmental resource efficiency.” Campaigners said humanity is currently using 74 percent more natural resources than the planet’s ecosystems can regenerate and that it will be working with “ecological shortages” from Earth Overshoot Day through the end of the year.

Notable drivers of this year’s early date include the 6.6 percent increase in carbon footprint from last year and the 0.5 percent decline in global forest biocapacity, largely due to a spike in the deforestation in the Amazon. Terry A’Hearn, chief executive of Sepa, said:

“In November, as a tired world turns its attention to Scotland and COP26, together we can choose prosperity on one planet over misery on one planet. We can and must move out of the pandemic build on our global ability to plan, protect and accelerate.

” Last month, the UN released a report, “State of Finance for Nature,” looking at how to address the planet’s climate, biodiversity and land degradation crises, and estimated that about $8 trillion in investment by mid-century needed to protect natural systems and that global annual spending to protect and restore nature should triple this decade to about $350 billion, rising to $536 billion by 2050.

At the most recent (virtual) summit of world leaders aimed at encouraging more climate action, held in April, US President Joe Biden announced new goals to cut US greenhouse gas pollution by at least half by 2030.

President Biden said the move could help build a more prosperous, just society in the face of an escalating environmental disaster: “The signs are undeniable, the science is undeniable. The cost of doing nothing continues to rise.”