How do we uncouple global development from resource use?
By Heinz Schandl, CSIROJuly 27th, 2016
The world's use of finite resources continues to rise as global development continues. Can we help poorer nations raise their standard of living without exhausting all of our raw materials?
Hunter valley open cut coal mine. https://www.flickr.com/photos/62459458@N08/5945751835/in/photolist-a4pwSF-3VLLe-9NH9LR-81JCL1-aAd6GA-9LPBnH-bsnzFY-8369Jd-471zU4-fJXnPn-81FtLe-o5epCf-c6RQ1h-c6RS9m-c6RPJQ-ciEv2A-fJXptH-9Nv8dj-ciEHiG-ciEH5j-7C4tSo-8Nciib-bJetvn-9prk5G-GsDc-qszjZg-c6RRW7-ciEuif-c6RQPJ-ciEvMj-ciEvys-c6Ryds-c6RVp1-9Xfnhk-9NEYMC-ciEuwG-8drg9f-ciEGPU-9NvF6h-qannsh-9Nvxqd-fnCdHJ-ciEvi1-cknB9b-c6RSkq-83zxqq-c6RKZY-ciEtYW-8drg5q-ciEyPf
The world is using its natural resources at an ever-increasing rate. Worldwide, annual extraction of primary materials – biomass, fossil fuels, metal ores and minerals – tripled between 1970 and 2010. People in the richest countries now consume up to ten times more resources than those in the poorest nations.
Clearly, if the developing world is to enjoy a similar standard of living to those in the developed world, this cannot continue. We need to break the link between global economic development and primary resource consumption.
Today the meeting sees the launch of an international report coordinated by CSIRO and the UN Environment Program. The report lists several ways in which the world can maintain economic growth while reducing its primary material use – ending the pattern that has driven world economic growth over the past four-and-a-half decades.