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Table 1 Resource consumption targets

From: Living within the safe operating space: a vision for a resource efficient Europe

  Materials Land Carbon Water
Target 10 t TMCabiotic / persona 0.20 ha cropland / personb 1.05 t CO2 / personc Not quantified
Implications for EU citizens by 2050 ca. 70 % reduction compared to 2008 ca 45 % reduction compared to 2007d ca. 90 % reduction compared to 2010 (ca. 30–50 % reduction compared to 2004)e
Source Bringezu 2011 [54] UNEP 2014b [55], Bringezu et al. 2012 [56] Roelich et al. 2011 [57]; Lenzen et al. 2012f [58] Roelich et al. 2011 [57]
Rationale Return to a global level of mineral extraction equivalent to the year 2000 (without considering erosion) Halt the loss of biodiversity and keep land use change (LUC) within the safe operating space Keep global warming within 2 degrees Celsius (67 % probability) Scenarios based on potential efficiency improvements and demand-side reductions under four “One Planet” scenarios
Calculation Global total mineral extraction in the year 2000 divided by expected world population in 2050 Max cropland area of 1.6 Mha divided by expected world population in 2030 Global cumulative cap of 750 GtCO2(WBGU 2009); budget of 9.6 GtCO2 in 2050 divided by expected world population in 2050
Research needs Link global resource extraction to social acceptance of impacts (e.g. as regardscriticality and pollution) Develop targets for forests and pastures; better understand potentials for winning back abandoned land Expand the target beyond the CO2 portion of the carbon footprint Quantify a global target or explore possibility of regional targets that may be linked to global safe operating space
  1. aIndicators differ significantly for quantifying the material footprint depending on how comprehensively they account for consumption. TMC (Total Material Consumption) takes both indirect flows (only at national level) and used as well as unused extraction into account. The European Resource Efficiency Platform suggests using a target based on Raw Material Consumption (RMC) which equals DMC at the global level. This indicator does not include unused extraction. Using the same logic as in Table 1 a target of 5 t RMCabiotic / person has been calculated [59]. Bio Intelligence Services 2012 [18] suggests a target for Domestic Material Consumption (DMC), which equals RMC at the global level but would exclude indirect used extraction at the national level and thus only give a partial picture of consumption effects, of 5 tonnes DMC / person. This is based on reducing fossil fuels by 95 % to meet GHG emissions targets, reducing minerals by 85 % to stabilize built-up stock and halt land take, stabilizing biomass consumption and focusing on the recycling potential of metal ores
  2. btarget refers to the base year of 2030; continued population growth and expansion of built-up land would further reduce the target, whereas land restoration (e.g. of abandoned land) could mitigate some of these effects. The timeframe of 2050 is too far to anticipate such trends; instead 0.2 ha is proposed as a clear, easy-to-communicate and directionally safe target
  3. cStudy presents as a carbon footprint “benchmark” and not as a target per se
  4. dThis range depicts the potential footprint savings in society for different transition pathways in the EU, but does not reflect a sustainability benchmark based on what may be considered a sustainable level of resource use (in other words a boundary „defined“by the natural conditions)
  5. eNote that this reflects the scale of the challenge until 2050 to be consistent with the ranges presented for the other targets. It thus assumes continued population growth until 2050 and a reduced per capita availability of cropland (e.g. around 0.17 ha) and is for indicative purposes only (see note iv above)
  6. fBased on data provided in the Eora MRIO Database and calculated by the authors