After the pandemic caused a decrease in the use of resources in 2020, the world returned to business as usual and matched the worst result so far – Earth Overshoot Day is again on July 29. The earliest date ever was first recorded in 2019.
Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Turkey worsened their positions from 2020, while the remaining countries tracked by Balkan Green Energy News – BiH, Croatia, Greece, Slovenia and Serbia – recorded similar results as in the previous year.
Humanity currently uses 74% more than what the planet’s ecosystems can regenerate – or ‘1.7 Earths’
All countries except Albania have again already reached their overshoot days. Slovenia was the first to use up its credit.
Earth Overshoot Day is the day of the year on which humanity’s demand on nature exceeds the planet’s annual biological capacity to regenerate.
“The modest gains from the pandemic-induced resource-use reductions were short-lived. We must urgently drive a green economic recovery where all can thrive within the means of the Earth,” according to a press release by the WWF. “Humanity currently uses 74% more than what the planet’s ecosystems can regenerate – or ‘1.7 Earths’.”
According to Global Footprint Network, in 2021 Earth Overshoot Day falls on July 29, meaning that between January 1 and July 29, humanity’s demand for biological regeneration is equivalent to the planet’s entire annual regeneration. Earth Overshoot Day 2020 fell on August 22 (How the Date of Earth Overshoot Day 2021 Was Calculated).
The world’s biocapacity in 2021 is 1.5 global hectares per person, and ecological footprint is 2.7 global hectares per person
The ecological footprint measures the amount of biologically productive land and sea area required to produce all the resources that a population consumes and to absorb its waste. Biocapacity is therefore the ecosystems’ capacity to produce biological materials used by people and to absorb waste material generated by humans.
The world’s biocapacity in 2021 is estimated at 1.5 global hectares per person. In contrast, humanity’s ecological footprint is 2.7 global hectares per person, of which 61% is carbon footprint.
Emissions are estimated to increase by 4.8% compared to 2020
For Earth Overshoot Day 2021, the total ecological footprint increased by 6.6% from the previous year, while total biocapacity increased by 0.3% over the same time span.
As reported by IEA, the global pandemic-induced lockdowns caused an initial sharp drop in CO2 emissions. But they increased again in the second half of the year. At the end of the year, total emissions were reported to be 5.8% lower than 2019 emissions due to the global pandemic.
In 2021, emissions are projected to increase by 4.8% compared to 2020, leaving us just below the 2019 level, according to the Carbon Footprint Network.
In 2021, deforestation in the Amazon spiked, and it is expected to increase by 43% from 2020, when 1.1 million hectares were destroyed. Additionally, carbon loss in the Amazon forest due to degraded lands is estimated to be 3 times the amount lost by deforestation.