US and Europe behind vast majority of global ecological damage

Groundbreaking report is first to assign responsibility for damage caused by 160 countries in past 50 years

A study, co-authored by Dr Andrew Fanning and Dr Dan O'Neil (School of Earth and Environment) and published in the journal Lancet Planetary Health, reports that the US and Europe are responsible for the majority of global ecological damage caused by the overuse of natural resources.

In the paper, researchers analyse 160 countries and quantify, for the first time, how much responsibility each country bears for the ecological damage caused by excess use of materials -  such as metals, minerals, fossil fuels and biomass -  between 1970 and 2017. 

The country-level findings of resource use, with respect to fair shares, are available through an interactive website built by the research team.

The analysis is based on the concept that the planet’s resources and ecosystems are a commons – a natural shared wealth –  and that all people are entitled to a fair share within sustainable levels. 

Dr Fanning said: “Not all people in wealthy nations are equally responsible for ecological breakdown. Besides reducing inequality between countries, reducing our growth dependence also means reducing inequalities of lived experience within them.”

Full coverage in The Guardian and

Photo by Beth Jnr on Unsplash.