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North and south: regional footprints on the transition pathway towards a low carbon, global economy

Citation Cranston, G.R. and G.P. Hammond North and south: regional footprints on the transition pathway towards a low carbon, global economy. 2010. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2009.08.015.
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Author(s) Cranston, G.R. and G.P. Hammond
Opus Title Applied Energy
Pages 29452951
Volume 87
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2009.08.015

Environmental or ecological footprints are indicators of resource consumption and waste absorption transformed on the basis of biologically productive land area requiredper capitawith prevailing technology. They represent a partial measure of the extent to which the planet, its regions, or nations are moving along a sustainable development pathway. Such footprints vary between countries at different stages of economic development and varying geographic characteristics. A correlation equation for national environmental footprints is used, alongside international projections of population growth and gross regional income, to estimate the relative contributions of the peoples of the industrialised North and populous South that would be needed in order to secure climate-stabilising carbon reductions out to about 2100. The four so-called marker scenarios produced by theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Changeare used to estimate the degree of energy efficiency improvement and carbon mitigation that is feasible. The present footprint projections suggest that a reduction in the consumption of biophysical assets across both the developing and industrialised world is indeed possible. However, the developing worlds footprint is shown to overshoot that of the industrialised countries by around 20102015. It then levels out and starts to fall, on the most optimistic scenario, by about 2050. In order to achieve global sustainability in the 21st Century a serious commitment to environmental protection is required in both the industrialised North and the majority South. That implies balancing population growth, economic well-being, and environmental impacts in the interests of all the people and wildlife on Spaceship Earth.