2018 overshoot days by country / continent
Note: With an ‘overshoot day’ estimated in 2019, Africa respects its ecological budget for the year
People consume the Earth’s natural resources to produce what they need. However, there are only so many resources that the planet can renew and so much carbon it can absorb in one year. The “Earth Overshoot Day” represents the date when the planet’s ecological footprint exceeds its biological capacity. Put more simply, it is the date when humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year and starts depleting resource stocks and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
For countries, two distinct overshoot days can be estimated. The first option represents the date when the global ecological budget would be exceeded if the whole world was living as the selected country. For instance, France reached its 2018 “overshoot day” on May 10. The second alternative is more country-specific and marks the day when the country exceeds its own biological capacity to renew its resources. From this perspective, France’s overshoot day comes a few months later, on July 29.
It is mid-year and, based on the first approach, 78 countries have already reached their overshoot day globally. The problem is not a small one. It is estimated that these countries will account for 40% of the world’s population, 85% of GDP and two thirds of carbon emissions this year.
Whatever the approach, the human population is consuming more resources than what the Earth can replace and is emitting more carbon dioxide than what the Earth can absorb – the world’s carbon footprint represents 60% of the world ecological footprint. As of today, we would need 1.7 Earths to subsist. We only have 1 Earth available to us, now would be the time to realize it.