Last changed: 10/05/12
The consequences of the growing extraction of natural resources and the associated environmental impacts are becoming more and more dramatic. The growing world population and rising per-capita consumption are setting the pace. According to OECD estimates, global raw materials production will rise from its level of 53 billion tonnes in 2005 to 80 billion tonnes by 2020. This means that the quantity of produced services and goods will rise and along with it, the consumption of raw materials, land and energy and the accompanying emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases.
In 2006, Germany consumed 1,283 million tonnes of non-renewable raw materials. This is 124 million tonnes less than in 1996. Raw materials consumption in the EU amounts to about 8 million tonnes per capita. Per-capita consumption has remained virtually unchanged over the last 20 years. Due to the increase in land use for housing and transport, land-take in Germany stands at about 100 hectares per day, which means we are still far from reaching our target of 30 hectares per day set in the national sustainability strategy.
This is why the saving and sustainable use of natural resources has been a key issue for the German Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA) for years. The goal is to reduce global resource consumption in absolute terms. The Federal Government’s sustainability envisages raw materials productivity to double by 2020 compared to 1994.
In order to achieve this goal, many players such as scientists, economists, politicians, product designers, consumers and the service sector need to work together with creativity and commitment. The economy must become resource-efficient, and the supply of, and demand for, resource-efficient products and services must increase.
The name “factor X” implies that huge resource efficiency potential exists in all areas of production and consumption that has not yet been tapped and in part has not even been identified yet.
Resource use changes our ecosystem. Land use, soil depletion, water consumption and many other human interventions are leading, among other things, to climate change and biodiversity loss. If resource efficiency is improved, then this also reduces the environmental impacts arising from resource use and consumption.
seeks to make clear that despite the urgency of action to protect the climate we must not neglect the protection of natural resources such as renewable and finite raw materials. Our goal is above all to draw attention to the wastage of natural resources by our consumption-oriented lifestyle and to the global environmental and social implications of growing resource consumption.
The series of publications listed below contains contributions by international experts on the issue of resource use and resource efficiency. The books will provide an overview of current research in this area. The first volume is devoted to macro-economic aspects. The second volume will highlight possibilities for an effective implementation of resource protection measures.
With contributions from:
Friedrich Schmidt-Bleek, Werner Bosmans, Stefan Bringezu, Paul Ekins, Friedrich Hinterberger, Martin Jänicke, Harry Lehmann, Bernd Meyer, Jörg Schindler, Arnold Tukker and many others,
Sustainable and efficient resource use is the key issue for our future. This book will analyse the current situation of resource use and show the needs and potentials for actions. Promising strategies and policies will be depicted extensively. This publication will collect contributions from leading experts in the field of sustainable resource use and will give an up-to-date insights into the discussion on efficient and sustainable resource use.
Limits to resource use
Goals and Potentials for a sustainable use of Resources
Strategies for a sustainable use of Resources
Instruments and Policies