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The National Footprint Accounts 2018 - China has the world’s largest eco footprint

The National Footprint Accounts (NFAs) annually track and update countries’ natural resources use, including their ecological footprint and biocapacity, offering interactive world maps for over 200 nations and regions at The research is provided by the international organization Global Footprint Network in cooperation with the International Energy Agency and more than 70 other organizations worldwide. The National Footprint Accounts 2018 Edition includes time series data from 1961 to 2014, the latest year for which the most complete United Nations information is available.
Compared to previous years, the methodology of calculation has not changed much and is based on the comparison of two indexes – ecological footprint and biocapacity. The Ecological Footprint is derived by tracking how much biologically productive area it takes to absorb a population’s carbon dioxide emissions and to generate all the resources it consumes. Biocapacity is measured by calculating the amount of biologically productive land and sea area available. Both indicators are measured in global hectares at a total level of the country and per person. These measurements reveal if a country has an ecological reserve (ie. the footprint is smaller than its biocapacity) or an ecological deficit (the footprint is larger than its biocapacity). The National Footprint Accounts 2018 provide time series data for over 200 countries, many of which were not included in past editions due to poor quality issues. The new countries are, for example, the United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, and others.
Despite the fact that humanity's need for renewable resources is 68 percent higher than the planet is able to meet and 86% of the world‘s population lives in a country with an ecological deficit, NFAs 2018 reveals some positive trends. So, according to the new report, the global environmental footprint of 2014 remained almost at the same level as it was in 2013. In addition, if we consider the ecological footprint per capita, it even decreased by 1.1 percent. As the researchers note, the positive trends are due to some balancing of the ecological footprint in China and its small decrease in economically developed high-income countries.
The top ten of the most "harmful" countries has scarcely changed over the year. Despite the fact that China’s total footprint decreased 0.3 % from 2013 to 2014; the country continues to have the world’s largest total ecological footprint (5,200,000,000 gha) followed by USA (2,670,000,000), India (1,450,000,000), the Russian Federation (799,000,000), Brazil (634,000,000), Japan (602,000,000), Indonesia (409,000,000) and Germany (407,000,000) in 8th place. The only country that managed to leave the ill-fated ten is France, which moved from 9th to 11th place. The place of France was occupied by Mexico with a total eco footprint of
320,000,000 gha. The United Kingdom (309,000,000) closes the top ten, as in the previous report. At the other end of the table, Montserrat (23,600), the Cook Islands (123,000) and Dominica (183,000) were found to have the lightest ecological footprints.
According to the new report, the situation has slowly changed if we look at the ecological footprint per capita. Luxembourg (12.3), which occupied first place in this category for a long time, dropped to second, ceding its "leadership" to Qatar (15.7). Eritrea (0.5) has retained the status of the country with the lowest eco-footprint per capita.
The new report finds that nothing has changed in the top 5 countries regarding the most total biocapacity; Brazil, China, the USA, Russia and Canada retained their positions in the top five. Montserrat, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Cook Islands and Barbados are countries with the least total biocapacity.
In general, researches notice that approximately 60 percent of the global Ecological Footprint is made up by carbon footprint, i.e. greenhouse gases released due to the burning of fossil fuels. The total global carbon Footprint in 2014 is nearly 12.5 billion global hectares. Some countries have managed to reduce greenhouse emissions. For example, the carbon component of Germany’s Ecological Footprint declined 6.2 percent from 2013 to 2014.
The so called Earth Overshoot Day, a day when humanity is estimated to have used more from nature than it can regenerate in a year, fell on the 1st of August in 2018, one day before the date announced for 2017.