Development of Ecological Footprint to an Essential Economic and Political Tool
This paper shows how the concept of the Ecological Footprint can be developed by incorporating the six procedures listed below, to create a single indicator of just distribution of the limited natural resources, between and within generations, and become a benchmark for decision-making between alternatives of consumption, life-styles and economic policies. Using this new tool, it should be possible to label every commodity, service and natural resource with the share it claims of the Earth’s surface. This, in turn, can enable the integration of natural limits into the economy through the complete internalization of costs within market prices, while also reducing resource throughput fairly and quickly without an undue loss in GNP. The six procedures are as follows: First, operating within the boundaries of the sustainable local yields of the biologically productive soil and water areas, without any input of non-renewable resources, particularly fossil fuels; Second, taking spatial variations of this yield into account; Third, considering only sustainable CO 2-sinks; Fourth, including every exploitation of nature, for instance all material flows; Fifth, taking care of intertemporal effects and depletion; and sixth, preserving the natural habitats necessary for the survival of biodiversity, bearing the species/area relationship in mind.
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