A report released Thursday by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Global Footprint Network warned that European Union (E.U.) countries are using the planet's resources faster than they can be renewed. These resources include food, fiber, timber, carbon absorption and land, among others.

The report was released prior to E.U. Overshoot Day on May 10, which is a day of the year when the E.U.'s demand for these resources exceeds the amount the earth can regenerate for that year.

"When taking into account the E.U.'s Ecological Footprint and the biocapacity in its borders – meaning the biologically productive areas within the E.U. – the E.U. and its citizens are currently using twice more than what the E.U.'s ecosystems can renew," the report said.

The report adds that if the entire world had a lifestyle similar to that of the average European, it would take the resources equivalent to 2.8 Earths to sustain it.

"Continuing at this rate is no longer an option. It is also irresponsible," Ester Asin, the director of the WWF European Policy Office said in an editorial included with the report. "This carries a significant cost both for our economies and our health: extreme weather events have cost the European economy 450 billion euros since 1980 and air pollution causes 430,000 premature deaths in Europe each year."

The report backs up the concerns by pro-environment protesters who demonstrated as E.U. leaders met Thursday in Sibiu, Romania, to discuss climate policy in the post-Brexit era. The E.U. delegates at the conference wound up empty-handed with no clear deal on how the bloc would tackle climate change as a united front.

Greenpeace Executive Director Jennifer Morgan said E.U. leaders were making climate change "an afterthought."

 


     

 

The report was released ahed of E.U. elections between May 23 and 26. The pro-environment Climate Action Call organization has called on European leaders to "commit to accelerate actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and reach net zero emissions as soon as possible" and to plan the end of fossil fuel.