India now consumes two Indias: report

October 13th, 2008 - 6:52 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 13 (IANS) India’s consumption of natural resources is now almost double of what the country’s land, air and water can provide, an overshoot equivalent to what has led to the current global economic meltdown, says a report released here Monday.Prepared by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the California-based Global Footprint Network (GFN), the report says: “With a per person footprint of 0.75 global hectares and per person biocapacity of 0.4 global hectares, India is running an ecological deficit of approximately 100 percent”.

Ecological footprint, global hectare and biocapacity are among measures developed by the GFN to calculate the difference between what the natural resources of a country can provide and what is being consumed. “The ecological footprint measures human demand on the biosphere in terms of the land and sea area required to provide the resources we use and to absorb the waste we generate,” says the report.

While India’s ecological footprint is now behind only that of the US and China, its per capita footprint is low: 0.75 global hectares per person is far lower than the global average of 2.2, which puts India 125th among 152 countries.

The report says: “India represents approximately six percent of the world’s ecological footprint, four percent of the world’s biocapacity and 17 percent of the world’s population.”

Releasing the report, Jamshyd N. Godrej, chairman of the CII-Godrej Green Business Centre, said: “It is important to impress upon policymakers and businesses that no country can continue being unsustainable”.

Godrej said green businesses were now making money, and that had to be impressed upon all businesses. “The business case for sustainability must be made clear.” He gave the example of the Green Building Movement started by the CII six years back, which was now spreading quickly as users found the extra cost of these buildings was paid back within 3-4 years and they saved a lot of money after that in energy and water bills.”

Susan Burns, managing director of GFN, said: “Like in the money markets, there is a credit crisis with regard to ecological capital too.

“We’re not going to get to a sustainble situation through small incremental steps. But the good news is that we know the new green technologies can work, can make money and India can become an exporter of these technologies.”

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