This report sets out to assess the scientific validity of what it calls the WWF's 'doomsday prophecy', as outlined in the NGO's Living Planet Report 2002. The Danish authors argue that WWF has produced one in a long line of articles, stretching back to Malthus' essay on the principle of population, that predict disaster as a result of human demand on natural resources outstripping supply.The paper outlines the concept of the ecological footprint, one which has developed out of the commonly used carrying capacity measure of sustainable use of natural resources. Each of the six measures used to determine footprints are clearly outlined and the WWF's conclusions are described.The authors go on to provide an outline of the main scientific arguments questioning the ecological footprint model, and some of the counter arguments. The authors argue that the purely ecological focus of the concept of sustainability (rather than one which includes social and economic considerations) does not measure true sustainability and is therefore invalid.More depth of analysis is given to the WWF's analysis of energy consumption. It is argued that the idea of needing enough world forest cover to sequester carbon produced by mankind is unrealistic. The report states that forests are not the only way of reducing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. They also state that the footprint model's measures of nuclear power, renewable energies and land use estimates are all skewed.The report ends by arguing against the individual predictions made by WWF and presenting its own method for ecological footprinting that takes into account the faults it finds with the current methodology.

Publication date
Type of publication
Document
Objective
Adaptation
Collection
Eldis
Sectors
Agriculture and forestry
CTCN Keyword Matches
Mitigation in the pulp and paper industry
Renewable energy
Small-scale Combined Heat and Power
Reforestation