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The pernicious secret at the heart of the Ecological Footprint

The concept of the Ecological footprint was developed in 1992 by William Rees and Mathis Wackernagel at UBC in Vancouver, Canada. Ecological footprint analysis is widely used around the Earth in support of sustainability assessments. It enables people to measure and manage the use of resources throughout the economy and explore the sustainability of individual lifestyles, goods and services, organizations, industry sectors, neighborhoods, cities, regions and nations.

The accepted global footprint situation is described like this:

The world-average ecological footprint in 2012 was 2.84 global hectares per person (22.1 billion in total). With a world-average biocapacity of 1.73 global hectares (gha) per person (9.2 billion in total), this leads to a global ecological deficit of 1.1 global hectares per person (7.8 billion in total).

However, in the Wikipedia article on Sustainability, we find this shocking little gem. I have emphasized the "pernicious secret" in bold.

The Ecological footprint measures human consumption in terms of the biologically productive land needed to provide the resources, and absorb the wastes of the average global citizen. In 2008 it required 2.7 global hectares per person, 30% more than the natural biological capacity of 2.1 global hectares (assuming no provision for other organisms). The resulting ecological deficit must be met from unsustainable extra sources and these are obtained in three ways: embedded in the goods and services of world trade; taken from the past (e.g. fossil fuels); or borrowed from the future as unsustainable resource usage (e.g. by over exploiting forests and fisheries).

This implies that if we allow any organisms not intended for human use to use this land, its biological capacity to serve human needs is reduced.

For example, if we assume that on average 25% of the biological capacity of land is used by other organisms, then the amount of land available for human use is effectively reduced by the same amount. The actual capacity used by other creatures is unknowable, but it seems to me as though 25% would be a conservative number as a global average.

Using this percentage for illustration, the per capita biocapacity of the planet is reduced from 1.73 to 1.3 global hectares. That in turn raises the deficit of the human footprint from 1.1 gha to 1.53 gha.

Because of the increased deficit, the degree of human overshoot not 52%, but a rather more worrying 73%. The more biocapacity we allow other creatures to use, the worse the human overshoot becomes.
Posted by The_jackalope | Sun Dec 30, 2018, 06:50 PM (2 replies)

Does anyone remember this suspicion about Flynn?

I wonder whatever happened to it?


Russian treason arrests stemmed from intel official helping US catch criminal hackers

Three current and former Russian intelligence agents and a Russian cybersecurity firm employee arrested on charges of treason had been feeding the U.S. information on criminal hackers, a Russian news station reported Wednesday.

Sergei Mikhailov and Dmitry Dokuchaev, who at the time were employed by Russia's intelligence service, the FSB, were arrested along with former FSB agent George Fomchenkov and Kaspersky Lab employee Ruslan Stoyanov in connection with data they passed along to the CIA, according to Rain TV.

The arrests, which were made public in late January, caused speculation that the four had been informants for the investigation into Russian hacking in the 2016 U.S. elections.

According to the Rain report, they had actually been tipping off the CIA about Russian criminal hackers, including accused credit card thief Roman Seleznev and alleged LinkedIn hacker Yevgeniy Nikulin.

My suspicion at the time was that they were probably shopped to the FSB by Flynn when he found out about them in one of his early security briefings. The timing was right.

This appears to have fallen off the radar. I wonder now if he gave the whole mess to Mueller, and it's in the third redaction. I guess we'll find out.
Posted by The_jackalope | Thu Dec 6, 2018, 11:18 PM (1 replies)
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