Date: Tue, 6 Oct 98 21:15:15 CDT
From: (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Report Says Norwegians Wreak Most Havoc On Ecology
Article: 44650
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <>

/** headlines: 153.0 **/
** Topic: Report Says Norwegians Wreak Most Havoc On Ecology **
** Written 7:53 PM Oct 5, 1998 by econet in cdp:headlines **
/* Written 5:29 PM Oct 5, 1998 by in */
/* ---------- [UK] Norwegians wreak most havoc on ecology ---------- */

Norwegians wreak most havoc on the ecology

By Charles Clover, The Electronic Telegraph, Friday 2 October 1998

NORWEGIANS, who pride themselves on their green attitudes, are the most environmentally destructive people on Earth, a report by the World Wide Fund for Nature said yesterday.

The study found that Norwegians place four times as much pressure on the environment as the average global citizen. The reason is Norway's consumption of marine fish. The country catches 250kg (550lb) of fish per head, more than 10 times the world average. Much of it is not eaten directly but fed to salmon in fish farms.

The worst offenders after Norway, when it comes to consuming the world's natural resources, are Taiwan, Chile, Singapore and Denmark. The United States, Australia, Kuwait and Canada, also appear in the top 12. Britain is 41st while the country with the lowest impact is Bangladesh.

The findings are based on a living planet index—which WWF hopes will become the equivalent of the Dow Jones Index for the global environment. Researchers analysed human consumption of forests, freshwater and marine species, emissions of carbon dioxide, the consumption of grain and use of cement in 152 countries between 1970 and 1995.

The results did not prevent the report winning an endorsement from Gro Harlem Brundtland, former prime minister of Norway and author of the pioneering 1987 UN report which established the internationally-used concept of sustainable development. She said: Instead of living on the interest provided by the Earth's natural assets, we are using up the capital resources of future generations.

Among the report's main findings are that freshwater ecosystems have declined by 50 per cent between 1970 and 1995 as a result of pollution and land deterioration. The use of freshwater, however, has doubled since 1960 and it is now estimated that we use more than half of the accessible supply.

The world's natural forest cover declined by about 10 per cent, and from 1990 to 1995 by 0.5 per cent a year. Marine ecosystems deteriorated by 30 per cent from 1970-1995, and at a rate of about four per cent a year from 1990 to 1995. Fish consumption more than doubled and most of the world's fish resources are either fully exploited or in decline.

Carbon dioxide emissions have more than doubled since 1960 and are far in excess of the planet's natural ability to reabsorb them. Wood and paper consumption has increased by two-thirds worldwide.

Jonathan Loh, one of the authors of the report by the WWF, said: These figures are a stark indication of the deteriorating health of natural ecosystems. Most concerning of all is the decline of freshwater lakes, rivers and wetlands. These are among the most productive and diverse environments in the world, but until now they have received far less attention than either forests or oceans.