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The true raw material footprint of nations
Date:9/2/2013

footprint per capita (about 35 tons per person), but because it is a prolific exporter of resources, it appears to have a relative decoupling. Other developed economies (USA, Japan, UK) show similar levels at around 25 tons per person.

  • Lower material standard of living and lower average level of consumption in many developing countries is reflected in a footprint below 15 tons per person, with India at the lower end at 3.7 tons per person.

  • In absolute values, the US is by far the largest importer of primary resources embodied in trade and China the largest exporter. The largest per-capita exporters of embodied primary materials in particular metal ores are Australia and Chile.

  • All industrialised nations show the same typical picture over time: as GDP grew over the last two decades there appeared to be a relative decoupling of resource use as indicated by DMC (even absolute decoupling for the UK). However, when measured by the material footprint indicator, resource use has grown in parallel to GDP with no signs of decoupling. This is true for the USA, UK, Japan, EU27 and OECD.

  • South Africa was the only country shown to have an absolute decoupling using the MF indicator.


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  • Contact: Tommy Wiedmann
    t.wiedmann@unsw.edu.au
    61-466-012-214
    University of New South Wales
    Source:Eurekalert

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