2.1.3 Justice, development and the limits of resources
The idea of development according to the model of the old insdustrial countries has become obsolete. This path of development has alreday wasted highly important resources of raw materials and nature which was needed by future generations.
This is obvious with the green house effect: the woods, the plants and oceans of the globe can absorb annually 13,5 billion CO2. This is the amount of consumtion of fossil fuel which the earth can cope with. With an world population of 5.8 billion people every person would have a "consumtion right" for 2,3 tons of CO2 per year. In Europe f.i. the average German produces however by his lifestyle an emmission of 12 tons per year, the average American 20 tons. If all countries would come to the same style of consumtion and production, 69 billion tons would released to the athmosphere. Humankind would need at least five blue planets for absorbing, there is however only one available.
The earth just can´t cope with so many cars. For their lifestyle 20 % of the world population with the highest income are presently using 70 % of the total energy resources, 75 % of the extracted metals and about 85 % of the timber production on this earth. The automobile society, nutrition based on extreme meat consumption, and, related to this, agricultural production with intensive chemical fertiliser applications only admit a limited number of beneficiaries. The limits of the kind of growth which uses up natural resources are reached. Even if this kind of consumption can be reduced by economising effects, the lifestyle based on it cannot be expanded.
As a matter of principle all people have the right to an equal share of the resources available. A society can only attain sustainability if the maximum of its consumption of material resources and energy can also be the maximum of any other society.
According to several scientist groups the rich industrialised countries have to aim at reducing their consumption of resources and energy within fifty years to one tenth of the level at the beginning of the nineties. This requires new public virtues, more modest lifestyles in relation to consumption and a fundamental technological change.
The less industrialised countries need to develop new context-related visions of their own. In order to bring about more justice, what is needed in future is a redistribution but even more so a reduction in the consumption of resources. However, the poorer countries within the present generation do still need a certain scope.
"With increasing globalization there is the very real danger that human beings become subordinated to market and commercial forces. As people of faith we cannot accept that wealth be concentrated in the hands of a privileged few. Global opportunity must be matched by global regulation and global marketing by global networking in solidarity. The earth is our precious but vulnerable home. We need carefully to monitor our contribution to the environmental debt and reassess the apportionment of financial debt among the peoples of the earth because one essential precondition is forgiveness of debt. True reconciliation also calls us to examine the sustainability of current management, production and consumption practices. Our readiness to let go of unfair advantage is a vital prerequisite for a more just distribution and safeguarding of the earth's resources." (Second European Ecumenical Assembly (EEA2), Graz1997, Final Document 2 (Basic Text), para. A31)
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