To fulfill climate goals, world urged to reuse natural resources

More in the millions of tonnes of materials the entire world uses yearly should be recycled and reused to maintain climate change in balance, researchers said on Tuesday.

Only in regards to tenth from the nearly 93 billion tonnes of materials utilised annually – including minerals, metals, standard fuels and biomass – are now put back to service, said a survey by Amsterdam-based social enterprise Circle Economy.

CEO Harald Friedl told the Thomson Reuters Foundation more effective by using those resources might help avoid overshooting the goals adopted within the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit the average increasing amount of global temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6F), and ideally to a single.5C, above pre-industrial times.

The Circle Economy report said 62% of heat-trapping emissions, excluding land use and forestry, are discharged in the extraction, processing and manufacturing goods.

To tackle global warming, government policy has so far devoted to adopting renewable energies, boosting energy efficiency, and stopping deforestation, the report said.

“It’s after you watch in your closet over a morning and you only hunt for pants,” said Friedl on the phone. “We should modify the whole system.”

The amount of materials the entire world uses has tripled since 1970 and can even double again by 2050 if no action is taken, the United Nations estimates.

To reduce waste and emissions, economies should look become “circular” by reusing products, Friedl added.

“For making things circular could possibly be painful – from changing consumer and business habits to telling countries to set inside the right regulations – however it’s feasible,” he stated.

In Asia, fast-developing economies and urbanisation are driving huge investments in construction and infrastructure, offering chances in promoting a circular economy, said Friedl.

In Europe, the report urged countries enhance the power of existing buildings by extending their lifespan, improving energy efficiency, and finding new functions for them.

The report outlined three broad approaches to shift with a circular economy. The effective use of products ought to be maximised, such as through car-sharing or keeping vehicles for long, it said.

Recycling and reducing waste are usually key, as using natural, low-carbon materials in construction, like bamboo and wood as opposed to cement, it said.

Governments should adopt taxation and spending plans that encourage a circular economy, raising levies on emissions and excessive waste production while cutting them for labour, innovation and investments, the report added.

Financial incentives that promote the overuse of natural resources, like non-renewable fuels, must be abolished, it said.

“It’s a hands-on method to save the modern world,” said Friedl.

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