This year’s Earth Overshoot Day lands on August 1st

Humanity limps in the race to end global overshoot, even as it falls in the middle of this year’s Olympic Games

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND — June 5th, 2024 — August 1st marks this year’s Earth Overshoot Day. This means that from January 1st to August 1st, humanity has used as much from nature as the planet’s ecosystems can renew during this entire year, according to Global Footprint Network’s latest calculations. In other words, in just 7 months, humanity used what Earth takes 12 months to regenerate.

The date is determined by extending the current edition of the National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts to 2024. These accounts, governed by FoDaFo and produced by York University, track countries’ resource performance since 1961, with the latest four years being estimates. This estimate by Global Footprint Network reveals that this year’s Earth Overshoot Day is one day earlier than last year’s. Most of this change is explained by a slight reduction in carbon emissions that is overcompensated by a lower level of carbon sequestration by the oceans.

Dr. David Lin, Science Director of Global Footprint Network, emphasizes that: The persistence of overshoot, for over half a century, has led to declines in biodiversity, excess greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and heightened competition for food and energy. Symptoms are becoming more prominent with unusual heat waves, forest fires, droughts, and floods.

This year’s Earth Overshoot Day coincides with the Olympic Games. This is topical as both Earth Overshoot Day and the Olympic Games celebrate human potential, peaceful collaboration, and fair play. The Olympic Games hold many races; Earth Overshoot Day focuses on the biggest and most consequential race of all: to what extent humanity will be able to end overshoot by design rather than disaster.

Even as the global overshoot trend has flattened over the last decade, humanity is falling back in the race. Their position does not match their international intentions, such as the promises for 2030 to a) protect 30% of the biosphere and b) reduce carbon emissions by about 45% worldwide compared to 2010. This carbon reduction alone would require moving Earth Overshoot Day 22 days annually for the next six years.

Yet, plenty of possibilities exist to #MoveTheDate, as shown here. Therefore, Earth Overshoot Day is a call for proactive responses to beat disaster with good decisions, as overshoot will inevitably end. Our choice is how.



Additional resources

How Earth Overshoot Day 2024 was calculated
How to compare the date of Earth Overshoot Day to previous years
Ecological Footprint data for more than 200 countries and regions
Infographics and videos available for media
Introduction to the implications of overshoot
Solutions to reverse ecological overshoot and bolster biological regeneration

About the Ecological Footprint

The Ecological Footprint is the most comprehensive biological resource accounting metric available. Based on 15,000 data points per country per year, it adds up all of people’s competing demands for biologically productive areas – food, timber, fibers, carbon sequestration, and accommodation of infrastructure. Currently, the carbon footprint, i.e., the carbon emissions from burning fossil fuel, make up 61 percent of humanity’s Ecological Footprint. The National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts are now produced by FoDaFo with York University in Toronto.

About Global Footprint Network

Global Footprint Network is an international sustainability organization that is helping the world live within the Earth’s means and respond to climate change. Since 2003 we’ve engaged with more than 50 countries, 30 cities, and 70 global partners to deliver scientific insights that have driven high-impact policy and investment decisions. Together, we’re creating a future where all of us can thrive within the limits of our one planet.

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