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Ecological footprint of
Luxembourg is a land of lakes, castles and rolling hills. It’s one of the smallest countries in the world, and has the second highest GDP per capita. But ranking 139th out of 140, the Happy Planet Index demonstrates how inefficient Luxembourg’s economy really is.
Luxembourg ranks 16th globally for both life expectancy and wellbeing, and has markedly low levels of inequality when it comes to these two measures - it’s the 6th most equal of all the countries in the index. But while Luxembourg excels on these social components, its overall HPI score is dragged down to second last position as a result of its enormous Ecological Footprint, which is the biggest in the world by a substantial margin.
What’s working well?
Luxembourg’s residents enjoy a high quality of life. Voter turnout, a measure of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 91% during recent elections. Since 1986, Luxembourg has offered a guaranteed minimum income to those older than 24. In 2010, the government introduced a national plan to combat discrimination and better integrate the migrant population, which represents 43.3% national population.
What’s not working so well?
The environmental pressure created by this tiny country is staggering. Luxembourg’s carbon footprint accounts for the lion’s share of its Ecological Footprint, and is double the size of the USA’s. It has the highest car ownership rate and highest energy consumption per capita in Europe. On top of that, fuel prices are low, which encourages fuel-tourism from drivers in neighbouring countries. At just 2.1%, Luxembourg claims the lowest share of consumption of energy from renewable resources in Europe. And just 1% of the national territory is classified as conservation areas. If life in Luxembourg was replicated across every other country, we’d need 9.1 planet Earths to sustain us!
Luxembourg has a lot to do to substantially reduce its Ecological Footprint, and live within environmental limits – but for this wealthy country, taking meaningful action is by no means unaffordable.
Photo credit: CC bortescristian