TOKYO – The use of material resources will double globally by 2060 and will cause a serious environmental impact, according to a study released on Monday by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The report, released at the opening of an international conference on the circular economy, in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, analyzes the future use of metallic and non-metallic material resources taking into account a series of variables.
According to the data, by 2060 the world will consume 167 gigatons (or 167 billion metric tons) annually of these material resources, compared to the 79 gigatons (Gt) that were used in 2011.
This result takes into account the forecasts of global economic growth, but is reduced by structural changes in the economy and improvements in technology for the extraction and production of materials.
The report indicated that the use of metallic materials will go from 7 Gt per year in 2011 to 19 Gt in 2060, while that of non-metallic minerals, such as construction materials like sand, gravel and others, will grow from 35 Gt in 2011 to 82 in 2060.
This takes into account annual global economic growth of 2.8% on average.
According to the OECD, this increase will cause a serious impact on the environment, since a large part of greenhouse gas emissions are due to the management of primary and secondary material resources.
If by 2011 these emissions represented about 40 Gt of carbon dioxide equivalent, results indicate that by 2060 they will reach 75 Gt of CO2 equivalent.
“The handling of materials will make up 50 Gt of CO2 equivalent,” the report said.