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Article date
19 January 2022
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Release: Circularity Gap Report 2022

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Carbon emissions soar as the world consumes half a trillion tonnes of virgin materials since the Paris Agreement. The Circularity Gap Report provides a roadmap to meet the 1.5°C climate target by cutting resource use.

The report warns that the global economy is consuming 70% more virgin materials than the world can safely replenish: annual resource use was 89.8 billion tonnes in 2016 but passed 100 billion in 2019 and is estimated at 101.4 billion last year. More than 90% of what we take from the Earth to fulfil our needs and wants goes to waste, with just 8.6% of materials cycled.

Stientje van Veldhoven, Vice President and Regional Director Europe at the World Resources Institute said: ‘Preventing and reducing resource use and reusing materials in a global circular economy are key strategies to protect the Earth’s environment, as well as its capacity to provide for current and future generations. A variety of metrics are needed to understand progress alongside valuable data, analysis, guidance and examples. The Circularity Gap Report has provided insights on these topics over the past five years, and it continues to inform progress and the action required to accelerate the circular transition.’     

World leaders committed to limit climate change to 1.5°C at the COP26 summit in Glasgow. However, new pledges still leave the world on course for 2.4°C, and to meet 1.5°C a further 19-23 billion tonnes of annual emissions must be cut by 2030, Climate Action Tracker calculates.

Circle Economy has identified 21 solutions that could close this gap if adopted worldwide, cutting 22.8 billion tonnes (22.8Gt) of emissions on top of current pledges. They provide a roadmap to guide nations, cities and businesses on how to reduce emissions by cutting the use of virgin materials - minerals, ores, fossil fuels, metals and biomass - which each can adapt to suit their own context.

Discover the 21 solutions.