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Nearly three-quarters of global natural rubber production is used to produce tyres, supporting mobility around the globe. The projected increase in mobility could contribute to further expansion of rubber plantations and impact tropical ecosystems. We quantified the use of natural rubber in tyres in the European Union (EU), the corresponding land footprint, and explored drivers of tyre use using country-specific transport statistics and trade registers of rubber goods. Five percent of the world's natural rubber is consumed in tyres used in the EU, using up to a quarter of the area under rubber plantations in some producing countries. Car use is responsible for 58% of this consumption, due to car-dependent lifestyles that are associated with economic prosperity and spatial planning paradigms. While the EU's transport policy focuses on reducing dependence on fossil-fuels, cross-cutting policies are needed to address car-dependency and reduce the EU's land footprint in tropical landscapes without compromising progress towards decarbonisation. © 2021. The Author(s).

Citation

Perrine C S J Laroche, Catharina J E Schulp, Thomas Kastner, Peter H Verburg. Assessing the contribution of mobility in the European Union to rubber expansion. Ambio. 2022 Mar;51(3):770-783

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PMID: 34120297

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