The findings, based on the foundation’s Happy Planet Index, show Europe’s per-capita carbon footprint has risen by 70% since 1961, while life expectancy has increased by about 8% and self-reported happiness hardly at all.
Iceland had the highest ratio of wellbeing to emissions, with the UK 21st out of 30 countries assessed. A recent BBC survey showed that Britons were happier in the 1950s than they are today, despite a threefold increase in wealth.
A report last year rated Vanuatu as the happiest nation on Earth.
“These findings question what the economy is there for,” said Foundation policy director Andrew Simms. “What is the point if we burn vast quantities of fossil fuels to make, buy and consume ever more stuff without noticeably benefiting our wellbeing?”