Social metabolism, industrial ecology, and the new industrial revolution
Global Industrial Metabolism and E-Waste Dumping in the Agbobloshie suburb of Accra, Ghana - A Marxian Ecological Economics Approach
Authors: Davor Mujezinovic
Abstract: I seek to investigate the phenomena e-waste through a case-study of the dump-site Agbobloshie. Agbobloshie is a suburb of Accra in Ghana, and was at one point a wetland area; today it is the largest e-waste dump site in the world. My investigation will utilise a combination of ecological economics and political ecology, using a Marxist approach to both. Being highly interdisciplinary, this project also touches upon sociology, geography, politics, and human and industrial ecology. I intend to map the streams of e-waste and resources gathered therefrom going in and out of Ghana. A great deal of attention will also be given to the social, humanitarian and environmental consequences of e-waste dumping. A Marxian framework entails a focus on class relations and the conceptualisation of the Agbobloshie ecosystem as a site of class struggle, and its problems as indications of inherent problems of capitalism itself.
Transformations toward sustainable port cities: dynamics and processes of adaptation in the Marseille area
Authors: Nicolas Mat, Juliette Cerceau, Guillaume Junqua, Hervé Moine, Frédéric Dagnet, Miguel Lopez-ferber
Abstract: Ports are strategic areas in terms of consumption, production and storage of material and energy flows. They face endogenous and exogenous issues of evolution. Evolving in a context of permanent uncertainty, they have developed a capacity to adapt through mid-term innovative strategies and actions in economic, social and cultural fields. Today, in the context of post-fossil carbon developments, they are becoming relevant areas for innovation, experimentation and the implementation of new models. From an international overview to a case study of the Marseille area, this communication aims to highlight the current dynamics and diverse responses proposed by port areas to adapt, which create new dynamics of cooperation between stakeholders, introduce new forms of governance and are based on innovative framework as industrial ecology or the circular economy. Marseille illustrates different stages of development in port industrial systems, from a juvenile phase to a mature phase of sustainability.
Territorial ecology: economic dynamics of territories through socioecological interactions, application to a French mountain village
Authors: Juliette Cerceau, Marion Debuisson, Renaud Metereau, Pierre Pech, Muriel Maillefert, Magali Talandier, Nicolas Buclet
Abstract: Borrowing ecological principles and concepts, territorial ecology proposes to analyze the territorial (regional) dynamics and trajectories by describing the circulation of material and energy flows between human societies and the biosphere. This presentation focuses on the generation of physical, economic, social and cultural wealth through socio-ecological interactions. In order to analyze the way wealth is engendered at a local scale, a methodology has been developed and applied to Aussois, an alpine village in Savoie (France). Material and energy flow analysis combined to an analysis of the local actors’ system questions the territorial capability (ability to achieve territorial development) and resilience (ability to adapt to change).
Bio-regional social metabolism : case study of Pays de la Loire
Authors: David Merlaut, Jean-françois Hetet, David Chalet, André Sobczak
Abstract: In achieving the creation of a true sustainable system, the need of relocalizing our economies has been put forward for various reasons : cutting down the energy embedded in transportation, creating resilient social relationships, and improve environmental justice. This paper aims at assessing the biophysical constraints imposed upon the production of the regional economy and also in consumption of goods and services traded with other regions or countries. Building on local initiatives of fitting the regional metabolism according to climatic and energetic considerations, this study accounts also material flows. Once the current metabolism established, we try to define the regional potential of energy, matter and capacity to absorb pollution that we can get on the territory without trading outside with other regions or nations. If oversized, the local economy would then need “economic degrowth” meaning a downscaling of the current size and pattern of socio-economic systems.
Towards sustainability: a comparative analysis between Brazil and India
Authors: Soumyajit Bhar, Daniel Caixeta Andrade, Gudila Ancelm
Abstract: Assessment of progress towards sustainability is an important step towards meeting sustainable development goals. We carry out a comparative analysis between Brazil and India in terms of different sustainability indicators over the period 1970 to 2008. The data suggest that India is performing better than Brazil on most sustainability indicators, with the exception in the ecological deficit/surplus indicator. The results revalidate the fact that, across economies, there is a major compromise between economic development and the sustainability of the economy. Though intra-economic analysis shows that Brazil’s economy is decarbonizing during the study period, nevertheless on a comparative scale Brazil’s economy is creating more environmental externality than the Indian economy. Finally a projection based analysis revealed that India will be achieving the same level of human development as Brazil at a much lower environmental cost. Some policy recommendations that emerge in the light of this analysis are outlined in the end.
The socio-economic drivers of material stock accumulation in Japan
Authors: Tomer Fishman, Heinz Schandl, Hiroki Tanikawa
Abstract: A certain level of material stock in the form of buildings and infrastructure is required to enable an economy to provide essential services to businesses and households. In all nations material stocks are growing, requiring huge inflows of construction materials which impose environmental and economic concerns. Studies have rarely gone beyond accounting flows and stocks to investigate the drivers of stock accumulation. In this research we examine relationships between stock accumulation, population and economic growth by a multivariable panel analysis of the material stock of buildings and infrastructure in Japan’s prefectures from 1965 to 2010. The results show relative decoupling of material stock accumulation from GDP and urban population growth, while the shrinkage of rural population has a moderating and stabilizing effect. The relationships that have been unveiled are a first step towards understanding the long-term relations of population and economic activity on the accumulation of material stocks.
Aggregate consumption and economic development: a cross-country comparison
Authors: Alessio Miatto, Tomer Fishman, Hiroki Tanikawa, Heinz Schandl
Abstract: Development of infrastructure and roads not only requires cement and steel, but also aggregate. Accounting methods for aggregate in material flow studies have relied on simplistic and generalised assumptions that do not take into account the technological complexity and engineering knowledge of concrete, roads, and brick production.
The objective of this research is to increase the precision of construction material flow accounts on the global scale and for every country and relate it to growth indicators. This interdisciplinary research involves numerous experts including industrial ecologists, economists, statisticians, and civil & building engineers, and relies on information from manufacturers of construction materials to obtain realistic data for the aggregate intensity for the production of concrete, roads, and bricks.
Furthermore, the relation between aggregate consumption and economic activity is analysed for a number of key countries, to unpack the linkage between the wealth and growth of a nation and its material metabolism.
Socioecological effects of global land-use competition: A biophysical modelling approach based on the human appropriation of net primary production framework
Authors: Helmut Haberl
Abstract: Growth of population and GDP are forecast to result in a massive rise of agricultural output, perhaps by 70-100% until 2050. In addition, efforts to substitute biomass for fossil fuels on a grand scale could at least double humanity’s present biomass demand. Some scenarios expect that bioenergy use will rise by factors between 2 and 5 over its present volume of ~50 EJ/yr in the next decades.
Indicators and modelling approaches
Modeling carbon consequences of pro-environmental behaviors of consumers in Spain
Authors: Cristina Sarasa, Rosa Duarte, Kuishuang Feng, Klaus Hubacek, Julio Sánchez-chóliz, Laixiang Sun
Abstract: Households, as consumers of goods and services through their lifestyles and spending choices, drive environmental change including both direct and indirect impacts. Using a recent social and environmental survey in Spanish households in 2008, this work evaluates the effects of improvements in the current environmental awareness of households considering different income levels. Alternative scenarios that consider higher shares of efficient electric appliances, healthier vegetarian based diets and modal shifts from private to public transport and their associated carbon emissions, costs and job effects are estimated using a Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model calibrated on the 2008 Spanish data. This allows us to evaluate public policies stimulating environmental awareness and behavior change vis a vis a carbon tax and their compatibility of socio-economic benefits with environmental goals. The results suggest that reductions in greenhouse gas, methane and sulphur dioxide emissions might be compatible with increases in income and reductions in unemployment.
Revealing the ideas underlying scientific knowledge. The political ecology of virtual water in Almeria, Andalusia
Authors: Maria J. Beltran, Esther Velazquez
Abstract: What does virtual water conceal? Revealing the ideas underlying virtual water concept we aspire to show how critical approach of ecological economics can be complemented by political ecology theories. The discourse promoting both the concept of VW and the methodologies used to estimate VW flows is structured according to some underlying ideas that are framed within market logic and the rationality of international trade. Consequently, it produces a representation of water as a factor of production that does not challenge the hegemonic construction of water scarcity in nature, and proposes a water management system the main purpose of which is maximising efficiency in the use of the resource. We contrast this reflection with the reality of water in the horticultural sector of Almeria (Spain), with the purpose of bringing to light the aspects made invisible through the use of the VW indicator in a concrete case study.
Acknowledgements: The authors wish to thank the contributions made by Giorgos Kallis, Abel La Calle and Maria Kaika that helped improving this article. This article also benefited from the commentary from the anonymous reviewers, for which we are grateful. This work was supported by the Junta de Andalucia ; the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovacion . Beltran acknowledges support from the Marie Curie Actions – Initial Training Networks – FP7 – PEOPLE – 2011; contract No. 289374 – ENTITLE, European Network of Political Ecology and from the project ANR-12-AGRO-0002. De Terres et d’Eaux (TERRE-EAU). Programme AGROBIOSPHERE 2012
Will the momentum of the electric car last? Testing an hypothesis on disruptive innovation
Authors: Marc Dijk
Abstract: In this paper we study to what extent electric propulsion is disrupting ‘the order’ in the automotive industry with six extensions to Christensen’s notion of disruptive innovation (1997). For decades the automotive sector has relied on the internal combustion engine (ICE) as the established propulsion technology, but due to environmental regulation and geo-political scarcity problems associated with fossil fuel use, electric propulsion is increasingly applied as sole or additional power source. We elaborate the Christensen typology, rooted in industrial analysis, with a regime evolution framework based on changes in technology and the institutional context of production and use. We offer a hypothesis of conditions for market disruption and test this hypothesis against the development trajectory of full-electric vehicles (FEV). Drawing on evidence from a range of recent FEV studies, our analysis suggests that the momentum of the disruptive niche of full-electric mobility is currently insufficient to displace the ICE regime.
Heating system adoption and environmental impact: Insights from coupling an agent-based building-energy model with dynamic LCI data
Authors: Christof Knoeri, Maria Hecher, Stefanie Hatzl, Alfred Posch
Abstract: Energy demand from buildings not only accounts for a significant amount of the final energy use and offers massive savings in terms of environmental impacts, but also restricts the speed of change through the long lifetime of our build environment. In this study, an agent-based building-energy model portrays building stock’s energy demand and heating systems adoption patterns for a region. The key behavioural elements modelled are homeowners’ heating system adoption decision, reflecting the complex interactions between policy interventions, technical and social structure, and individual behaviour. Environmental impacts of the heat demand are then assessed with a dynamic life cycle assessment approach, where the output of the agent-based model is combined with life-cycle inventory data changing over time. The main goal of this study is to shed light on what policy instruments could be most effective in reducing environmental impacts caused by energy demand from buildings.
Modeling Evolutionary Institutional Change in Social-ecological Systems: An analytical framework
Authors: Jens Rommel, Christian Kimmich
Abstract: A wide range of methods has been successfully employed for evaluating the performance of static alternative institutions. It is much more challenging to study institutions if these are considered to be dynamically changing. Some experimentalists and modelers have recently started to endogenize institutions, i.e., they allow rules to be changed dynamically by experimental subjects or simulated agents. Focusing on social-ecological system analysis, we review the literature in this field. We show that institutions can be understood as hierarchically nested, with some higher-level institutions necessarily remaining exogenous to any empirical model. We propose a pragmatic approach to address the matter. Specifically, we develop a guiding list of nine questions, seeking to assist empirically working scholars. The list aims at ensuring transparency in communicating trade-offs faced when designing economic experiments or agent-based models with institutional change in social-ecological systems analysis.
Understanding the bumpy road to resource efficiency: from the concept of ‘barriers’ to ‘webs-of-constraints’
Authors: Marc Dijk, Teresa Domenech, Rene Kemp
Abstract: This paper argues that single factor explanations for resource inefficiencies do not offer a lot of mileage: in practice there are compound causes for why resources are not used more efficiently. This has the following policy implication: instruments that do not address systemic interactions tend to be ineffective. Therefore, there is a need for policy mixes that are mindful to web-of-constraints to RE. The design of a far-reaching policy strategy on resource efficiency requires systemic changes operating at different levels including business models, social consumption patterns, and regulation. After a review of the literature on ‘barriers to resource efficiency’ and a conceptual introduction of the notion of ‘webs-of-constraints’, the paper elaborates the concept of ‘webs-of-constraints’ in two case studies: one about energy efficiency in domestic housing and one about car mobility in urban areas. We give examples of policy mixes that adress web-of-constraints to RE in the two cases.
Environmental impact assessment of sustainable consumption and production patterns at macro-scale: state of the art, limitations and possible ways forward
Authors: Lorenzo Benini, Jo Dewulf, Serenella Sala
Abstract: Sustainable consumption and production (SCP) is intended by many to be a holistic approach aiming towards minimization of negative environmental impacts from the production-consumption systems in society. The way environmental impacts of SCP patterns are assessed at macro-scale has many different operational declinations which build on different theoretical backgrounds, accounting frameworks, as well as methodologies and underlying data. The mainstream methodologies which are currently applied to quantify the emissions and resources associated to societies’ SCP can be broadly grouped in three classes: environmentally extended input-output tables, process-based life cycle assessment and hybrid methods. Subsequently, accounting protocols such as ecological footprint and footprint families in general, pressure indicators and life-cycle impact assessment methods, are applied to these inventories with the aim of assessing the environmental pressures/impacts onto the environment. In this paper an overview of these techniques is provided along with advantages and drawbacks of each methodology.
Measuring transformation towards a Green Economy in Germany
Authors: Christian Lutz, Roland Zieschank, Thomas Drosdowski
Abstract: This paper reports results of the study „Green Economy: Measuring sustainable welfare using SEEA data“. It contributes to measurement of progress towards Green Economy and its understanding for political decision making process in Germany. The definition of Green Economy follows the BMU approach of 2012. The concept to measure the Green Economy, consists of six different dimensions: (A) use of natural resources and environmental damages, (B) natural capital, (C) environmental quality of life, (D) Green Economy: economic dimension and fields of action, (E) policies: institutional framework and measures, and (F) background information on economic and social development. For each dimension the concept includes indicators that can be generated from available data and in part have characteristics of desirable indicators. The concept is tested for Germany using scenario analysis (PANTA RHEI model) with regard to the energy transition (‘Energiewende’). Many indicators improve despite some trade-offs such as increases in resource use.
Appliances and home energy management: breaking habits and reducing consumption
Authors: Michael Peters, Shane Fudge
Abstract: This paper reports findings from a four-month study of energy consumption trends and use of appliances in five UK households. The main aim of the project was to provide some insights into the interrelationship between technology and education in driving more energy efficient consumer use of modern domestic electrical appliances. Selected appliances were montitored in all five homes, and in two, white ‘cold and wet’ appliances were replaced halfway. The study identified some disconnects between largely pro-environmental attitudes, and both stated behaviours and appliance usage – some of which were not maximising efficiency. It became apparent that some of those disconnects (or barriers) could be quite easily overcome when participants carried out a range of previously untried energy-efficient practices during a ‘test week’. The results indicate that even greater savings are possible by combining some behavioural change with the purchase and effective use of new energy-efficient appliances.
Beyond GDP - national accounting in the age of resource depletion
Authors: Michael Carbajales-Dale, Matthew Heun, Becky Haney
Abstract: The metaphor “the economy is society’s metabolism” acts as a springboard to develop a rigorous theoretical framework for a better system of national accounts going “Beyond GDP”; relevant to the age of resource depletion. We need a new way to understand our economy in the context of the biosphere’s ability to provide essential natural capital. Information about materials, energy, embodied energy, and energy intensity should be routinely gathered, analyzed, and disseminated from a centralized location to provide markets and policymakers with a more comprehensive understanding of the biophysical economy.
We develop a new accounting framework is derived from the laws of thermodynamics to reflect the fact that material and embodied energy accumulate within the capital stock of economic sectors. Implications from the new framework are discussed, including the value of economic metrics for policy-making, a re-assessment of the concept of economic “growth,” and an evaluation of recycling, reuse, and dematerialization.
A vision for a resource efficient Europe
Authors: Meghan O’brien, Franziska Hartwig, Jill Jäger, Karin Schanes, Moritz Kammerlander, Ines Omann, Henning Wilts, Raimund Bleischwitz
Abstract: This paper presents a positive vision of the future based on three pillars: a safe and fair use of global resources, a sustainable society, and a transformed economy. It is based on a literature review of sustainability visions as well as stakeholder workshops in the realm of the EU research project POLFREE (Policy Options for a Resource Efficient Economy). In particular, we focus on the targets underpinning our vision for living well within the global safe operating space of resource use. The state of research, rationale and research needs for potential dashboard targets in the four footprint categories — materials, land, water and carbon — are discussed. All in all, we present a bold vision for Europe, arguing that a resource-efficient transformation requires a systemic shift in values, innovation, governance and management regimes.
Explaining international inequalities in metabolic rates through some decomposition techniques
Authors: Juan Antonio Duro, Jordi Teixidó
Abstract: The main purpose of this paper is to analyse the degree of equity in the use of resources in an international perspective, through the use of instruments taken from the inequality measurement literature and for a reasonable sustainability indicator like the Domestic Material Consumption (DMC) per capita. The analysis is performed for a large sample of countries and the period 1970-2005. Specifically, the analysis also includes some inequality decomposition analysis that allow, for example, addressing different explanatory factors. Thus, the analysis includes the breakdown of this inequality by groups of countries based on different grouping criteria (regional, by level of development, etc); the decomposition by additive factors (for example, biomass and mineral and fossil fuels) and, in addition, a multiplicative factors decomposition (i.e. de-materialization factor versus affluence). We believe that this analysis is novel and provides relevant empirical evidence to the analysis and understanding of international equity in resources use.
Product-service systems and transition to a circular economy
Renewal of manufacturing towards sustainable circular bioeconomy: Analysis of new business models from a transitions perspective
Authors: Paula Kivimaa, Tiina Jääskeläinen, Armi Temmes, Åke Thidell
Abstract: Renewal of manufacturing has arisen as a particular innovation policy goal in some Western countries due to a declining and globally relocating manufacturing industry. Previously industrial renewal has been discussed particularly in the context of regional restructuring, while we take a broader outlook through linking renewal to circular economy in the context of globalised business models and product value chains. Our aim is to examine novel business models as part of renewal of manufacturing in the context of circular economy transitions. Empirically, the study analyses the renewal of forest-based industries towards a circular bioeconomy in Finland and Sweden. Specific attention is paid to the role of incumbents in forming new business models for circular economy by utilising concepts of path dependence and path renewal.
Contractualising functionality: valuing performance through cooperative relationships’ enhancement efforts
Authors: Clément Morlat, Benoît Mougenot
Abstract: The functional economy now appears to enter in the age of maturity. However, this paper will offer proposals to preserve the original objectives, guarantors of a possible ecological transition. The first part recalls the main elements that mark the shift that occurs from an approach focused on technical rationales, governing through a model of services commercialisation, to another approach founded on a more socioeconomic and cooperative rationale, which is needed for functional economy. The paper will then open new opportunities of contracting for conducting the emergence of new players and their participation on innovative projects’ financing and implementation. Finally, in light of these new paradigms, the paper concludes with a contribution in terms of accounting approach to territorial cooperative performance contracting and reporting practices co-evolution.
Households’ motivation and barriers for utility service-performance contracts
Authors: Christof Knoeri, Sally Russell, Julia Steinberger, Katy Roelich
Abstract: End-user centred infrastructure operation through service-performance contracting has been seen as a valuable business opportunity while at the same time reducing resource consumption of infrastructure services. Research on energy service contracting has identified that domestic end-users’ acceptance of service contracting arrangements may be a barrier to the mainstream adoption of a change in infrastructure services. In this research we examine end-user behaviours in the current UK context of utility provision and compare responses with those of future scenarios of service and service-performance infrastructure provision. This contrast allows for an analysis of the extent to which domestic end-users may be willing to accept intervention from service providers. We present the theoretical background, survey design and procedure, and introduce a set of testable behavioural hypothesis. In the conference contribution we will present the full results of the survey and highlight implications for future research and practice.
Sustainability as an entrepreneurial opportunity
Authors: Annika Scharbert, Sigrid Stagl
Abstract: In light of multiple crises, a systemic view is taken to analyse transformative processes at multiple levels with a specific focus on change agents. Starting with the conventional understanding of entrepreneurs as change agents acting through creative destruction, this paper aims to understand the contribution of entrepreneurship to socio-ecological transformation. Entrepreneurship is understood as a specific social practice, based on the specific habitus of the ability to not only recognize but also exploit entrepreneurial opportunities. However, enterprises do not act in isolation but within wider networks. As such, changes in how enterprises are structured, leads to changes in societal institutions, including the economy. Accordingly, the analysis of sustainability-driven entrepreneurship provided here (based on empirical research in Vienna) hopes to show the wider social diffusion of (more) sustainable practices of both production and consumption, thus highlighting the potential of micro change agents to bring about macro-level change.
New tools for understanding rapid transitions: insights from Exergy and Useful Work Analysis
Improving the robustness of exergy accounting: from primary energy to energy services
Authors: Tânia Sousa, Jonathan Cullen, André Cabrera Serrenho, Paul Brockway, Tiago Domingos
Abstract: Reducing demand for energy remains a large-scale and cost-effective means to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate climate change. Yet, estimating the potential for reducing societal energy demand has proved challenging because current methods do not use consistent definitions of efficiencies and often fail to consider maximum efficiency limits. This paper sets out to improve the robustness of societal exergy accounting and explore practical efficiency limits across the energy supply chain. The first section examines the methodological issues regarding the consistent definition of efficiencies in performing exergy analysis from primary exergy to final exergy and final exergy to useful work (e.g. heat, motion, light). It also discusses the metrics that can be developed to effectively measure the conversion of useful work to energy services (transport, thermal comfort). The second section of the paper discusses the definition and implications of practical efficiency limits for conversion devices and passive systems on exergy analysis.
Measuring EROI (energy return on investment) on a national level – links to exergy and useful work analysis?
Authors: Tim Foxon, Lina Brand, Paul Brockway, Claire Carter, Charles Hall, Jessica Lambert, Peter Taylor
Abstract: Concerns have been raised that declining EROI (energy return on energy investment) from fossil fuel and alternative energy inputs could constrain the ability of economies to continue to deliver economic growth and improvements in social wellbeing. This paper contributes to understanding of physical constraints on economic growth by relating EROI analysis to exergy-based analysis of economic growth, by addressing: (1) What are the remaining conceptual and methodological issues relating to defining EROI (or related measures of net energy) for a national economy? (2) How can we synthesise aggregated and individual process based energy estimates? (3) How would this new measure of EROI relate to analyses of efficiency of conversion of exergy inputs to useful work? (4) What further data collection would be needed to measure EROI at a national levels? (5) How would this measure of EROI relate to analyses of efficiency of conversion of exergy inputs to useful work?
Investigating the Coupling Between Useful Exergy and GDP
Authors: Tiago Domingos, André Cabrera Serrenho, Tânia Sousa, Paul Brockway, Benjamin Warr
Abstract: The last decade has seen increasing interest in relating energy and the economy considering the useful exergy (useful work) metric. Here, we classify energy uses according to the three stages of the economic process in which energy is used: (1) production of capital goods; (2) production of other goods; (3) direct energy use by final consumers. High temperature heat uses are mostly associated to (1). The uses in (3) are not directly associated to the creation of economic value and vary significantly with income for the same country and with climate between different countries. We hypothesize that, if we remove the effects of (1) and (3), useful exergy intensity is roughly constant and equal between countries. We discuss the empirical basis for this result, analyse the implications regarding trends in primary energy and final energy intensities, and outline a research plan for further testing, analysis and interpretation of this hypothesis.
Modelling Economic Growth with Exergy-augmented Production Functions
Authors: Tiago Domingos, João Santos, Paul Brockway, Matthew Heun, Julia Steinberger, Marco Sakai
Abstract: We review and discuss the inclusion of energy inputs in a macroeconomic production function framework, in order to fit past economic growth for several countries. We argue that an energy-augmented production function is better capable of tracing production relations over time. It will follow that energy is more important than indicated by its cost-share. Assumptions regarding factors of production, choice of production function and the appropriate measure for energy (exergy) inputs are carefully addressed. Using OLS regressions and resampling techniques (bootstrapping), we empirically test possible exergy-augmented production functions (Cobb-Douglas, Constant Elasticity of Substitution, Linear Exponential) in terms of goodness-of-fit to economic growth, total factor productivity (TFP), factor substitution and output elasticities. We compare results obtained considering measures of energy inputs at distinct stages of exergy flows (primary, final and useful). All exergy-augmented production functions are also compared against analogously fitted functions considering only capital and labor inputs.
Resource efficiency: What are we measuring?
Structuring the EU’s resource efficiency data base. A policy driven indicator approach.
Authors: Oliver Zwirner
Abstract: EU resource efficiency policy documents include a multitude of data and indicators that support the need for such policies and point to the benefits for businesses, consumers and the environment. Based on an analysis of EU policy documents with respect to data, indicators and potentially measurable concepts, this paper identifies the policy demand for indicators and proposes an innovative comprehensive overall framework to organise the ‘numerical knowledge’ on EU resource efficiency policies. The main framework suggested and tested follows the steps of the economic production chain from the availability of natural resources, to extraction, industry input, efficiency of production and consumption, circular economy and environmental impacts. To cope with the heterogeneity of data, principles for sub-structuring are suggested. By using the suggested framework stakeholders of resource efficiency policies could work together more constructively and effectively to make the wealth of available data accessible for public and private decision support.
A common structure for the measurement of socio-ecological performance
Authors: Angela Koeppl, Claudia Kettner, Sigrid Stagl
Abstract: Special session: “Resource efficiency: What are we measuring?”
Questioning GDP as dominant indicator for economic performance has become commonplace. Despite international efforts, few well-being and ecological variables are used in macroeconomic models. The reasons for this range from path dependencies in modelling, technical limitations, indicator lists being long and unworkable, the choice of indicators appearing ad hoc and secondary data missing. We review key theoretical approaches for well-being and identify candidate variables for socio-ecological performance and analyse their availability in public statistics. In the selection of indicators we account for the biophysical and social dimensions and stress the role of stock-flow interactions that generate well-being relevant services.
European Energy Market Integration: Efficiency Improvements in Electricity Producing Firms
Authors: Ferran Armada
Abstract: In this paper we review and use different methods to measure and compare efficiency scores in energy producing plants. In particular we use non-parametric and parametric techniques. We focus our attention in electricity producing power plants in eighteen European countries as well as in thirty energy systems as a whole. This paper also state some preliminary results like: efficiency has widely improved in the period studied, but these positive results are not homogeneous among energy systems or firms. We present some evidence that the greatest part of the energy improvement is consequence of the technological shift and not necessarily due to alternative factors such as market integration, increasing competition or other firm level decisions.
Incorporating Resource Efficiency Indicators to Climate Change Scenarios: Insights from Recent GINFORS Simulations
Authors: Gerd Ahlert, Martin Distelkamp, Mark Meyer
Abstract: The concept of Shared Socio-economic Pathways (SSPs) originated from IPCC activities for projecting future climate change. It has been developed along the dimensions of challenges to mitigation and to adaptation and is thus being frequently applied in emission and climate scenario studies. Environmental studies focussing on other challenges than climate change, however, have not discussed the implied environmental pressures of individual SSP scenarios very intensively until now. Referring to the significant and still growing importance of resource efficiency measures for national as well as international political agendas, this circumstance might be perceived as rather astonishing. At least, it hints to remaining research tasks in the ecological economics literature. In this regard, our paper is intended to proceed a step forward: We present results from model-based simulation studies which integrate the environmental dimension of global resource extractions to the SSP framework. The applied modelling framework is given by the GINFORS model.