Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 213–231 | Cite as

Quantifying the limits of HANPP and carbon emissions which prolong total species well-being

  • Justin D. K. BishopEmail author
  • Gehan A. J. Amaratunga
  • Cuauhtemoc Rodriguez


Anthropogenic climate and land-use change are leading to irreversible losses of global biodiversity, upon which ecosystem functioning depends. Since total species' well-being depends on ecosystem goods and services, man must determine how much net primary productivity (NPP) may be appropriated and carbon emitted so as to not adversely impact this and future generations. In 2005, man ought to have only appropriated 9.72 Pg C of NPP, representing a factor 2.50, or 59.93%, reduction in human-appropriated NPP in that year. Concurrently, the carbon cycle would have been balanced with a factor 1.26, or 20.84%, reduction from 7.60 Gt C/year to 5.70 Gt C/year, representing a return to the 1986 levels. This limit is in keeping with the category III stabilization scenario of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change. Projecting population growth to 2030 and its associated basic food requirements, the maximum HANPP remains at 9.74 ± 0.02 Pg C/year. This time-invariant HANPP may only provide for the current global population of 6.51 billion equitably at the current average consumption of 1.49 t C per capita, calling into question the sustainability of developing countries striving for high-consuming country levels of 5.85 t C per capita and its impacts on equitable resource distribution.


HANPP Carbon emissions Population 


  1. Alexandrov, G., Oikawa, T., & Esser, G. (1999). Estimating terrestrial NPP: What the data say and how they may be interpreted? Ecological Modelling, 117, 361–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Balvanera, P., et al. (2006). Quantifying the evidence for biodiversity effects on ecosystem functioning and services. Ecology Letters, 9(10), 1146–1156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barker, T., et al. (2007). Climate change 2007: Mitigation. Contribution of working group III to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Technical summary (p. 27). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  4. Brohan, P., Kennedy, J., Harris, I., Tett, S., & Jones, P. (2006). Uncertainty estimates in regional and global observed temperature changes: A new dataset from 1850. Journal of Geophysical Research, 111, D12106.Google Scholar
  5. Canadell, J., et al. (2007). Contributions to accelerating atmospheric CO2 growth from economic activity, carbon intensity, and efficiency of natural sinks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(47), 18866–18870.Google Scholar
  6. Clarke, A., & Gaston, K. (2006). Climate, energy and diversity. Proceedings of the Royal Society London B, 273, 2257–2266.Google Scholar
  7. Costanza, R., Fisher, B., Mulder, K., Liu, S., & Christopher, T. (2007). Biodiversity and ecosystem services. Ecological Economics, 61, 478–491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Crutzen, P. (2002). Geology of mankind. Nature, 415, 23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dirzo, R., & Gaston, K. (2003). Global state of biodiversity and loss. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 28, 137–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Durand, J. (1977). Historical estimates of world population: An evaluation. Population Development Review, 3, 253–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Foley, J., et al. (2005). Global consequences of land use. Science, 309(5734), 570–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Haberl, H. (2006). The global socioeconomic energetic metabolism as a sustainability problem. Energy, 31(1), 87–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Haberl, H., et al., (2007). Quantifying and mapping the human appropriation of net primary production in earth’s terrestrial ecosystems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(31), 12942–12947.Google Scholar
  14. Hazell, P., & Wood, S. (2008). Drivers of change in global agriculture. Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B, 363, 495–515.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hooper, D., et al. (2005). Effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning. Ecological Monographs, 75, 3–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Imhoff, M., et al. (2004). Global patterns in human consumption of net primary production. Nature, 429, 870–873.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. I.P.C.C. (2002). Climate change and biodiversity. I.P.C.C. Technical Paper V. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.Google Scholar
  18. Jackson, J., & Johnson, K. (2001). Measuring past biodiversity. Science, 293(5539), 2401–2404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Klein Goldewijk, K., & Van Drecht, G. (2006). HYDE 3: Current and historical population and land cover. In: A. F. Bouwman, T. Kram, & K. Klein Goldewijk (Eds.), Integrated modelling of global environmental change. An overview of IMAGE 2.4 (p. 108). Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (MNP), Bilthoven, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  20. Krausmann, F., Erb, K.-H., Gingrich, S., Lauk, C., & Haberl, H. (2008). Global patterns of socioeconomic biomass flows in the year 2000: A comprehensive assessment of supply, consumption and constraints. Ecological Economics, 65(3), 471–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lüthi, D., et al. (2008). High-resolution carbon dioxide concentration record 650,000–800,000 years before present. Nature, 453, 379–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mace, G., Masundire, H., & Baillie, J. (2005). Ecosystem and human well-being: Current state and trends (Vol. 1, Chap. 4, pp. 79–80). Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
  23. Marland, G., Andres, B., & Boden, T. (2007). Global CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel burning, cement manufacture, and gas flaring: 1751–2004, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
  24. McDonough, W., & Braungart, M. (2002). Cradle to cradle: Remaking the way we make things. New York: North Point Press.Google Scholar
  25. Polimeni, J., & Polimeni, R. (2006). Jevons’ Paradox and the myth of technological liberation. Ecological Complexity, 3(4), 344–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pregitzer, K., & Euskirchen, E. (2004). Carbon cycling and storage in world forests: Biome patterns related to forest age. Global Change Biology, 10, 2052–2077.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Purvis, A., & Hector, A. (2000). Getting the measure of biodiversity. Nature, 405, 212–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sala, O., et al. (2000). Global biodiversity scenarios for the year 2100. Science, 287, 1770–1774.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Schmidt-Bleek, F. (1999). Factor 10: Making sustainability accountable. Factor 10 Institute, Carnoules.Google Scholar
  30. Siegenthaler, U., et al. (2005). Stable carbon cycle–climate relationship during the late pleistocene. Science, 310(5752), 1313–1317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Solomon, S., et al. (2007). Climate change 2007: The physical science basis. Contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Technical summary (p. 26). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  32. Todd, J. (2004). Nature’s operating instructions: The true biotechnologies (Chap. 2, p. 23). San Francisco, CA: Sierra Club Books.Google Scholar
  33. Tonn, B. (2007). Futures sustainability. Futures, 39(9), 1097–1116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Tubrillo, F., Sousanna, J., & Howden, S. (2007). Crop and pasture response to climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104, 19686–19690.Google Scholar
  35. Vitousek, P., Ehrlich, P., Ehrlich, A., & Matson, P. (1986). Human appropriation of the products of photosynthesis. Bioscience, 36(6), 368–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. W.R.I. (2005). Ecosystems and human well-being: Synthesis—A report of the millennium ecosystem assessment. Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
  37. Zerbe, S., & Kreyer, D. (2006). Introduction to special section on ecosystem restoration and biodiversity: How to assess and measure biological diversity? Restoration Ecology, 14(1), 103–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justin D. K. Bishop
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gehan A. J. Amaratunga
    • 1
  • Cuauhtemoc Rodriguez
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EngineeringUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Cambridge ConsultantsCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations