A biophysically anchored production function
- 150 Downloads
The first part presents a conceptual model of the economic system in its ecological and social context. It is developed via an integration of basic concepts in physical resource theory, animal and human physiology, economic theory and systems ecology. The capacity of the model to support analysis of such complex systems where life is a key system characteristic is high. The conceptual model shows the dependency of the human economy on support by non-renewable and renewable resources from Nature (i.e. ecological source restrictions), as well as the capacity of ecosystems to assimilate wastes (ecological sink restrictions). The analysis focuses general principles; thus, the high level of abstraction results in an apparent simplicity. In the second part, we integrate traditional economic production functions and the conceptual model, which results in the formulation of a biophysically anchored production function (BAPF). The BAPF by itself, and through the system of ecological economic accounts that can be derived from it, represent a toolbox that supports the operationalisation of a sustainable development from micro to macro level. It is coherent with Impredicative Loop Analysis, existing management systems within agricultural sciences, OECD’s principles for sustainable development and the approach of Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Compared to analytical approaches used in the formulation of sustainability policies in the private and public sphere, based on conceptual models ignoring the complexity when life (bios) is a defining system characteristic, its relevance for the operationalisation of sustainable development approaches infinity. The third part presents results from statistical analysis of relations between gross domestic product and energy supply and some emissions, respectively, for different nations and time periods, delivering values on levels and trends for parameters in the BAPF as well as a first test of the relevance of the BAPF proposed. The paper is ended by a theoretical analysis of the costs of provoking an economic system working under ecological source and sink restrictions to follow exponential growth: The need to decouple economic growth from natural resource use and emissions is highlighted. Otherwise, the erosion of the ecological foundation of the economy with regard to source as well as sink aspects will be a function of exponential growth.
KeywordsBiophysical productivity Energy use GDP Emissions Time trends
Biophysically anchored production function
Energy return on invested energy
Gross domestic product
Net domestic product
Non-renewable natural capital
Non-renewable natural resources
Renewable natural capital
Renewable natural resources
Sten Ebbersten, Knut Per Hasund, AnnMari Jansson, and reviewer #1 provided valuable comments on earlier versions. The work was partly funded by Ekhagastiftelsen.
- ASPO. (2009). http://www.peakoil.net/. Accessed 6 Feb 2009.
- Baumann, H., & Tillman, A.-M. (2004). The hitch hiker’s guide to LCA: An orientation in life cycle assessment methodology and application. Lund: Studentlitteratur.Google Scholar
- Campbell, C. J., & Laherrère, J. H. (1998). The end of cheap oil. Scientific American, March, 78–83.Google Scholar
- Cederberg, C., & Flysjö, A. (2004). Life cycle inventory of 23 dairy farms in south-west Sweden. SIK-Report 728, SIK-Institutet för Livsmedel och Bioteknik, Göteborg.Google Scholar
- Cederberg, C., Flysjö, A., & Ericson, L. (2007). Livscykelanalys (LCA) av norrländsk mjölkproduktion. SIK-rapport Nr 761, SIK-Institutet för Livsmedel och Bioteknik, Göteborg.Google Scholar
- Costanza, R. (1994). Three general policies to achieve sustainability. In A.-M. Jansson, M. Hammer, C. Folke, & R. Costanza (Eds.), Investing in natural capital: The ecological economics approach to sustainability (pp. 392–407). Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
- Daly, H. E., & Cobb, J. B. (1989). For the common good: Redirecting the economy toward community, the environment, and a sustainable future. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
- Ecological Economics (2007). Special issue on environmental accounting: Introducing the system of integrated environmental and economic accounting 2003—SEEA-2003 S.I. Ecological Economics, 61(4), 589–724.Google Scholar
- Gunnarsson, S., Sonesson, U., Stenberg, M., Kumm, K. I., & Ventorp, M. (2005). Scenarios for future Swedish dairy production: A report from the synthesis group of FOOD 21. Uppsala: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.Google Scholar
- Hall, C. A. S., Cleveland, C. J., & Kaufmann, R. (1986). Energy and resource quality: The ecology of the economic process. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Hartwick, J. M. (1977). Intergenerational Equity and the Investing of Rents from Exhaustible Resources. American Economic Review, 66, 972–974.Google Scholar
- Heal, G. & Kriström, B. (2000). Resource accounting. In J. Vincent & K. G. Mäler (Eds.), Handbook of environmental economics. North-Holland: Elsevier.Google Scholar
- Hicks, J. R. (1939). Value and capital (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Holling, C. S. (1986). The resilience of terrestrial ecosystems: Local surprise and global change. In W. C. Clark & R. F. Munn (Eds.), Sustainable development of the biosphere. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Hubbert, M. K. (1956). Nuclear energy and the fossil fuels. In Drilling and production practice (pp. 7–25). American Petroleum Institute & Shell Development Co, Publication No. 95.Google Scholar
- IEA. (1996). World energy outlook. Paris: International Energy Agency, OECD.Google Scholar
- IEA. (1998a). World energy outlook 1998. Paris: International Energy Agency, OECD.Google Scholar
- IEA. (1998b). World energy prospects to 2020. In Paper prepared by the International Energy Agency for the G8 Energy Ministers’ Meeting, Moscow, 31 March–1 April 1998. International Energy Agency, OECD, Paris.Google Scholar
- IEA. (1999). Energy balances of OECD countries 1965–1997. Paris: International Energy Agency, OECD.Google Scholar
- Johansson, Ö. (1967). The gross domestic product of Sweden and its composition 1861–1955. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.Google Scholar
- Lagerberg Fogelberg, C. (2008). På väg mot miljöanpassade kostråd—Vetenskapligt underlag inför miljökonsekvensanalysen av Livsmedelsverkets kostråd, Rapport 9 2008, Livsmedelsverket. http://www.slv.se/upload/dokument/rapporter/mat_naring/2008_livsmedelsverket_9_miljoanpassade_kostrad.pdf. Accessed 02 Nov 2009.
- Lindmark, M. (1998). Towards environmental historical national accounts for Sweden. Methodological considerations and estimates for the 19th and 20th centuries. Umeå Studies in Economic History 21. Ph.D. dissertation.Google Scholar
- LRF. (2002). Maten och miljön. Skövde: Livscykelanalys av sju livsmedel.Google Scholar
- Mäler, K. G. (1991). National accounts and environmental resources. Environmental and Resource Economics, 1, 1–15.Google Scholar
- Martinez-Alier, J. (1987). Ecological economics: Economics, environment and society. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
- MAX. (2009). Metod (för klimatanalys bakom MAX’ klimatstrategi). http://www.max.se/download/Metod%20Max%20klimat%20080506.pdf. Accessed 2009.
- MEA. (2009). http://www.millenniumassessment.org/en/About.aspx. Accessed 6 Feb 2009.
- Nordhaus, W., & Tobin, J. (1973). Is growth obsolete? Review of income and wealth (Vol. 38). New York: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
- Odum, E. P. (1989). Ecology and our endangered life-support systems. Massachusetts: Sinauer Associates, Inc.Google Scholar
- Odum, H. T. (1996). Environmental accounting. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- OECD. (2001). Policies to enhance sustainable development. Meeting of the OECD council at ministerial level, 2001. http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/47/22/1869800.pdf. Accessed 29 Mar 2008.
- Perrings, C., Folke, C., & Mäler, K.-G. (1992). The ecology and economics of biodiversity loss: The research agenda. Ambio, 21, 201–211.Google Scholar
- Repetto, R., McGrath, W., Wells, M., Beer, C., & Rossini, F. (1989). Wasting assets: Natural resources in the national income accounts. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute.Google Scholar
- SBA. (2008). Minska jordbrukets klimatpåverkan! Del 1. Introduktion och några åtgärder/styrmedel (“Reduce the climate impact of agriculture! Part 1. Introduction and some measures/incentives”) (in Swedish) see http://www2.sjv.se/download/18.677019f111ab5ecc5be80007018/klimat_delrapport_1.pdf. Accessed 25 Aug 2008.
- SNFA. (2008). http://www.slv.se/templates/SLV_NewsPage.aspx?id=21729&epslanguage=SV. Accessed 25 Aug 2008.
- Sonesson, U. (2005). Environmental assessment of future dairy farming systems—quantifications of two scenarios from the FOOD 21 synthesis work, SIK-rapport Nr 741, SIK, Gothemburg.Google Scholar
- SOU. (1991). Produktivitetsdelegationens betänkande, SOU 1991:82. Stockholm: Allmänna Förlaget.Google Scholar
- Statistics Sweden. (2009). The system of environmental and economic accounts, see http://www.scb.se/Pages/Product____38161.aspx. Accessed 02 Sep 2009.
- Stern, S., Sonesson, U., Gunnarsson, S., Kumm, K.-I., Öborn, I., & Nybrant, T. (2005). Sustainable pig production in the future—development and evaluation of different scenarios. Report FOOD 21 No 5/2005, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and SIK, Uppsala.Google Scholar
- Swedish National Energy Administration. (1998). Energy in Sweden 1998. Eskilstuna: Facts and Figures.Google Scholar
- Swedish National Energy Administration. (2001). Energy in Sweden 2001. Eskilstuna: Facts and Figures.Google Scholar
- Swedish National Institute of Economic Research. (2002). Living-cost index 1841–2000. At www.konj.se/statistik/Data/Inflation.xls. Accessed 21 Aug 2003.
- UN. (2008). UN millennium goals. http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/poverty.shtml. Accessed 25 Aug 2008.
- UN. (2009). UN committee of experts on environmental—economic accounting. http://unstats.un.org/unsd/envaccounting/ceea/. Accessed 7 Feb 2009.
- Wall, G. (1986). Exergy: A useful concept. Ph.D. Dissertation in Physics. Physical Resource Theory Group, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg.Google Scholar
- WCED (World Commission on Environment, Development). (1987). Our common future. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Wijkman, A. (2004). Report on the communication from the commission to the council and the European parliament on integrated product policy—building on environmental life-cycle thinking (COM(2003) 302—C5-0550/2003—2003/2221(INI))”, from the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy, Rapporteur, Anders Wijkman, FINAL, A5-0261/2004, 8 Apr 2004.Google Scholar