Course simronsingh mefa


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Course simronsingh mefa

  1. 1. The material and energetic basis of social systems An introduction Simron Jit Singh Institute of Social Ecology Klagenfurt University, Austria Why analyse material and energy flows? Materials and energy are biophysical categories necessary for human survival and reproduction They are finite both in terms of availability and productivity Patterns of material and energy use (in both quantitative and qualitative terms) affect the future survival of humans and other species The world is presently experiencing an unprecedented environment crisis due to the ways we consume our resources (materials, energy, land) causing sustainability problems on the input side (scarcity) and the output side (pollution) This has also had social consequences in terms of resource distributional conflicts and environmental justice 1
  2. 2. Material and Energy Flow Analysis - MEFA MEFA is an analytical method that allows to: Analyse the quantity and quality of resources extracted from nature and their passing through processing, transport, final consumption and disposal Understand the spatial dimension of material flows (where extraction, production, consumption and disposal takes place) Interpret the impact of these flows within the framework of sustainability science and ecological economics Relate these flows to ecological distributional conflicts and embedded power relations (political ecology) Doing a MEFA involves a number of “wicked” decisions, as analytical categories come in conflict with ontological ones (as do semiotics). Let us take for example this statement: The environmental problems (some would say crisis) we face today are a consequence of the ways society interacts with nature 2
  3. 3. “Society as hybrid between material and symbolic worlds” cultural sphere of causation natural sphere of causation Adapted from: Fischer-Kowalski & Weisz, 1999 “Society as hybrid between material and symbolic worlds” metabolism labour/technology Material world Adapted from: Fischer-Kowalski & Weisz, 1999 3
  4. 4. “Society as hybrid between material and symbolic worlds” natural sphere of causation cultural sphere of causation metabolism communication, labour/technology Shared meaning & understanding Material world Human Society Adapted from: Fischer-Kowalski & Weisz, 1999 The Two Types of Metabolism 4
  5. 5. Operationalising Material Flow Accounting Air, Water Water Vapour Imports Exports Immigrants Emigrants Economic Processing DPO DE Stocks Domestic environment Problem 1: What belongs to society and what belongs to nature? Air, Water Water Vapour Imports Exports Immigrants Labour as a determining factor Emigrants Economic Processing Humans (what about seasonal migration, tourists) Livestock DPO DE Infrastructure and artefacts (buildings, streets, dams, electricity grids, etc.) Stocks The only exception is agricultural fields, even though they are reproduced by human labour!! 5
  6. 6. Problem 2: How to define a social system’s domestic territory to differentiate between domestic flows and imports? Air, Water Water Vapour Imports Exports Immigrants Legitimate right Emigrants Economic Processing To exploit the resources within a territory, either DPO through traditional or legal control DE Where existing political and governing institutions have the ability to set and sanction standards of social behaviour within that territory Stocks The difficult of a strict systems boundary, particularly in local rural systems where there are overlaps in land use with neighbours Problem 3: How to account for externalities or hidden flows? Air, Water Water Vapour Flows are accounted for as ‘weight at border’ Imports Exports Immigrants All materials that are economically valued areEmigrants considered as ‘direct’ Processing but not, for e.g. earth removed for inputs, Economic construction or used in ploughing, or dredging. What about the ‘hidden flows’ or ‘ecological rucksacks’ DPO DE that occur during extraction, processing or disposal of resources where these activities take place? For e.g. a ton of aluminum requires 9 tons of raw Stocks materials, 3 tons of water and 200 GJ of energy! How to account for these externalities? Total Material Flow (TMR); Raw Material Equivalent (RME); a political issue!! 6
  7. 7. Inclusiveness or exclusiveness of material flows If all materials, then water and air make up to 85-90% of the total? Most studies would not lump water, air and other materials (biomass, fuels, minerals) so as not to drown economically valued materials in water and air; so they are kept separate for their sheer amount, as and also supposedly low impact of their use (toxicity); But this is changing with many studies quantify the use of water and its ecological and social impacts, including severe conflicts over its access; Studies on water footprint of products, embodied water, debating on what should be produced where depending on water situation, etc. 7
  8. 8. Socioeconomic metabolism is an interdisciplinary effort integrating concepts from social and natural sciences to describe the biophysical relations of society-nature interactions The operating instrument for socio-economic metabolism is Material and Energy Flow Accounting (MEFA) Consistent with the systems approach, national MFA is a physical accounting method that provides an aggregate overview, in tonnes, of annual material inputs and outputs of an economy. Its interpretative strength can be greatly enhanced by historical and institutional narratives MFA: Conceptual and Methodological options Frame of reference / unit of analysis: (a) seen from a social science perspective, the unit of analysis could be the socioeconomic system, treating it like an organism or sophisticated machine, or (b) the ecosystem, seen from a natural science perspective, with mutual feedback loops. Reference system: Global, national, regional (city or watershed or village), functional (firm, household, economic sector), temporal (various modes of subsistence, social formations, historical systems) Flows under consideration: total turnover of materials, energy or both; one may select certain flows of materials or chemical substances (inputs or outputs) for reasons of availability in the reference ecosystem, or to look at the rates of consumption. 8
  9. 9. Map of materials of particular interest for accounting Related policy response: Small volume with high impact: policy directed on pollution control, bans, substitutions, etc. Medium volume focuses on policy at reducing materials and energy intensity or production, minimization of wastes and emissions, closing loops through recycling High volume flows, policy objectives will be concerned with depletion of natural resources, disruption of habitats during extractions. Source: Steurer 1996 Some theoretical and empirical applications of MEFA 9
  10. 10. 1. Characteristic metabolic profiles and transitions across scales and production regimes Composition of materials input (DMC) material input EU15 (tonnes, in %) total: 17 tonnes/cap*y Biomass construction minerals industr.minerals fossil fuels source: EUROSTAT 2003 10
  11. 11. Composition of DPO: Wastes and emissions (outflows) DPO total: 16 tons per capita D PO t o ai r ( C O2 ) D PO t o ai r* D PO t o wat er D PO t o land ( wast e) D PO t o l and ( d issip at ive use) unweighted means of DPO per capita for A, G, J, NL, US; metric tons Source: WRI et al., 2000; own calculations Metabolic profiles of the agrarian and industrial regime: transition = explosion Agrarian Industrial Factor Energy use (DEC) per capita [GJ/cap] 40-70 150-400 3-5 Material use (DMC) per capita [t/cap] 3-6 15-25 3-5 Population density [cap/km²] <40 < 400 3-10 Agricultural population [%] >80% <10% 0.1 Energy use (DEC) per area [GJ/ha] <30 < 600 10-30 Material use (DMC) per area [t/ha] <2 < 50 10-30 Biomass (share of DEC) [%] >95 10-30 0.1-0.3 Source: Social Ecology DB 11
  12. 12. Domestic Material Consumption / cap in EU Countries, 2000 Source: Weisz et al. 2006 Global material use 1900 – 2005 (DMC = DE) Total material use (Gigatons / year) Metabolic rate (tons / cap / year) Source: Krausmann et al. 2009 12
  13. 13. India: Domestic Material Consumption (DMC) total tons I tons per capita 5.000.000 5 Construction Construction 4.500.000 minerals 4 minerals Ores and non Ores and non 4.000.000 metallic minerals metallic minerals Fossil fuels 4 Fossil fuels 3.500.000 Biomass Biomass 3 3.000.000 3 1000t t/cap 2.500.000 2 2.000.000 2 1.500.000 1 1.000.000 1 500.000 - - 61 64 67 70 73 76 79 82 85 88 91 94 97 00 03 61 64 67 70 73 76 79 82 85 88 91 94 97 00 03 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 20 20 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 20 20 Source: Lanz 2008 2. Dematerialization or shifting environmental burdens from north to south 13
  14. 14. Meadows et al. (1972) argued that economic growth would have to be stalled in order to remain within the earth’s carrying capacity As opposed to Meadows, Ayres and Kneese’s solution was more subtle and acceptable to economists…it was not economic growth that mattered but the growth in the material throughput of human societies that was significant. 14
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  16. 16. Problem shifting via international division of labor 100% Material Money Mass Value added 0% Raw material --> semi-/products -- use disposal > developing Developed countries Unequal distribution of global resources (for the year 2000) 100% 90% 80% 70% D - Ld - ow 60% D- Ld - nw D - Hd 50% I - Ld - ow I - Ld - nw 40% I - Hd 30% 20% 10% 0% S h a re o f p o p u la tio n S h a re o f te rrito ry S h a re o f G D P Slide courtesy: Fischer-Kowalski and colleagues 16
  17. 17. 3. Relating material and energy flows with conflicts Metabolism of cities and conflicts • Cities require large inputs of material and energy resources, but they have very little productive land of their own; they depend on hinterlands (national or international) for their supply of materials and energy for their metabolism (infrastructure, food, products) as well as waste disposal; corporations and enterprises organise this production – supply – disposal chain for the city at profitable rates, while ignoring proper compensation and externalities of the hinterland populations… E.g. Barcelona produces 800 t of waste each day, dumped in rural sites, leading to conflicts 17
  18. 18. Energy metabolism of Catalan The conflicts in Catalan can be seen as a problem of energy metabolism where energy production takes place in rural hinterlands (nuclear, wind); while city dwellers enjoy most of the energy supply, and capitalists make high gains in this production – supply chain, the low economic compensation as well as externalities are borne by the rural populations; Monetary and physical trade balance in Equador Source: Vallejo (2010) 18
  19. 19. Resource extraction and conflicts in Equador Source: Vallejo (2010) Analysing the material and energetic basis of local rural systems 19
  20. 20. Which scientific skills do we need for undertaking local studies? Conceptual and analytical Innovative and logical Anthropological field skills; ability to think in terms thinking on the field to research skills, social & of systems and feedback generate reliable primary process skills, participant loops, etc. quantitative data observation, ability to generate qualitative data on the socio-cultural system Why study local rural systems? Local systems are the base of national economies in terms of food production & resource extraction; They are most vulnerable to environmental impacts and ecological repercussions on the output side The health of a local base is to a large extent an indication of the health of its national economy Thus, the sustainability of local systems is crucial when we speak of national or global sustainability To me it provides a meaningful point of entry into the sustainability discourse And of course a certain amount of field work is always exciting! 20
  21. 21. Material Flows on Trinket, Nicobar Islands (tons/cap/yr) IMPORTS EXPORTS 0.35 2.4 DMI DMC INPUTS 6.2 3.8 OUTPUTS 5.8 Socio-economic System Minerals 0.2 and its Physical Compartments Biomass 0.1 Biomass 2.3 •Human Population Sand 2.3 •Livestock population Fossil fuels 0.04 •Artefacts (huts, government buildings, Products 0.01 wells, boats, pathways) Minerals 3.5 Copra 0.13 Deliberate disposal Wastes, emissions Energy Flows on Trinket (GJ/cap/yr) IMPORTS EXPORTS 3.0 3.5 DEI DEC 33.0 29.5 DOMESTIC PRIMARY FINAL USEFUL OUTPUTS EXT. 30 ENERGY ENERGY ENERGY Food Biomass 3.7 2.82 Processing Part of this Human Work Applied 0.1 Human Biomass 17 Livestock Nutrition 0.37 Labour alters the Environment Biomass 1.1 Biomass 6.2 Copra Copra 3.5 Production Solar 0.00 0.0009 Solar 0.09 Electricity Light Panels 9 1.2 Mechanical Heat Diesel Fossil Fuels 1.9 Energy Dissipated or lost Fuelwood Process Fuelwood 3.0 0.75 Energy Heat Dissipated Heat Dissipated & Outflows of & Outflows of Energy Rich Energy Rich Materials Materials 21
  22. 22. Local case comparison of metabolic size and rates Metabolic parameters Trinket (2000) Campo Bello (2004) Nalang (2003) Sang Saeng (1998) (Copra production and (Shifting cultivation) (Intensive rice (Intensive rice exchange for rice) Cultivation + Cultivation) shifting cultivation) Higher level interventions Subsidies, services Subsidies, services, Supply of fossil Supply of fossil based technologies based technologies & infrastructure & infrastructure Pop density (cap/km²) 11 38 43 93 Stock of artefacts 8.3 1.4 1.7 18.6 Material metabolic rate 3.7 1.6 2.6 3.6 (DMC t/cap/yr) Energy metabolic rate 29.5 20.6 26.3 40.5 (DEC GJ/cap/yr) Share of fossil fuel (% in DEC) 6.4 1.0 1.5 8.3 Share of biomass (% in DMC) 61% 98% 96% 64% Industrial products 0.01 0.02 0.01 0.50 (DMC t/cap/yr) Energy burden on environment 3.2 7.8 11.3 37.7 (DEC GJ/ha/yr) Material burden on environment 0.4 0.6 1.1 3.3 (DMC t/ha/yr) Fischer-Kowalski et al. (submitted) Local Case comparison of food production & consumption Metabolic parameters Trinket (2000) Campo Bello (2004) Nalang (2003) Sang Saeng (1998) (Copra production and (Shifting cultivation) (Intensive rice (Intensive rice exchange for rice) Cultivation + Cultivation) shifting cultivation) Higher level interventions Subsidies, services Subsidies, services, Supply of fossil Supply of fossil based technologies Based technologies & infrastructure & infrastructure Land productivity [GJ/ha] 43 (rice) 8.0 20.3 21.6 Labour productivity [MJ/h] 297 (rice) 15 13 38 Nutritional energy from agriculture, incl. imports [%] 31 84 89 90 Nutritional energy from hunting/fishing/gathering [%] 69 16 11 10 Time-use in economic activities [Hours / adult] 1.19 4.69 5.85 Fischer-Kowalski et al. (submitted) 22