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The world economy’s use of natural resources: history, dynamics, drivers and future perspectives Marina Fischer-Kowalski Institute of Social Ecology, Vienna.

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Presentation on theme: "The world economy’s use of natural resources: history, dynamics, drivers and future perspectives Marina Fischer-Kowalski Institute of Social Ecology, Vienna."— Presentation transcript:

1 The world economy’s use of natural resources: history, dynamics, drivers and future perspectives Marina Fischer-Kowalski Institute of Social Ecology, Vienna Alpen Adria University Presentation to the UN workshop The Challenge of Sustainability

2 2 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Six messages I wish to get across 1.Centennial resource use explosion 2.Drivers of resource use: population, income, development and, as a constraint, population density 3.sociometabolic regimes and transitions between them inform future scenarios of resource use 4.Relative decoupling is business as usual and drives growth; absolute decoupling is rare 5.Reference point for resource use: human wellbeing rather than income generation 6.Need to understand complex system dynamics, dispose of some illusions and utilize windows of opportunity in space and time

3 3 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Message 1: Centennial resource use explosion Definition: sociometabolic scale is the size of the overall annual material or primary energy input of a socio-economic system, measured according to established standards of MEFA analysis. For land use, no standard measure of scale is defined. The sociometabolic scale of the world economy has been increasing by one order of magnitude during the last century: Materials use: From 7 billion tons to over 60 bio t (extraction of primary materials annually). Energy use: From 44 EJ primary energy to 480 EJ (TPES, commercial energy only). Land use: from 25 mio km2 cropland to 50 mio km2 resource use

4 4 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | sociometabolic scale: Global commercial energy supply Source: Krausmann et al resource use

5 5 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Metabolic scale: Global materials use 1900 to 2005 Source: Krausmann et al resource use

6 6 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Composition of Global materials use 1900 to 2005: mineralization Source: Krausmann et al resource use

7 7 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Global land-use change Biome 300 data Source: Klein Goldewijk resource use

8 8 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Message 2: Drivers of resource use: population, income, development and, as a constraint, population density Population numbers Rising income (GDP) “Development” in the sense of transition from an agrarian to the industrial regime. Human settlement patterns: higher population density allows lower resource use drivers

9 9 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Global sociometabolic rates doubled Definition: Metabolic rate is the metabolic scale of a socio-economic system divided by its population number = annual material / energy use per capita. It represents the biophysical burden associated to an average individual. Population is the strongest driver of resource use. On top of it, resource use per human inhabitant of the earth has been more than doubling during the 20th century, and is accelerating since. materials use per capita: was about 4,6 tons by the beginning and is by 8 tons at the end of the century; global energy use per capita: was about 30 Gigajoule. By the end of the century, it was 75 Gigajoule. drivers

10 10 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | sociometabolic rates: Transitions between stable levels across 20th century Energy Materials Source: Krausmann et al drivers

11 11 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Message 2: Drivers of resource use: population, income, development and, as a constraint, population density Population numbers Rising income (GDP) “Development” in the sense of transition from an agrarian to the industrial regime. Human settlement patterns: higher population density allows lower resource use drivers

12 12 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Metabolic rate (materials) and income: loglinear relation, no sign of a “Kuznets curve” R 2 = 0.64 N = 175 countries Year 2000 Source: UNEP Decoupling Report 2010 drivers

13 13 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Global metabolic rates grow slower than income („decoupling“) Source: after Krausmann et al Global DMC, t/cap/yr (left axis) Global TPES, GJ/cap/yr (left axis) Global GDP, $/cap*yr (right axis) drivers

14 14 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Message 2: Drivers of resource use: population, income, development and, as a constraint, population density Population numbers Rising income (GDP) “Development” in the sense of transition from an agrarian to the industrial regime. Human settlement patterns: higher population density allows lower resource use drivers

15 15 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | If we wish to link resource use to „development“, we need a wider energy concept The key energy base for agrarian societies is biomass for nutrition of humans and animals from land (solar based). To understand the development from the agrarian to the industrial regime, we need to account for the energetic base of nutrition in addition to the modern concept of commercial primary energy (TPES) In analogue to system wide material flows, the following figures account for system wide (primary) energy flows. They show „development“ to be a transition in energy source from solar (biomass) to fossil fuels. drivers See Haberl 2001

16 16 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | the agrarian - industrial transition: from biomass to fossil fuels in the UK, Share of energy sources in primary energy consumption (% DEC) Source: Social Ecology Data Base biomass coal Oil / gas / nuc drivers

17 17 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | the energy transition latecomers Share of energy sources in primary energy consumption (% DEC) Source: Social Ecology Data Base Japan AustriaUK drivers

18 18 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | The Great Transformation: Reduction of agricultural population, and gain in income Source: Maddison 2002, Social Ecology DB United Kingdom Austria Japan drivers

19 19 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Metabolic rates of the agrarian and industrial regime transition = explosion Source: Krausmann et al drivers

20 20 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Message 2: Drivers of resource use: population, income, development and, as a constraint, population density Population numbers Rising income (GDP) “Development” in the sense of transition from an agrarian to the industrial regime. Human settlement patterns: population density as constraint for resource use drivers

21 21 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Resource consumption per capita by development status and population density Metab.rates: DMC t/cap in yr 2000 Share of world population 13%6%62%6% Source: UNEP Decoupling Report 2010 drivers industrialdeveloping

22 22 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Resumé: Drivers of resource consumption, good news and bad news Resource consumption is driven by population growth, development (metabolic regime transition), rising income, and constrained by population density Population density works as a constraint because of lack of space for extended extraction processes (such as mining) and waste deposition, and because pollution from resource extraction and use directly harms people But also: high density living allows material well being at much lower energy and material cost. This is mainly due to better capacity utilization of infrastructure, if well designed. drivers

23 23 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Message 3: sociometabolic regimes and transitions in the 20th Century 1. Coal based regime of industrialization (coal, steam engine, railways, dominated by GB) phasing out ~ Oil based regime (oil, cars, electricity, Fordism, American Way of Life, US dominated) phasing out ~ Next regime (solar based? knowledge? information?) not yet phasing in, latency situation transitions

24 24 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Phases of global resource use dynamics Energy Materials Source: after Krausmann et al coal based oil basedLatency BUBBLE transitions

25 25 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Sources: USA: Gierlinger 2009, EU-15: Eurostat Database, Japan: Japan Ministry of the Enivronment 2007, Brazil: Mayer 2009, India: Lanz 2009, World: Krausmann et. al material metabolic rates 1935 – 2005 not synchronized: very different depending on development status USAEU15JAPAN WORLD BRAZILINDIA Construction min. Ind. min. & ores Fossil fuels biomass 1973 transitions

26 26 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Notable trends in material resource use Apparently, since the first oil crisis in 1973, all major industrial countries have stabilized their resource use / capita (metabolic rates), although at different levels Japan has managed to lower its material use rates in the past 15 years through well designed policies by ~30% Many developing countries have started increasing their metabolic rates; some very large countries (China, India) have only recently gained momentum, some countries (esp. in Africa) have not yet started Despite an expected slowdown in population growth, these trends lead to an explosive rise in global resource demand transitions

27 27 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Three forced future scenarios of resource use 1.Freeze and catching up: industrial countries maintain their metabolic rates of the year 2000, developing countries catch up to same rates incompatible with IPCC climate protection targets 2.Moderate contraction & convergence: industrial countries reduce their metabolic rates by factor 2, developing countries catch up compatible with moderate IPCC climate protection targets 3.Tough contraction & convergence: global resource consumption of the year 2000 remains constant by 2050, industrial and developing countries settle for identical metabolic rates compatible with strict IPCC climate protection targets Built into all scenarios: population (by mean UN projection), development transitions, population density as a constraint, stable composition by material groups Source: UNEP Decoupling Report 2010 transitions

28 28 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Projections of resource use up to 2050 – three forced future scenarios Source: UNEP Decoupling Report 2010 transitions Global metabolic scale (Gt)Global metabolic rate (t/cap)

29 29 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Scenario 1: Freeze and catching up By 2050, this scenario results in a global metabolic scale of 140 billion tons annually, and an average global metabolic rate of 16 tons / cap. In relation to the year 2000, this would imply more than a tripling of annual global resource extraction, and establish global metabolic rates that correspond to the present European average. Average per capita carbon emissions would triple to 3.2 tons/cap and global emissions would more than quadruple to 28.8 GtC/yr. This scenario represents an extremely unsustainable future in terms of both resource use and emissions, exceeding all possible measures of environmental limits. Its emissions are higher than the highest scenarios in the IPCC SRES (Nakicenovic and Swart 2000), but since the IPCC scenarios have already been outpaced by the evolution since 2000 (Raupach et al. 2007), it might in fact be closer to the real trend. transitions

30 30 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Scenario 2: Factor 2 and catching up By 2050, this scenario amounts to a global metabolic scale of 70 billion tons, which means about 40% more annual resource extraction than in the year The average global metabolic rate would stay roughly the same as in 2000, at 8 tons / cap. The average CO2 emissions per capita would increase by almost 50% to 1.6 tons per capita, and global emissions would more than double to 14.4 GtC. Taken as a whole, this would be a scenario of friendly moderation: while overall constraints (e.g. food supply) are not transgressed in a severe way beyond what they are now, developing countries have the chance for a rising share in global resources, and for some absolute increase in resource use, while industrial countries have to cut on their overconsumption. Its carbon emissions correspond to the middle of the range of IPCC SRES climate scenarios. transitions

31 31 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Scenario 3: Freeze global material use By 2050, this scenario amounts to a global metabolic scale of 50 billion tons (the same as in the year 2000) and allows for an average global metabolic rate of only 6 tons /cap (equal, for example, to that of India in the year 2000). The average per capita carbon emissions would be reduced by roughly 40% to 0.75 tons/cap – global emissions obviously would remain constant at the 2000 level of 6.7 GtC/yr. Taken as a whole, this would be a scenario of tough restraint. Even in this scenario the global ecological footprint of the human population on earth would exceed global biocapacity (unless substantial efficiency gains and reductions in carbon emissions would make it drop), but the pressure on the environment, despite a larger world population, would be roughly the same as it is now. The carbon emissions correspond approximately to the lowest range of scenario B1 of the IPCC SRES, but are still 20% above the roughly 5.5 GtC/yr advocated by the Global Commons Institute for contraction and convergence in emissions (GCI 2003). transitions

32 32 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Message 4: Relative decoupling is business as usual and drives growth; absolute decoupling happens rarely and so far only at low rates of economic growth human wellbeing decoupling

33 33 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | EU 15 EU 27 Source: Social Ecology DB; averages European Union: material de-growth (=absolute decoupling) only at low economic growth rates decoupling

34 34 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Message 5: a new transition, to a sustainable industrial metabolism, should be directed at human wellbeing! And YES, WE CAN! human wellbeing

35 35 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Evtl. preston folie einfügen! human wellbeing Life expectancy at birth in relation to national income: In 1960, for same life expectancy less than half the income is required than in 1930! Source: Preston 1975 (2008)

36 36 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | Human development vs. Carbon emissions Source: Steinberger & Roberts R 2 = 0,75 – 0,85 Carbon emissions HDI 2005 human wellbeing

37 37 transitions resource use drivershuman wellbeing decoupling Fischer-Kowalski | UN Rio 20+ | References Samuel H. Preston (1975). The changing relation between mortality and level of economic development. Reprinted in: Int.J.Epidemiol. 36 (3): , Julia K. Steinberger and J. Timmons Roberts. Decoupling energy and carbon from human needs. Ecological Economics: submitted, UNEP Decoupling report: Decoupling and Sustainable Resource Management: Scoping the challenges. Lead authors M.Swilling & M.Fischer-Kowalski, to be issued Paris 2010 Fridolin Krausmann, Simone Gingrich, Nina Eisenmenger, Karl-Heinz Erb, Helmut Haberl, and Marina Fischer-Kowalski. Growth in global materials use, GDP and population during the 20th century. Ecological Economics 68 (10): , Klein Goldewijk, K Global Biogeochemical Cycles 15 (2): Fridolin Krausmann, Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Heinz Schandl, and Nina Eisenmenger. The global socio-metabolic transition: past and present metabolic profiles and their future trajectories. Journal of Industrial Ecology 12 (5/6): , 2008.


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