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.