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Beyond IPAT and Kuznets Curves: Globalization as a Vital Factor in Analysing the
Environmental Impact of Socio-Economic Metabolism
Author(s): Marina Fischer-Kowalski and Christof Amann
Source: Population and Environment, Vol. 23, No. 1, Social Metabolism and Human Population
(Sep., 2001), pp. 7-47
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27503772
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Beyond IPAT and Kuznets Curves: Globalization
as a Vital Factor in Analysing the Environmental
Impact of Socio-Economic Metabolism
Marina
Fischer-Kowalski
Christof Amann
Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies of Austrian Universities
We
bring the rapidly developing
attention
a scientific
of
tools for analyzing
audience
concerned
to the
"society's metabolism"
matters
with
(IFF)
of
population
and,
in a
complementary fashion, we draw the attention of material and energy flow analysts
to the role of population and population dynamics within their own paradigm. As
an
framework,
analytic
impact (I), population
to the
model
tool
we
use
the classic
(P), affluence
commonly
used
"IPAT-model"
that
(A), and technology
in MFA,
so-called
relates
environmental
(T).We
relate the IPAT
environmental
Kuznets
curves,
and re-analyze empirical data from various sources, for both affluent industrial and
for developing countries, within these frameworks. We conclude that population
and
technology
the
intricate
increases
models
an
seem
to dominate
among
material
interdependencies
in their the economic,
tend to underestimate
image
over
affluence
as
far as environmental
but that both the IPAT and Kuznets models
concerned,
of
different
and
socio-economic
population
the environmental
"dematerialization"
in affluent
industrial
is
impact
fail to take into account
exchanges.
and
the
systems
In effect,
both
impact and create too optimistic
countries.
na
IPAT model;
Kuznets curves
environmental
flow analysis;
(EKC); material
for Austria,
United
United
Brazil, Germany,
Japan, The Netherlands,
Kingdom,
econo
metabolic
international
States, Venezuela;
trade; socio-economic
metabolism;
profile;
mies
in transition; material
intensity.
KEY WORDS:
tional MFA
to Marina
Please address correspondence
of Social
Ecol
Fischer-Kowalski,
Department
Institute for Interdisciplinary
Studies of Austrian Universities
(IFF), Schottenfeldgasse
29,
ogy,
A-1070
e-mail:
Austria;
Vienna,
[email protected];
http://www.univie.
ac.at/iffsocec
Population
and Environment, Vol. 23, No.
1, September 2001 ? 2001 Human
Sciences
Press, Inc.
7
8
POPULATIONAND ENVIRONMENT
INTRODUCTION
This paper aims to achieve two major goals: to bring the rapidly devel
to the attention of a scien
"society's metabolism"
oping tools for analyzing
tific audience
concerned with matters of population
and, in a complemen
to
attention
of
material
and
draw
the
energy flow analysts to
tary fashion,
the role of population
within
their own paradigm.
and population
dynamics
re
As an analytic framework we will use the classic "IPAT model" which
lates environmental
(A) and technology
(P), affluence
impact (I), population
structure
to
to
in
order
variables
be
dealt
with
and to create
the
here
(T),
in
them
that
will
then
be
discussed
between
simple, systematic
linkages
more detail. We begin with a brief description
of the IPAT model and its
to describe
the basic features of material
then proceed
previous uses. We
to
in
of variables that are gener
flow analysis
order
show
the
kinds
(MFA)
ated by MFA methodology
and to discuss how they may figure in an IPAT
of affluence
model. The next section is devoted to a discussion
(A); in itwe
will review some of the empirical
results regarding how affluence
relates to
socio-economic
material flows. Finally, we make explicit the often hidden
role of population
(P)within MFA, present some of the empirical evidence
so
more
raise
intricate questions about the relationship be
and
far,
gained
tween material flows on a macro
and
level on the one hand and population
on
We
hand.
will
several
historical
the
other
discuss
population
dynamics
these two factors may be supposed to interact. We also
processes by which
the
role
of
(T) and how it could be fitted into the MFA
analyze
technology
framework on a macro
level, focusing on how tricky these relationships
are
if an international division of labor and interdependence
may become
are
into
the
The
conclusions
picture properly.
brought
organized
along the
an
Inwhat
is
MFA
lines of both perspectives:
tool to
respects
appropriate
use in relating population
on
and environmental
the
other
And,
impacts?
hand, how thoroughly will
when using MFA methods
on the environment?
population
to attempt
issues have to be taken into account
to understand
the impact of affluence
THE IPATMODEL: BASIC FEATURESAND PREVIOUS USES
The IPATmodel,
first proposed almost three decades ago (Commoner,
1971; Holdren & Ehrlich, 1974), resulted from
1972; Ehrlich & Holdren,
scientists
the efforts of population
and environmental
biologists,
ecologists,
to formalize the relationship between population,
human welfare,
and en
IPAT
Im
vironmental
The
model
that
environmental
impacts.
postulates
9
AND CHRISTOFAMANN
MARINA FISCHER-KOWALSKI
(I) is the product
nology (T).
pact
of Population
(P), per capita Affluence
(A) and Tech
=
(1) l P* A*T
Ehrlich and Holdren's
1974) came very
(1971,
original arguments
two
Robert
Malthus
hundred
close to the position advocated
years ear
by
was
to
the
threat
human
welfare.
Ehrlich
lier: that population
major
growth
other factors were
and Holdren claimed
involved, popula
that, whatever
tion growth caused a "disproportionate
impact" on the environ
negative
ment (Ehrlich & Holdren,
their formulation
1971). In the, 1971 publication,
of this equation was:
*
(2) I= P f(P)
the per capita impact on the environment
supposedly also depended
case
is
if
"law
returns"
This
the
the
of diminishing
population.
same
Malthus
used
for
arable
soil.
Ehrlich
and
Hol
argument
applies?the
returns would
dren claim that this law of diminishing
indeed apply to non
resources such as minerals,
renewable
and to (partly) renewables as fresh
water supplies or fishery stocks: Beyond a certain point, "per capita costs
where
upon
and environmental
the human popula
impact escalate dramatically when
tion demands more." Similar disproportionality
could also occur in the case
to the authors, population
of "threshold effects" where, according
numbers
a certain balance
would destabilize
tolerable pollu
(such as the maximum
tion for trees), or in the case of synergism of different effects. The authors
cite the example of cities which because of population
increases push out
into farmland, resulting in humans'
lungs being afflicted by a mixture of
and traffic effluents and suffering disproportionate
agrochemicals
damage.
it could also, quite on the con
The authors concede
that sometimes
of scale apply which
reduce per capita
trary, be that economies
impact
with growth. They conclude,
industrial nations
however, that "in populous,
such as the United States, most economies
of scale are already being ex
we
are
on
returns part of most of the important
the diminishing
ploited;
curves."
is not very convincing,
This whole
line of reasoning
for substantive
reasons and even more so for
reasons. Substantively,
all of
methodological
the reasons given above amount to saying that present
impacts depend
in a non-linear
fashion. The more resources
upon past impacts, perhaps
more
that have already been consumed,
the
environmentally
costly it be
comes
to consume
yet more; the greater the amount of stocks that has
10
POPULATIONAND ENVIRONMENT
the more
the more risky it is to go on depleting;
already been depleted,
more
a
it
is
is
that
critical
level
will be
there
the
likely
pollution
already,
reached, and so on. None of these arguments directly links impacts to pop
that itwas population
numbers
ulation. All of them rely on the presumption
that caused the past impact in the first place.
as
as IPAT is treated as an accounting
equa
long
Methodologically,
(2), even ifone has independent
tion, it is simply a tautology. With equation
measurements
of environmental
impact, what else can it depend upon but
If
number
numbers?
(P) times a
(I)
Impact
equals Population
population
numbers
function fof Population
number (P), itwill always be population
will be f. It is fthat
that are responsible,
and the only variable component
or disproportionately,
would
tell us whether
the impact rises proportionally
or
with
With
(1), at least we
equation
population.
positively
negatively
we are able to measure
a few more variables
into
the
and
if
game,
bring
them independently
of one another, the equation may fail.
the point picked up and elaborated
upon by Dietz and
1997) about twenty years after Ehrlich and Holdren's
original
on one of the
publication.
They base their discussion
strengths of the Hol
is the provision of a view of human-environ
dren-Ehrlich approach, which
more
ment
interactions which
is
than the narrow focus on
comprehensive
was
more
dominant at the time.1 This
view
pollution which
comprehensive
relates well to the contemporary
discussion
of the human "driving forces"
of global environmental
(see Stern et al., 1992). Dietz and Rosa
change
on
to
further elaborate
how
make use of the IPATmodel as a testable hy
as
an
pothesis rather than
just
"accounting
analysis," as they call it (Dietz &
a
model where
the relationships are defi
Rosa, 1994, 282), the latter being
so
as
as
soon
that
three of the variables are fixed, the fourth fol
nitional,
What
lows.2
for the dependent
they suggest and then actually calculate
variable of C02 emissions
(Dietz & Rosa, 1997) is a stochastic model utiliz
data to assess impacts. In its simplest appli
ing historical or cross-sectional
a
uses
such
model
cation,
graphs of bivariate relationships between
Impact
and driving forces, or of historical trends in Impact and driving forces.
In
more sophisticated
this
takes
the
form
of
several
versions,
loglinear equa
tions which
take into account not only the net direct effects but also interac
tions between
the independent
the so-called
variables,
"driving forces."
While
such stochastic models
valuable
promise
insights and allow us to
determine
the relative weight of the "independent"
factors in explaining
the
not
have
been
"dependent" variable, they
frequently used.3
The charm of the IPAT formula is its simplicity and generality.
In order
for this charm to unfold, however,
and
reliable
opera
sufficiently generic
tionalizations
of the variables must be available. This can be considered
to
This
Rosa
is exactly
(1994,
11
MARINA FISCHER-KOWALSKI
AND CHRISTOFAMANN
be the case
some precaution4?also
for Population
for
numbers and?with
in per capita terms.5
expressed as GNP (gross national product)
(T) tend to
Impact (I) and "Technology"
Beyond that, both environmental
be fuzzy. "Technology"
(T) can be treated as a residual variable (that is, as
as
as environ
not included
in Population
and Affluence)
everything
long
a
in
sound and robust way.
mental
Impact is operationalized
sufficiently
This is, unfortunately,
typically not the case. This is the point where MFA,
in questions of population
materials flow analysis, may prove its usefulness
flow analysis may be able to provide
and population
dynamics. Materials
exactly those indicators for Impact that would make this model empirically
to allow viable conclusions
rich enough
about the relative weight
of the
three "driving forces" Population,
and "Technology."
To illus
Affluence,
trate why we are of this opinion, we will make an excursion
into the basic
measurement
MFA.
and
of
assumptions
procedures
Affluence,
MFA AS SUPPLIEROF INDICATORS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL
IMPACT?BASIC ASSUMPTIONS AND METHODOLOGY
to be called "Materials Flow Analysis"
(MFA) was first de
as
an
Kneese
and
of
(1968)
part
attempt to reconceptual
veloped by Ayres
to grow seemingly
ize economy, which had been considered
limitlessly, by
into a thermodynamic
framework, taking into ac
placing this "economy"
count the law of conservation
of mass. This attempt must be seen as one
to dealing with the problem of a "cowboy
of the early creative approaches
on
a
earth"
inMeadow's
economy
spaceship
(Boulding, 1966), culminating
et
"Limits to Growth" model
criti
While
Meadow's
(Meadows
al., 1972).
to the claim that economic
cism amounted
to
would
have
be
stalled
growth
so as not to exceed the earth's
carrying capacity, Ayres and Kneese's diag
to them, itwas not economic
nosis was more subtle. According
growth as
such that mattered, but the growth in human societies' material throughput
Inother words,
that mattered.
ifone could find a way to reduce the amount
of material
economic
income) could
input,
growth (in terms of monetary
on.
to
While
slow
the
of
the
in favor of
world
go
economy
appeals
growth
were
a
to
environment
the
considered
constitute
fundamentalist
preserving
attack on the core mechanisms
and beliefs of modern economy
and soci
came
more
Kneese
and
with
much
In
advice:
ety, Ayres
up
"acceptable"
crease the material efficiency of economies,
use less material per monetary
unit! However,
two decades, which were characterized
in the following
a
or systemic perspectives
on the society
backlash
all
holistic
by
against
environment
in favor of an analytic, multidimensional
interrelation
focus
What
came
12
POPULATIONAND ENVIRONMENT
on pollution
(and on pollution
only), Ayres and Kneese's approach was
more or less lost
of
1998).
(Fischer-Kowalski,
sight
In the early 1990s, a systemic perspective on materials reappeared within
two different frameworks. One was a life-cycle assessment
in
framework,
his
"MIPS"
service
which Schmidt-Bleek
defined
(1993)
(material input per
unit indicator). His model
said that for the sake of the environment,
the
at
unit
service
aim
material
of
should
economy
pro
input per
minimizing
and management
this was a very plausible
vided. For technical engineering
Ifyou save on costs for raw materials, waste disposal, and possi
message:
costs by optimiz
also
for
transport, you will also save on environmental
bly
a
certain product
needed
the
relation
between
the
material
for
input
ing
inwhich
the systemic
and the final service delivered. The other framework
was
was
revitalized
that
of
so-called
materials
"green account
approach
countries
tried to
the
of
the
Under
United
Nations,
many
ing."
guidance
concerns
into their systems of national accounts.
introduce environmental
On the one hand, this was done by considering
for environ
expenditure
mental protection or by evaluating environmental
assets; on the other hand,
initiative also led to an attempt to develop a picture
this "green accounting"
as was to be expected
not only of the monetary
for national
economy,
a
econo
but
of
the
national
also
is,
accounting,
physical
economy?that
terms (Uno &
in material and energetic
my's stocks and flows expressed
that for a number
1998; Franz & Stahmer, 1993). So it happened
Bartelmus,
of national economies,
researchers
overall material
flow ac
generated
to that of Ayres and Kneese's
counts similar in their approach
from two
decades before even though they were often unaware of the ancestry of
their work (for Austria: Steurer, 1992; for Japan: Japan Environment Agency,
1993).
1992; for Germany:
1993; Sch?tz & Bringezu,
Bringezu,
Since the early 1990s, the MFA approach
has been picked up on by
into their official statistics.
many more countries and often even introduced
so as to eliminate
MFA
has
been
refined
in
Gradually,
methodologically
consistencies
that had hampered
international comparability.6
MFA can be regarded as a set of methods
for describing and analyzing
a collective
on
socio-economic
metabolism.
This presupposes
organization
the part of humans to maintain ways of life within a natural (and social)
environment.
socio-economic
Thus we are interested in examining
systems
as
as systems that reproduce themselves
not only
national economies)
(such
a continuous
socially and culturally but also physically
through
exchange
of energy and matter with their natural environments
and with each other.
Socio-economic
metabolism
refers to the sum total of the material and
flows into, within,
and out of a socio-economic
system. Socio
energetic
serves
economic
metabolism
(a) to produce and reproduce the biophysical
13
MARINA FISCHER-KOWALSKI
AND CHRISTOFAMANN
structures of the socio-economic
system in exchange with the natural envi
to produce or consume deliverables
from other
ronment, and (b) eventually
we
For
socio-economic
each
therefore
socio-economic
system
systems.
must define (a) a boundary between
the socio-economic
system and the
the socio-economic
and (b) a boundary between
natural environment
sys
are
tem in question and other socio-economic
systems. These boundaries
not geographic/spatial
functional boundaries,
boundaries.7
To describe the material part of this metabolism,
material flow analysis
to which
the following basic assumptions
and
tools have been developed
conventions
apply:
of mass"
(1) The law of "conservation
Any MFA is based upon the idea of balancing,
of mass.
the law of conservation
Input
=
Output
+ stock
increases
-
which
originates
from
stock decreases
Inwords: The sum of material/energetic
sum
of outputs plus stock increases minus
the
inputs into a system
stock decreases.
equals
of the socio-economic
of the
(2) The metabolism
system is composed
con
structures
it
of its compartments,
the
metabolisms
biophysical
namely
tains. For each compartment,
the law of conservation
of mass also applies.
This equation follows from a systems approach,
looking at an economy
or society as an integrated whole much
in the way biology
that sees an
as
a
its
"metabolism"
organism, examining
highly interdependent
self-orga
nizing process rather than as just an assembly of "material flows." Follow
is composed
of an organism
of the
just as the metabolism
ing this analogy,
of each of its cells, so is the metabolism
of a socio-economic
metabolism
of the metabolism
of each of its compartments.
system composed
of socio-economic
(3) Bio-physical
compartments
systems
is considered
This notion requires the explicit
of what
specification
to constitute
the compartments
of the socio-economic
system. For socio
a
on
common
most
economic
national
the
convention
is
level,
systems
to consider human bodies,
animal livestock, and artifacts as biophysical
as well as by collec
structures maintained
metabolism
by socio-economic
labor.
human
tively organized
To be consistent,
the complete metabolisms
of the humans and of the
animal livestock must be included. This comprises
intake of oxy
nutrition,
and
of
carbon
and
dioxide
and
the deposi
water, output
water, faeces,
gen
14
POPULATIONAND ENVIRONMENT
of the social
tion of dead bodies.
If livestock is included as a compartment
as inputs
course
not
etc.
be
treated
may of
system, then meat and milk,
as
the sys
must
within
transfers
be looked upon
but
from the environment
tem.8
and human-maintained
human-made
Finally, long-lived artifacts?i.e.,
as
structures
vehicles
and the like, but
such
technical
buildings, machines,
as
or
sewers?must
be looked upon
also roads, dams,
physical compart
to equation
ments of socio-economic
(2),
systems. This implies, according
structures be
these
for
and
used
that all the materials
maintaining
making
as do the energy and the materials
long to the social system's metabolism,
raw
as
used to make them function
various
air
and
materials)
water,
(such
to
which
services
for
the social system has
and
those
and
produce
goods
constructed
them.
(4) Stocks and flows
for
A reliable distinction
between
stocks and flows is a prerequisite
a socio-economic
is
still
whether
system
"growing"
empirically
determining
(in physical
terms), is in a steady state, or is shrinking. Stocks refer to the
size of the population,
the size of the livestock, and the weight of the infra
an operational
structure. Accordingly,
"size" and "met
distinction between
and
the "growth rate" and the energetic
abolic rate," as well as between
material "turnover" of the social system can be defined, and the indicator
"net addition to stocks" can be calculated.
air and "other materials:"
three
groups of input materials are distinguished: water, air,
Typically,
and the remaining input materials
(consisting of biomass, fuels, other miner
and
Most
MFA
manufactured
indicators are based on the
als,
products).
"other materials" only. This has to do with the common-sense
idea of not
raw
valued
materials
and
commodities
literally "drowning" economically
inwater and air.9
(5)Water,
(6) Direct
flows"
materials
input and
indirect
"
flows,
"rucksacks,
or "hidden
so far, "direct materials
to the conventions
established
in
According
cross
to
non-water-non-air
refers
the
fraction
of
materials
that
put"
actually
the boundary
of a socio-economic
the
(see Figure 1). Beyond
system
occur
of the socio-economic
boundaries
there
material
flows
that
system,
to the materials
may be seen as prerequisite
input of the socio-economic
even
in
if
these
former
material
its
flows remain beyond
system
question,
boundaries.
In the Schmidt-Bleek
(Wuppertal)
tradition,
these
indirect mate
15
MARINA FISCHER-KOWALSKI
AND CHRISTOFAMANN
FHF ^>
Exports
Imports
Immigrants
h
Processing
DMK
TMR<
>
Emigrants
Economic
DE
DPO
VTDO
Stocks
DHF
DHF
>
I
Domestic
FIGURE 1. The metabolism
Source:
Matthews
et al., 2000;
slightly
of a socioeconomic
MFA model.
Environment
system:
The basic
modified.
DE: Domestic
DMI: Direct material
extraction
FHF: Foreign hidden
DHF: Domestic
hidden flows
DPO: Domestic
TDO: Total domestic
output
processed
= DMI + DHF + FHF
TMR: Total material
requirement
input
flows
output
= DE +
= DPO
Imports
+ DHF
rial flows are termed "rucksacks." One can distinguish
between
the ruck
extraction.
sacks of imports and the rucksacks of domestic materials
(An
et al.,
used is 'hidden flows'; see for example Adriaanse
other expression
1997).10
(7) Domestic
output
processed
Domestic
output (DPO) refers to the total of all materials
processed
used in the domestic economy
result from direct material
(i.e., which
input)
as wastes,
at the point where
into
flow
back
the
natural environment
they
or deliberate
can
(such as fertilizer). These outflows
emissions,
disposals
to
enter
also be distinguished
the
environmental
media
(air,
they
according
are also
hidden flows within the domestic environment
water, soil). When
(TDO).
included, one refers to Total Domestic Output
From this interrelated set of variables, several indicators can be drawn
up to represent a socio-economic
impact upon the environment.
system's
On the one hand, these indicators may refer to the input side, following
the argument that the more resources a system consumes,
it is a
the more
16
POPULATIONAND ENVIRONMENT
future usability for other
to the environment
(and the environment's
extraction
and "Direct Material
domestic
these
indicators,
systems). Among
to
extraction
domestic
plus imports) will figure most
Input" (DMI, equal
a
large part of this input is made up
speaking,
prominently. Quantitatively
of fossil fuels, equaled or even outweighed
by industrial and construction
comes
next.
biomass
(made
minerals;
Imported composite
products
input
burden
15% of DMI (Ad
from various raw materials) constitute only approximately
to the direct ma
as background
riaanse et al., 1997). Calculated
processes
terial input, the hidden flows usually amount to the same or more than that
the figures for "Total Material
direct input, making
TMR,
Requirement,"
as large as those for direct input alone (Adriaanse et
twice
approximately
indicator is "Domestic Material Con
al., 1997). Still another
input-related
subtracts
which
exports from DMI and so represents the
sumption," DMC,
of materials consumed
by the system internally.
On the other hand, indicators may be chosen so as to refer not to the
input but to the output (or rather, outflow) side, examples of the latter being
Ifa
DPO (Domestic Processed Output) and TDO (Total Domestic Output).
even
an
a
trade
bal
has
national
socio-economic
economy)
system (i.e.,
and if it does not
ance with
in terms of weight,
imports equaling exports
its stocks, then input should equal output over a cer
increase or decrease
affluent
this is not the case for contemporary
tain time period. Practically,
stocks grow consider
in all the countries examined,
industrial countries;
to 20-40%
of direct ma
ably, the annual net addition to stock amounting
smaller than DMI, and
is much
terial input. So at the time being, DPO
the socio-eco
resources (i.e., future wastes) are being accumulated
within
et al., 2000).11
nomic system (e.g., Matthews
the input of resources or the output of
However,
regardless of whether
of
the total weight
wastes
is at issue, we must ask whether
and emissions
a
a
for
is
viable
indicator
socioeconomic
materials
system
by
processed
are created
"environmental
impact" at all. All of the indicators mentioned
A
of
materials.
few
different
the
very large
many
by summing up
weights
minerals and fossil energy carriers on
flows, such as those of construction
these indi
the input side or carbon dioxide on the outflow side, dominate
much more hazardous
smaller flows considered
cators, while
by environ
are
not
flows
mental chemists are hardly evident.
bad,
automatically
"Big
better" (Matthews et al., 2000, 2).
and small flows are not automatically
one can say that all resource use involves envi
this consideration,
Despite
some
kind at every stage of the material cycle, from
of
ronmental
impact
extraction or harvesting to final disposal. This means that unless technolo
increases in resource input imply increases in environmental
gies change,
since the beginning
One
should also consider that expert opinions
impacts.
in
of the environmental
debate have undergone
quite extreme variations
amount
17
MARINA FISCHER-KOWALSKI
AND CHRISTOFAMANN
the question of exactly which
substances or processes
should be
answering
seen as particularly environmentally
sum total
while
studies
of
the
harmful,
of processed materials consistently
tell their story in a reliable and uncon
tested way, even if it is only part of the whole
story.12 A measure of pro
a
"headline
reasonable
indicator" (Jesinghaus &
cessed materials
represents
for
the
overall
scale
1999)
sys
(Daly, 1987) of anthropogenic
Montgomery,
on the same level of
as
tems vis-?-vis the natural environment,
generality
or population
overall energy consumption
numbers.
HOW DOES AFFLUENCE RELATETO MFA INDICATORS
OF ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT?
As explained above, the idea that environmental
impact need not nec
to
at
affluence
the
very core of MFA as
essarily grow proportionally
lay
was picked up again
and
Kneese
and
this
idea
(1969),
by Ayres
developed
was
seen
as
It
all
consecutive
authors.
indeed
the
im
by
approach's most
to
find
of
(or
ways
portant policy application
"delinking"
"decoupling")
material
this was to be
input and economic
activity. The means by which
achieved were seen in technology:
Schmidt-Bleek's
(Schmidt
publications
& Bierter, 1998) abound with
related exam
Bleek, 1993; Schmidt-Bleek
"factor 10" reductions
ples, and he was even radical enough to propagate
as
a
of material
realistic
for
indus
intensity
political target
highly developed
trial countries. Weizs?cker
and Lovins (Weizs?cker et al., 1997) were more
cautious and spoke in terms of "factor 4" changes. This idea of reducing
material
intensity (expressed as the mass of material
input per dollar value
or, put differently, of increasing material productivity
(the inverse of
in
took
hold
and
environmental
many
programs
intensity),
government
pol
icy statements. On the one hand, itwas nourished by the example of labor
to reduce
if it had indeed been possible
intensity (or labor productivity);
the amount of labor needed for the production
of commodities
by such a
as
was
course
in
the
of
industrialization,
margin
experienced
why should
the same not apply to materials,
framework
conditions?
given appropriate
added)
Another encouragement
could be found with energy; for example,
had not
the oil crisis of the early 1970s induced a major reduction
in energy inten
of the "minimization"
of the
sity? And what about the generic observation
size and weight
of consumer
durables such as electronic
and
equipment
household
facilities?13 Research also provided support for these considera
tions. For example,
it could be demonstrated
that the emissions of sulphur
dioxide decrease
rather than increase with increases in a country's prosper
ity (Seiden& Song, 1994).
18
POPULATIONAND ENVIRONMENT
a distinction was made between
Later in the discussion,
"relative de
and
"absolute
A
in
reduction
environmental
linking"
impact (in
delinking."
or pollution)
terms of resource consumption
per unit of GDP was termed
In other words, GDP or the monetary
"relative delinking."
value of com
modities may rise while the material
indicator (be it resource use or wastes/
emissions)
grows more slowly or even remains constant. "Absolute delink
on
other hand, was supposed to occur ifeconomic
the
ing,"
growth contin
amount
sev
but
the
absolute
of
materials
used
declined.
While
ued,
eral studies came up with examples
of relative delinking
for various
indi
cators of materials use (De Bruyn, 1997; Berkhout, 1998; Stern et al., 1996;
are hard
Rothman & De Bruyn, 1998), examples
of absolute
delinking
to find.14
Let us examine
the delinking
in the context of the most
hypothesis
recent
advanced
and
studies
of
several affluent industrial
methodologically
countries.15 Figure 2 presents a first overview
of the interrelationships
be
tween changes
in Affluence
in Direct Material
(GDP) and changes
Input
the Nether
(DMI) during the last two decades for Austria, Japan, Germany,
are
and the United
States. These countries
lands, the United Kingdom,
more
the
richest
countries
of
the
and
world
have
than
50%
among
together
of the world's
income at their disposal.
Looking at Figure 2 country by country, we see striking similarities.
the last two decades,
all of the national economies
considered
During
some
showed continuous
in
In
Affluence.
of
these
there
countries,
growth
were phases of relative
none
in
but
of
them
GDP
did
fall
below
stagnation,
the level of preceding
has grown by at
years. In all of them, the economy
least 50% over the whole
time span and Direct Material
Input (DMI) has
also grown, albeit at a slower rate. Material
to 10-20%
amounts
growth
for the whole
time period.
In several of the countries,
there were even
as our main question
in material
is con
phases of decline
input.16 As far
the answer which
this simple bivariate analysis gives us is very
cerned,
so far, material
clear: In all countries
input does not grow pro
investigated
can be observed.
with
but
"relative
The
affluence,
portionally
delinking"
terms
tons
material
in
of
of
material
unit
of
GDP
is
de
per
intensity
input
we
a
case
do
find
of
in
"absolute
Nowhere,
however,
clining.
delinking"
econ
the sense of absolute reductions of material
while
the
input occurring
to grow.17
omy continues
Let us now turn to the "backside" of industrial economies,
namely
and deliberate disposals of materials
such as animal ma
wastes,
emissions,
nure or fertilizers
into the environment,
and ask the same question about
et al. (2000) developed
the
above, Matthews
delinking again. As explained
indicator Domestic
Processed Output
(DPO) on the basis of material
input
19
MARINA FISCHER-KOWALSKI
AND CHRISTOFAMANN
Austria
?
Germany
?2
100
1975
1980
1985
1990
100
1975
1995
?
1975
1975
?
-
1990
1995
1990
1995
1990
1995
150
100
-
1985
The Netherlands
Japan
8
1980
GDP
1980
1985
United
States
1980
1985
(real, constant
1990
100
1975
1995
1980
United
1990
8
150
?
100
1975
1995
1980
1985
Kingdom
1985
1990)
Material Input(DMI)
Material Intensity(DMI/GDP)
FIGURE 2. Environmental
I:Material
Impact and Affluence
Input (DMI),
Gross Domestic
Product (GDP), and Material
for
Intensity (DMI/GDP)
affluent
industrial economies,
1975-1996.
Source:
Schandl
et al., 2000
Matthews
(DMI-AUT,
and Schulz, 2000
(DMI-UK); OECD
J, NL); Adriaanse
(GDP); own calculation.
GER,
et al.,
1997
(DMI-US);
20
POPULATIONAND ENVIRONMENT
and con
from production
DPO comprising
all outflows
output balances,
tradi
environment.
this
calls
into
the
natural
domestic
sumption
Although
in fact generated with
statistics to mind (and was
tional waste and emission
it draws on
is a more comprehensive
indicator. Since
their help), DPO
on the
mass balances of inputs and outputs,
it has a built-in countercheck
statistics. The
in environmental
and discontinuities
present
et
Matthews
al.
does not
DPO was calculated
(2000)
by
national
traditions
of
from
different
distortions
resulting
safeguard against
a
as
environmental
statistics,
input-output analy
complete physical
keeping
et al., 1999; Schandl et al., 2000),
sis would do (Stahmer et al., 1997; Weisz
but it does take us a fair way down the right path.
(that is,wastes,
Figure 3 displays similar patterns for domestic outflows
as Figure
into the domestic environment)
emissions and deliberate disposals
incompleteness
in which
way
2 demonstrated
the affluent
industrial
for material
inputs (DMI). Among
we find a ubiquitous decline
in outflow
economies
documented,
intensity,
in input intensity. There nevertheless
occurred an
just as we saw a decline
increase in total DPO
in all these countries
absolute
during the last two
at
rates
increase
inGDP). So, an
the
decades
that
well
below
stay
(although
wastes
of
and
emissions
the
indicator DPO
comprehensive
analysis
using
case
a
from
for
the time pe
the
for
"relative
affluence
supports
delinking"
but does not support "absolute delinking."
riod under consideration,
economic
How can these differences
in the pace of monetary
growth
and material growth be explained?
Before we go into a more in-depth anal
for these differences
in pace.
ysis, we can test a few possible explanations
are
no
deliberate
environmental
suitable
candidate
Unexpectedly,
policies
as an explanatory
seems to be a
factor. Relative delinking
ubiquitous phe
nomenon
industrial nations and there is no reason to as
among affluent
sume that, for example,
the United Kingdom or the United States have
achieved
relative delinking as an outcome of policies aimed to do so. Rela
tive delinking
is just as pronounced
in the latter two countries as it is in the
or Germany,
Netherlands
both of which have placed much more emphasis
on policies of sustainability
a slowdown
of material growth. May
involving
we then on the basis of MFA indicators discard environmental
policies as
being irrelevant or at least ineffectual? On the level of the overall, "head
line" indicators DMI and DPO, we indeed can discern only little effect from
such policies.
The improvement
of "material productivity,"
regardless of
it is measured
whether
(DMI) or by outflows
by resource consumption
of changes
in
(DPO), seems to come as a "free gift," a structural outcome
affluent industrial economies
ifwe
during the last two decades. However,
et al. (2000) more closely, we do indeed
examine
the data of Matthews
21
MARINA FISCHER-KOWALSKI
AND CHRISTOFAMANN
Austria
2
Germany
100
1975
1980
1985
1990
1975
1995
1985
1990
1995
1990
1995
The Netherlands
Japan
8
1980
150
100
?
1975
1980
1985
United
States
1990
1975
1995
?
?
8
15?
?
100
1975
?
1980
1985
1990
GDP
1980
1985
(real, constant
Material
Outflows
1990)
(DPO)
Outflow Intensity(DPO/GDP)
1995
FIGURE 3. Environmental
II:Material Outflows
Impact and Affluence
Gross
Domestic
Product
and
Outflow
(DPO),
(GDP),
Intensity
for affluent
industrial economies,
1975-1996.
(DPO/GDP)
Source:
Matthews
et al., 2000
(DPO); OECD
(GDP); own
calculation.
find changes that may well be attributed to the environmental
policy efforts
of the last decades.
The outflows of industrial economies
et al.
documented
by Matthews
in terms of the environmental
media they
(2000) have been broken down
some of the indicators that can be
enter.18 In Figure 4, we have selected
and have related these indicators to GDP
generated by such a breakdown
22
POPULATIONAND ENVIRONMENT
Austria
Germany
1995
1975
The
Japan
1975
1980
United
1985
1980
1990
1995
1975
1985
1990
1995
1990
1995
Netherlands
1980
1985
States
DPO to air (C02) per unitGDP
DPO
to air* per unit GDP
DPO to land (waste) per unitGDP
FIGURE 4. Environmental
III:
Impact and Affluence
Outflow
media for
Intensity (DPO/GDP)
by environmental
affluent
1975-1996.
industrial economies,
Source:
Matthews
et al., 2000
(DPO); OECD
(GDP); own
calculation.
in order to calculate more specific "outflow intensities." While
overall DPO
displayed no more than a soft "relative delinking" from GDP, air pollutants
in landfills) show a clearly
(DPO to air*)19 and solid wastes
(DPO deposited
inverse relation to income: the more affluence
increases, the lower these
wastes and emissions are.20 Most probably, the more affluent countries have
to reduce
used part of their affluence
local and regional environmental
we
not
Here
find
"relative
im
pollution.
only
delinking" of environmental
23
AND CHRISTOFAMANN
MARINA FISCHER-KOWALSKI
pact from affluence but also "absolute delinking": the size of waste outflows
a nuisance
environment
show an
for the domestic
that could constitute
in each of the cases investigated. We do tend to interpret
absolute decline
this as an effect of environmental
policy aimed at fighting "pollution." But
more
or less constant with rising affluence?
DPO
then
does
overall
stay
why
reason: the emissions of C02.
There is one obvious
As can be gathered from Figure 4, C02 emissions
display a more ran
Per unit of affluence,
dom pattern than do air pollutants and solid waste.
seem to be scattered all over the range of possi
patterns of C02 emissions
"relative delink
bilities. At best, we may state a case of (not very consistent)
as
we
see
a
case
not
with outflows
such
of
"absolute
but
delinking"
ing,"
for local and regional environments.
that constitute a nuisance
Subjected
to closer scrutiny, this result might reconfirm our thesis of environmental
while countries did indeed strive to reduce sources
policies' effectiveness;
of local and regional pollution
they did not
through political measures,
on
the global
efforts to reduce emissions
make any consistent
impacting
climate.
But let us now proceed one step further. Even ifwe have found with
the help of MFA many indications of "relative delinking" between affluence
and environmental
impact, and even some cases of "absolute delinking,"
im
numbers that are driving environmental
could it not still be population
it is not easy to separate these variables properly.
pact? Methodologically,
increase in afflu
For affluent industrial countries we find both a continuous
ence as well as a continuous
more
moderate
increase in population
albeit
of MFA,
the
scientific community
numbers during the last decades. Within
are
curves
to
tackle
these
Kuznets
used
environmental
so-called
(EKC)21
curves
Kuznet
the
interrelation
model
Environmental
influences.
multiple
between affluence
(in terms of GDP per capita inhabitant) and environmen
tal impacts (in terms of physical amounts per capita inhabitant) as 3rd order
In terms of IPAT, Kuznets curves display the gross
functions.
polynomial
effect of affluence on the environmental
impact indicator while
keeping
in per capita
how change
numbers constant. They demonstrate
as
in
is
in
IPAT
with
the
associated
defined
formula)
(A
change
as
In
in
IPAT
defined
the
environmental
formula).
per capita
impact (I/P
as the
in IPAT?i.e.,
Kuznets models
(T) as it is understood
"Technology"
and affluence,
conundrum
of all sources of variation other than population
in the strict sense of the word, environmental
such as technology
policies,
etc.?shows
structural economic
differences,
up as (random) deviation
function.
from the polynomial
In Figure 5, we have calculated
Kuznets curves for the
environmental
various
overall
environmental
between
per capita
impacts on
relationship
population
affluence
24
POPULATIONAND ENVIRONMENT
Direct Material Input (DMI)
Domestic
Material
Domestic
Processed
Output (DPO)
Consumption (DMC)
<^*
j&*
3
<
x*
R2 = 0,4084
R2 = 0,8103
O
/ry
R2 = 0,4691
GDP per capita
GDP per capita
GOP per capita
C
re
?v
O
R2 = 0,3229
v
GDP per capita
R2 * 0,7004
GDP per capita
R2 g 0,4159
GDP per capita
'H
c
ro
Gl
ro
Q.J
R2 = 0,7816
GDP per capita
R2 = 0,3509
GDP per capita
GDP per capita
(A
o
c
re
W
R2 = 0,4821
_R2^OJ609
GDP per capita
GDP per capita
2
CO
a
2
Q
= 0,448
_R2
GDP per capita
***%
S
c
3
R2 = 0,2996
GDP per capita
GDP per capita
FIGURE 5. Environmental
per capita Population
Impact and Affluence
Kuznets Curves (EKC) for Material
Environmental
Inputs (DMI, DMC)
1975-1996.
industrial economies,
and Outflows
(DPO) for affluent
Source:
Matthews
et al.. 2000;
OECD;
own
calculation.
I:
25
AND CHRISTOFAMANN
MARINA FISCHER-KOWALSKI
the one hand (inputs as DMI and outflows as DPO, as well as Domestic
an explanation
see Figure 1)?and
in
Material Consumption
(DMC)?for
come on the other hand (GDP per capita, constant prices). We have, for the
sake of simplicity, tried to exclude much of "Technology"
(T) as a source of
in time series, and
variation by displaying
the results country by country
not lumping together data from several countries. These countries might
structures as well as in their
differ in their production
and consumption
waste and emission policies.
them case by case, we at least
By displaying
for national differences.
indicators DMI, DMC, and DPO
Figure 5 shows that the MFA headline
are not related to affluence
in any consistent way. The polynomial
functions
look different for each of the countries and for each indicator, and with few
their fit to the data is not very good (see R2 in Figure 5). Ifwe
exceptions
on
the distinction made above between
relative and absolute de
pick up
and
in Figure 5, the conclu
apply it to the per capita data displayed
linking
sion we may draw for the countries documented
here is not very clear. In
in per capita environmental
impact in industrial countries
general, changes
two
at
not
the
last
decades
have
all
been
during
strongly associated with
a consistent decline
in
There
is
affluence.
neither
(the more afflu
changes
more
a
nor
the
consistent
increase in
ent,
unobtrusive),
environmentally
more
more
environmental
the
de
(the
affluent,
pressure
environmentally
a
nor
is
across
there
curvilinear
itself
countries.
pattern repeating
manding),
on this scale per capita income is not at all a very distinct driv
Obviously,
de
pressure. Environmental
ing force for environmental
impact obviously
on
a
more
of
other
factors.
to
Another,
pends
variety
express
optimistic way
this would be to say that countries that are in the process of becoming more
affluent have a great deal of leeway in shaping policy regarding environ
mental pressures.
Let us now raise the level of complexity
one step further and include
in our analysis the variations among countries
in terms of "Technology,"
to be a compound
understood
variable of structural differences,
policies
etc. Figure 6 presents cross-country
and cross-time
data for a variable of
control
crucial
from fossil fuel combustion. We
importance, namely C02 emissions
our
on
base
Kuznets
the
but this time enter all the
model,
again
analysis
data points generated by Matthews
et al. (2000). We see that if per capita
at
relate to affluence
the fit to the model
is
C02 emissions
all?although
as
can
be
and
low
the
values
R2
weak,
(see
fairly
by
judged optically
Figure
6)?then
they do so in a slightly positive way.22 No such thing as a "turning
can be observed
and affluence
in
point" in the relation of C02 emissions
this data. This is in line with the cross-sectional
of
Dietz
Rosa
and
analysis
26
POPULATIONAND ENVIRONMENT
* X ?X
20
US
?
a
?
2
E
?F
?9k
NL
15
*****
Q.
?5
?
S*- gO
10
a
O
O
-r
AUT
R' = 0,0504
15 20 25
10
30
GDP [1.000 US$ per capita]
FIGURE 6. Environmental
per capita Population
Impact and Affluence
III: Environmental
Kuznets Curves (EKC) for C02 emissions
from fossil
industrial economies,
1975-1996.
fuels across affluent
Source:
Matthews
et al., 2000;
own
calculation.
(1997), who within the framework of an IPATmodel used similar log-linear
and also
equations on the basis of data from over 100 countries worldwide
found an overall positive effect. Holtz-Eakin
and Seiden (1995) arrived by
cross-sectional
analysis at a possible
turning point above an annual per
we
cannot
income
of
but
confirm this on the basis of our
$35,000,
capita
our
to
data.
for
the level of C02 emissions
model,
According
longitudinal
industrial countries
but on other
does not seem to depend on affluence
factors. The United States display an exceptional
pattern: at all levels of
in the U.S. by far exceed
annual per capita C02 emissions
those
affluence,
a positioning
one nation
in
of all other nations,
of
data
for
this
resulting
that very much
stands out from the rest (Figure 5). Although
differences
are not as pronounced
as they are
between
the other countries observed
with
respect to the unique case presented
by the United States, each of
level of per capita C02 emissions
them does seem to have a characteristic
across levels of affluence.23 So, for affluent industrial countries we conclude
are not a function of income levels but rather
that per capita C02 emissions
a function of typical production
and consumption
patterns in the national
27
MARINA FISCHER-KOWALSKI
AND CHRISTOFAMANN
and the resulting level of fossil fuel use (in terms of the IPAT
are a function of "Technology").
this means that C02 emissions
come out of our previous analysis,
to
this
the
results
that
have
Relating
we arrive at some rather sobering conclusions. While
the industrial coun
tries seem to have used their growing affluence during the last two decades
for the reduction of domestic
environmental
nuisances,
they have at the
same time increased their environmental
on
the
impact
global atmosphere,
at the expense of the world climate. We can arrive at such a conclusion
by
virtue of the strength of MFA indicators that allow us to organize
impacts
that are qualitatively
scale of overall material
very different on a common
a
as itmay
is
of
The
outflows
indeed
function
(as mediated
weight.
weight
a
into
socio-economic
level
of C02
and
be) of material
input
systems,
high
emissions
is a necessan/
of the dominance
of fossil fuels in
consequence
As a fraction of DPO, C02 emissions
industrial metabolism.
play a most
economy
formula,
et al.
role. In the five countries studied by Matthews
quantitative
(see Figure 7).
(2000), they make up more than four-fifths of all outflows
It certainly holds true for outflows
that the rising per capita affluence
in the last two decades
of industrial economies
for
tended to be beneficial
on the global scale, insofar
the domestic environment
but very problematic
as C02 emissions
are contributing
to global warming. As the cross-country
dominant
this is not necessarily
data presented
here illustrate, however,
so, because
at the expense of
be achieved
the same degree of affluence can obviously
very different levels of C02 emissions.
FIGURE7. Material Outflows (DPO) from affluent industrial economies
to their composition
1996; Austria, Germany,
by gateways,
according
The
United States (unweighted
Netherlands,
Japan,
average on
a per capita base).
Source:
Matthews
et al., 2000;
own
calculation.
28
POPULATIONAND ENVIRONMENT
THE REDUCTION OF MATERIAL INTENSITY INAFFLUENT
INDUSTRIALCOUNTRIES: A FREEGIFT AT THE EXPENSE
OF DEVELOPING
COUNTRIES?
So far, we
able to demonstrate
that a certain reduction of
seems
recent
to have been ubiquitous
decades
intensity during
an
on
affluent
industrial
both
overall
level and on a per
countries,
among
level.
With
the
of
MFA
indicators, we were able to
capita
aggregate
help
show that material pressures on the environment
have been increasing, but
certainly at a lower rate than affluence, and at no higher a rate than popula
tion numbers. Why did this occur? Possible explanations
that we can offer
at this stage are:
have been
material
a.
b.
c.
on cost reduction and
change driven by the emphasis
technological
profitability24
a
in consumption
intensive com
patterns away from materially
change
modities
towards labor intensive services and
a
in the international division of labor characterized
change
by the
externalization
of the most materially
intensive processes
of raw mate
rial extraction and industrial production
to the "peripheral" countries
of the "South."
While
in the framework
(a) and (b) could be dealt with
.of the IPAT
model as a "Technology"
exceeds
the
model's
framework
(c)
explanation,
and calls for a different paradigm.
Let us now return to the above questions of the environmental
impact
of input flows, and follow up on hypothesis
(c), namely that the reduction
of material
is due to a process of externalizing
intensity in affluent countries
to
rest
environmental
the
of
the
world, by means of an international
impact
division of labor inwhich
the most materially
intensive processes
of raw
are shifted to the less affluent
material extraction and industrial production
in the South. These countries,
then, bear the main burden of the
as
of
their
natural
well as the burden of increasing
resources,
exploitation
and emissions
domestic wastes
for commodities
in the
largely consumed
industrial core. At the same time, of course, the less affluent countries do
itmay
gain in terms of income and domestic material consumption?but,
at a disproportionately
be suspected,
lower rate.25
there is too little data to test this hypothesis
Unfortunately,
systemati
can
We
indications
from a comparison
of the material
cally.
gain some
dimension
of imports and exports of industrial countries with
(largely pre
on
data
countries
look at the devel
liminary)
developing
(Figure 8).26 Ifwe
opment of imports and exports in affluent industrial countries during the last
countries
29
MARINA FISCHER-KOWALSKI
AND CHRISTOFAMANN
two decades, we
is to be expected
see them rise in proportion to the material
input (DMI), as
In terms of weight,
statistics.
from ordinary economic
all
at
in the statistics
affluent
industrial countries
documented
least
import
twice as much as they export (much of these imports being raw materials),
that were extracted
and those exports rose steadily relative to the materials
a
can
be
8).
Quite
contrary picture
domestically
(Figure
gathered from the
as
in
8.
In
countries
these
countries, exports
displayed
Figure
developing
in terms of weight,
exceed
and they are also
imports by a factor of 2-4
growing steadily. Imports, on the other hand, are stagnating or even tempo
So, as far as can be suspected on the basis of this very
rarily declining.
countries seem to be have been increasingly play
limited data, developing
intensive processes
the
role
of
of
and products for
ing
materially
suppliers
affluent countries throughout the last two decades.
Muradian and Martinez-Alier
(2001) tried to approach this question by
means of an analysis of the material flow implications of international trade.
resources
the South-North
trade flows of non-renewable
in
They analyzed
terms
most
for
the
At
1968-1996.
least
for
of
(metric
tons)
physical
period
the resources considered,
their results seem to point toward an increasing
demand on the part of the North: imports of aluminum
showed a sevenfold
pig iron, iron and steel shapes, petroleum
products and nickel
a
increased
factor
of
natural
zinc
and copper ores
3-4,
gas,
(alloys)
by
rose
and
bauxite
and
doubled;
30%;
copper alloys
by
only tin ores and
mineral fertilizer imports showed a substantial decline, while the rest of the
materials analyzed
(tin alloys,
lead, zinc ores, nickel ores, iron ores, lead
remained more or less stable. Giampietro
and Ma
ores, crude petroleum)
increase;
the trade relations of Japan, a country particu
(1998) have analyzed
upon imports of forest and agricultural products, and ar
larly dependent
rived at the conclusion
that the expansion
of Japanese forests during the
last 20 years was
related to the high rate of deforestation
in Indonesia.
yumi
(2001) have interpreted the United King
Similarly, Schandl and Schulz
dom's exceptionally
low and even still decreasing
level of per capita mate
raw material
rial input as a possible consequence
of the UK's terminating
extraction and even of its de-industrialization,
industry being given up in
favor of generating
service-sector
income. In the course of these develop
ments, UK citizens are not necessarily
lowering their level of material con
or
even
the
material
(Jackson &
sumption
intensity of their consumption
1999), but they increasingly satisfy their needs with
Marks,
imported com
modities.
Such a scenario must automatically
result in the reduction of do
mestic material
to Direct
contribute
intensity, since imported commodities
at
Material
their
the
(DMI)
borders,
Input
by
crossing
weight
leaving behind
all the material
loads (hidden flows) involved in producing
them.
30
POPULATIONAND ENVIRONMENT
Austria
Germany
The Netherlands
Japan
_
3
?
60
50
40
I 30
S 20
I
1 10
?
o
1975
1980
1985
1990
1995
United Kingdom
Brazil
i
I
1
| (5
?
50
40
30
20
o
1975
1980
1985
Imports
(%, share
of Material
Input]
[%, share
of Material
Input]
1995
Venezuela
Exports
FIGURE 8. Material
Profiles of International Trade: The relative weight
of imports and exports of affluent industrial economies
as compared
to
economies.
developing
Source:
Machado,
Matthews
2001
communication);
et al., 2000;
Schandl
data);
(preliminary
own calculation.
and Schulz, 2000, Castellano,
2001
Authors
of "The Weight
of Nations/'
data),
(preliminary
2000
(personal
31
AND CHRISTOFAMANN
MARINA FISCHER-KOWALSKI
But if this is so, might not the inclusion of the "hidden flows" of im
the widely
favored
ports correct for this distortion of the picture? Would
more
in
the
TMR, "Total Material
truly represent
changes
Requirement/'
is
not
that
this
We
believe
do
material
intensity associated with affluence?
in
9.
structures
illustrated
so, because of the latent
Figure
four stages of the process of mate
in Figure 9 distinguishes
The model
Itall departs from Nature; all materials,
and consumption.
rial production
as resources for the satisfaction of
come
to
even
be
considered
before they
or
At this
rest
natural environment.
in
biotic
the
human needs,
geophysical
a
is
at
value
economic
maximum
and
their
is
(still) zero.
stage, their weight
is
In the
indefinite.
material
their
Thus, mathematically
intensity
speaking,
resource
extraction.
is
there
socio-economic
of
first stage
the
processing,
to be
are selected from the environment
and extracted
Certain materials
or forestry, the initial amount of these
used. Be it in mining,
agriculture,
to the next stage because
is large in comparison
extracted materials
they
after further
contain many unusable parts that are left behind as wastes
amounts to a
the (unused) overburden
Inmining, for example,
processing.
1P
or
trading, services
processing
FIGURE 9. Model
Source,
own
figure.
of extraction/production/consumption
units.
physical and economic
consump
tion
UJ
z>
<
2
cycle
in
32
POPULATIONAND ENVIRONMENT
raw material extracted.
to a smaller ex
multiple of the valuable
Although
tent, the same applies to forestry and agriculture. At this second stage, eco
nomic value accrues only to the usable parts, is proportional
to the efforts
invested in extracting them, and is still fairly low. As a result, the material
intensity at this stage is high: many tons make for little money value. The
next stage, or rather stages, are production.
raw ma
Here, various selected
are processed,
terials are drawn into production,
to make
and are combined
usable commodities.
The total mass of all the products coming out of the
is invariably smaller than the amount of raw materials
production processes
that entered production,
and the longer the production
chain, the greater
this difference
is bound to be. The rest, unless recycled or used for other
is "left behind" (there is inevitably something
left behind). With
processes,
each step in the production
process, though, there is value added. So, with
each step in the production process, material
there
intensity decreases?i.e.
a possible
is less mass with higher value. Would
next stage, the stage of
the provision of services, be any different? We think that it can be charac
terized by the same pattern. Products from the
stages are used,
preceding
even
no
more
a
if these products
include
than the food
service worker
needs to keep working,
in which
the buildings
this takes place, and the
tools and electricity needed. Also, value is added. The materials
used need
to be replenished at some point.
In the final stage, the stage of consump
total material weight
is already very small, while
tion, the commodities'
their value at the point of sale for consumption
is at a maximum.
So, at the
of
sale
for
material
very point
consumption,
intensity reaches itsminimum:
little material
for a lot of money.
In the course of further consumption,
materials and values both decrease. Materials are
gradually reduced through
the process of consumption,
the simplest examples being the eating of food
or the
the value of these assets reaching zero in
(out) of clothes,
wearing
the end. The last stage returns to "nature" since in the end the
products'
remains have become wastes,
no longer part of the socio-economic
sphere
and with no more value accruing to them,
(taking account of the cost in
volved
in disposing of these remains, one can consider their value to even
be negative).
In the end, material
intensity can be said to be indeterminable
or even
finite
number
divided by zero or a negative number).
negative (a
This profile of material
intensity has to do with the fact that the eco
nomic process
is as much a process of "added value" with a sudden return
to the value zero27 as it is a process of "subtracted materials,"
materials
Ifwe now think of socio-economic
gradually turning into wastes.
systems
the
scale and think of their mate
positioned
along
extraction-consumption
rial input (DMI) on the one hand and their
(monetary) economic
product
33
AND CHRISTOFAMANN
MARINA FISCHER-KOWALSKI
intensive"
on the other hand, we may expect them to be more "materially
are
for
less
material
extraction
toward
the further down they
value).
(more
intensive the
At the same time we can expect them to be less materially
In terms of economic
more they center around services and consumption.
more
intensive than,
or
be
will
sectors, agriculture
materially
always
mining
a
or
terms
In
of
national
for example,
economies,
hairdressing.
teaching
a
have
low
will
and
in
research
insurance,
country specializing
banking,
a strong reliance on mining,
material
intensity while another country with
a
have
will
and
steel
intensity?re
production
high material
agriculture,
its
of
of
inhabitants (see the down
standard
the
of
material
living
gardless
in Figures 2 and 5).
ward curve of DMI/GDP
in
Ifwe do not use Direct Material
Input (DMI) to calculate material
use
what
difference
Total
Material
and
(TMR) instead,
Requirement
tensity
does this make? Even ifwe think of an "ideal" TMM that includes all the
onward28 and that therefore "carries
materials
required from extraction
wastes
in the course of extraction and
"left
behind"
it"
with
all
the
along
we
find
the
characteristic
still
that
processes,
profile of material
production
to
the
when
decreases
except that
consumption,
path
intensity
following
a constant
is not as rapid (Figure 9). Dividing
the decline
(TMR) by an
can quite obviously
result only in a negative
increasing number ($ value)
function.
From this model we can learn that the more the socio-economic
sys
to the right?that
is positioned
tem under investigation
is, to the later stages
lower its material
chain?the
in the production-consumption
intensity is
have a high
for example,
bound to be. Traditional agricultural economies,
is
comfort
level of material
material
intensity since even a very modest
we
economic
value.
If
little
material
with
much
characterized
push
input
by
the case to the extreme and think of a rural subsistence
economy with no
income at all, the calculation
of material
intensity will result in
monetary
an infinite number.
Let us return now to the empirical world and consider the model of an
countries extract raw
international division of labor in which
peripheral
or
for sale to
crude
materials
metals)
(such as agricultural
oil,
produce,
turnover would
In the periphery, material
be
industrial countries.
affluent
is consumed by the local population
for itsmaterial
greater than what
comfort, and much of the income from raw material exports would be used
to
intensive?structures
needed
to provide
very materially
those?again
raw
materials
and
infrastructure,
(roads,
harbors,
export
mining
produce
on the
income would be expended
etc.). Only a small amount of national
intensive
As a
commodities.
and
less
of
very expensive
import
materially
much
34
POPULATIONAND ENVIRONMENT
turnover and its impact on the domestic
environ
material
consequence,
ment
in the periphery would
increase at a high rate, while
these countries'
terms would
in monetary
affluence
hardly keep pace.
to test this assumption
is empiri
the
database available
Unfortunately,
For
insufficient.29
countries,
only a
peripheral
cally highly
industrializing
few preliminary MFA data yet exist. Figure 10 displays two such cases.
Data for
The cases we can present are those of Brazil and Venezuela.
cover the period from 1988 to 1997, when
this country became
Venezuela
a major exporter of raw oil and paved itsway to a certain level of prosper
ity. Data for Brazil extend from 1975 to 1995, a phase of rapid economic
we can see from Figure 10, material
input per capita is much
change. As
the same as in the industrial core. When we get a little closer to grasping
the inhabitants' "material comfort" by subtracting exports from DMI?that
is,when we talk about DMC (domestic material consumption)
per inhabi
tant?we
two
is
countries.
DMC
lower in
results
for
much
the
get differing
same
as
is
in
in
it
is
it
the
rich
industrial
Brazil
the
but
Venezuela,
quite
so that DMC seems to have little power to explain
core countries,
their
common
countries
situation:
that
of
(one
actually
industrializing peripheral
DE per capita
E Importsper capita
DMCpercaptia
@ Exports per cepita
FIGURE 10. Searching
for an Indicator of a Population's Material
Per Capita Material
industrial
Comfort:
Input (DMI, DMC) for affluent
countries.
economies
and for developing
Source.
Matthews
2001; Machado,
own calculation.
et al., 2000; Adriaanse
et al., 1997; Schandl
and Schulz,
2000
of Nations,"
2001; Authors of 'The Weight
(personal
2000; Castellano,
communication);
35
MARINA FISCHER-KOWALSKI
AND CHRISTOFAMANN
experiencing
rapid change, the other having begun to export oil, and both
in the same situation of poverty for the mass of their populations).
And what
about material
intensity? Both cases display a material
intensity (DMI/GDP)
quite above that of the industrial core. We feel that this result can be inter
of the considerations
outlined above. Both Brazil
preted as confirmation
raw
and Venezuela
have a large primary (and secondary) sector, producing
materials and first stage products
(such as pig iron) and selling them on the
inten
world market at a comparatively
low price. Therefore,
their material
have a comparatively
low
sity is high. At the same time, their populations
standard of material
comfort and therefore a low material
input serving
domestic consumption
(at a low price) (see Figure 11).
Ifwe
now
in Figure 12, we can see
look at the time series exposed
that Venezuela
and Brazil represent the pattern predicted
above: DMI
grows more quickly than GDP, and material
intensity is even rising?quite
in contrast to the industrial core, where we have found GDP to be the
in material
fastest growing variable with a resultant decline
intensity. In
conjunction with our findings on the complementary
dynamics of imports
3.000
DMI per un? GOP
DMC pern* GDP
FIGURE11. Per unit GDP Material Input (DMI,DMC) for affluent
industrial
economies
and for developing
economies,
1996.
et al., 2000; Adriaanse
Source. Matthews
et al., 1997; Schandl
and Schulz, 2000; Castellano,
2001
2001
Resources
data); Machado,
Institute, 1998;
data); World
(preliminary
(preliminary
own calculation.
2000
Authors of 'The Weight
of Nations,"
(personal communication);
36
POPULATIONAND ENVIRONMENT
intensities
and exports (see Figure 8), our hypothesis
of changing material
in both the "North" and the "South" as a result of asymmetrical
interaction
in international trade seems well warranted.
we may draw from the above
is that the
The preliminary
conclusion
more
is
interrelation between
environmental
and
Affluence
much
Impact
IPAT
than
the
model
would
these
complex
suggest. Among
complexities,
the question
of scale figures most prominently
(Giampietro & Mayumi,
the IPAT question may be
2000). All socio-economic
systems for which
are
not
in
environments
embedded
natural
but also in networks
posed
only
nature
of social systems with which
interact.
of this interac
The
very
they
tion seems to be of crucial
their
for
environmental
(and of
importance
course also their economic)
even
more
so
is
in the
and
this
performance,
some valuable
face of globalization.
Material
flow analysis provides
tools
for gaining an understanding
but it is still far
of these intricate processes,
from supplying all the answers.
Brazil
Venezuela
200
1988
1990
1992
1994
1996
1975
1980
1985
1990
1995
GDP
Material Input(DMI)
Material Intensity (DMI/GDP)
FIGURE 12. Environmental
IV:Material
Impact and Affluence
Input
Gross
Domestic
and
Product
Material
(GDP)
(DMI),
Intensity
for developing
1988-1997
(DMI/GDP)
economies,
(Venezuela),
1975-1995
(Brazil).
Source:
data).
Castellano,
2001
(Venezuela,
preliminary
data); Machado,
2001
(Brazil,
preliminary
37
MARINA FISCHER-KOWALSKI
AND CHRISTOFAMANN
HOW DOES POPULATION RELATETO MFA INDICATORS
OF ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT?
inMFA-related
studies,
Population as a variable tends to be neglected
as
to
for
denominator
"standardize"
data. The as
used
except
help
being
is very simple:
if the per capita
sumption behind such a standardization
are alike, the
or
two
emissions
of
countries
the
material
per capita
input
to cause the same burden for
inhabitants of these countries are supposed
the environment
each.
tal burden is supposed
this simple model and
to MFA
According
If the number of inhabitants grows, the environmen
to grow proportionally.
Let us first pause to examine
itmeans.
discuss what
is one of the
the human population
methodology,
one
a
"material
of
the
stocks"
of
compartments,
society. Repro
biophysical
flows iswhat socio-economic
ducing this particular stock by appropriate
is all about. So, with the way of life held constant or, in other
metabolism
same level of "material comfort" and technology,
at
the
flows will
words,
a
increase as stocks increase.
Ifwe
imagine
simple agrarian society, an
increase in per capita flows will occur in years where there is a rich harvest,
a decrease
implying more material comfort for the inhabitants; vice versa,
a
mean
material
feedback
from
material
may
deprivation.
loop
Typically,
to population
numbers
is assumed:
Ifmaterial comfort is high, peo
more
to
tend
have
children, and their children tend to sur
ple supposedly
vive infancy, and so population
growth follows until it is checked by lack
the framework of this simple model, a social system's
of resources. Within
be closely
metabolism
would
linked to population, with per capita flows
over
constant
time, while
may vary.30 In this
remaining fairly
population
in
would
be
flows
framework, changes
per capita
synonymous with changes
inmaterial comfort, but of course not synonymous with "affluence"
inmon
a
terms.
extent
to
extent
is
The
which
the
"monetarized"?i.e.,
etary
system
to which
it represents itsmaterial processes and its use values
in monetary
a second question that must be answered
terms (or as exchange
values)?is
a
We
is well
have
fed,
may
system where
independently.
everybody
or
we
and
with
cared
little
housed,
for,
involved,
very
money
may on the
contrary have a system with materially very poor comfort for the vast major
for a small elite through the sale of, for example,
ity but great affluence
raw oil. We may also have transitions between various states inwhich,
for
on
raw
comfort
while
material
deteriorates
affluence
the
base
of
example,
materials
exports soars; or we may have a case where material comfort
mo
remains more or less constant and the economy
becomes
increasingly
that is, "affluent" in GDP terms. In these transitions, traditional
netarized,
comfort
38
POPULATIONAND ENVIRONMENT
forms of population
regulation will most likely deteriorate and give way to
see more population
much more
irregular patterns, and we will usually
or thereafter. In sum,
than
before
in
these transitions,
growth
understanding
a
is
of
these
dimensions,
any
complex
undertaking.
Let us assume now that raw material
extraction
for export kicks off
such a transition. This would
increase in affluence
lead to a combined
(in
come
flows (raw materials extracted
generated by exports) and inmaterial
and exported).
Both would
numbers. To
have little relation to population
what extent affluence and material
flows grow in relation to one another
would depend only on the world market price per ton of material extracted.
as
As in the case of petroleum,
this price may be comparatively
high, or,
in the case of agricultural and forestry produce,
itmay be fairly low. If the
world market price per unit of weight
declines
(as is the case with most
raw materials), material flows would grow faster than income. This dynamic
would not be causally related to population
numbers or population
growth.
The income generated by exports could
lead to a gradual change from a
to a market economy
subsistence
with no in
("monetarization")
economy
crease and possibly even with a decrease
in the local population's
material
comfort
for the soaring consumption
by local elites of valuable but
some
To
the income generated by ex
extent,
import products.
low-weight
will
in
also
be
invested
in infra
ports
technological
change, particularly
structure (energy facilities, transport networks, etc.), and will
lead to social
except
traditional controls
likely destabilize
change. This social change will most
a
of reproduction, and trigger population
As
material
consequence,
growth.
or else a
domestic consumption will have to grow proportionally
large part
of the population will face absolute
Let us now look at
impoverishment.
are
affluent industrial countries. We may assume that several mechanisms
in place to keep the material comfort of the population
at least constant.
If
most
it
the population
in
does
affluent
albeit
(as
countries,
grows
slowly),
material flows then grow proportionally.
But we may not assume that this
material
growth by
large itmay be, triggers population
old "Malthusian" argument certainly does not
increasing reproduction?the
If the population
it is typically because of an
grows,
apply here (anymore).
influx of people from beyond the national boundaries.
Countries usually try
to regulate this immigration in such a way as to maintain
the average mate
rial comfort of the inhabitants. Also, the immigrant population
is expected
a standard material comfort closer to that of their
to be able to maintain
new country than that of their country of
origin. If there are few jobs avail
able and if there is no adequate housing, affluent countries attempt to slow
comfort,
however
immigration down. On the other hand, if people did not expect substantial
in their material
and if this expectation were
improvement
living conditions
39
AND CHRISTOFAMANN
MARINA FISCHER-KOWALSKI
not migrate
not confirmed on the average, they would
(apart from special
in their home countries). Taking immi
of political oppression
circumstances
as an isolated effect, population growth in affluent countries would
gration
a proportional
flows. Globally
increase
in domestic
material
generate
an in
much
the
effect
would
be
larger; transforming
speaking, however,
habitant of a nation like India into an inhabitant of a nation like the United
States means adding the per capita material turnover of a US citizen while
turnover of an Indian citi
subtracting the (much lower) per capita material
zen. Ifwe strain the little evidence we have, we might tentatively conclude
in terms of MFA
that on the national scale, environmental
pressure
in
affluent
numbers
with
countries, while
population
proportionally
numbers are only more
rial flows and population
loosely associated
countries.
veloping
grows
mate
in de
CONCLUSION
In the introduction we asked inwhat respects MFA can be considered
an appropriate
and environmental
tool to relate population
impacts, and
issues would
we asked how thoroughly population
have to be taken into
account with an MFA-type
analysis. Using the IPAT model, what conclu
sions can we now reach regarding these questions?
As concerns
the utility of MFA, it seems clear that MFA methodology
for environmental
indirect?indicators
reliable?if
impact, about
provides
on the same level of generality as the other variables commonly
used for
seems
it
in
and
clear
and
affluence
IPAT models
particular),
(population
level of methodological
that MFA provides these indicators at a comparable
and reliability. The public MFA data base for analysis of this
consistency
a reasonable period of time many op
kind is expanding
rapidly, so within
use
to
such
data
for more sophisticated
modeling will
actually
portunities
be opening up. However, MFA still lacks those indicators for a national or
from their level
"material comfort" (as distinguished
regional population's
link to population.
The indica
that would create a systematic
of affluence)
tors in use, such as DMI per capita (Direct Material
Input of the national
DPO per capita
TMR per capita (Total Material
Requirement),
economy),
to the domestic environment)
and TMO per
(Domestic Processed Outflows
a domestic
environment,
including
capita (Total Material Outflows within
the "material comfort" of a
"hidden flows"), all fail to distinguish
domestic
turnover
material
from that part of their economy's
national population
serves
Even
DMC
of other populations.
the consumption
which
(Domestic
Material Consumption), which was especially designed to reflect the amount
40
POPULATIONAND ENVIRONMENT
of materials used domestically
does not fulfill this purpose
from DMI,
by subtracting exported materials
re
it still contains all the materials
because
and
for
the
of
these
materials
commodities,
may
export
quired
production
be a multiple of the weight of the exported commodities
themselves. Most
MFA
further
of
methods
and
probably, through
development
through learn
to
economic
from
had
resolve
the same
basically
ing
accounting?which
so
to
and
indicators
will
able
did
be
be pro
problems
successfully?such
et al., 1998).
in this direction see Hinterberger
vided (for some attempts
as a variable has received fairly little attention from
So far, population
is generally considered
the human population
the MFA community. While
as a biophysical
of socio-economic
compartment
systems and stocks are
metabolic
assumed to be reproduced by corresponding
flows, even the net
is
balance of human "stocks" as generated by immigration and emigration
numbers are commonly
used as a
usually neglected.31 While
population
(as is done with Kuznets
way to "standardize" material flows and affluence
curves
the
relation
between
three
these
there exists no
variables),
modeling
thorough analysis of the impact of change of population numbers on change
inmaterial flows so far. The general (usually unspoken) assumption
inMFA
are controlled,
is that material
flows, if affluence and technology
changes
to population.
In comparisons
of widely
different socio-eco
proportionally
or agrarian communities
vs.
nomic systems (such as hunting-and-gathering
a
common
to speak of
industrial nations) it is
"characteristic metabolic
pro
file" (Weisz et al., 2001) per inhabitant. Ithas been explained
quite plausi
(Sieferle, 1990; Sieferle, 1997)
bly and also been demonstrated
empirically
in sys
why the amount and kind of materials
required to sustain a person
tems differing strongly in their Affluence
and "Technology"
in
(expressed
terms of the IPATmodel) should vary by factors of magnitude. Other empir
ical evidence
with
points to environmental
impact changing proportionally
and "Technological"
condi
population within a certain range of Affluence
tions. For core industrial countries
it could be demonstrated
that various
at roughly the same rate as population
national MFA indicators changed
to affluence
did during the last decades, while
the relationship
seemed
much
in "Technology"
less clear. But even a minor difference
(again, with
T as a compound
of variables
in the strict sense
ranging from technology
to
structure
of the word
economic
and policy) may generate
substantial
variance
inMFA indicators, as can be seen if one examines
the data from
et al. (2000) and compares per capita MFA indicators across
Matthews
in
For the per capita environ
dustrial countries,
for equal levels of affluence.
mental
impact (as reflected inMFA indicators), it thus makes a giant differ
ence under which
socio-economic
conditions
of the system a person
lives.
we
can
so
What
have concluded
far
be formalized within
the IPAT
41
MARINA FISCHER-KOWALSKI
AND CHRISTOFAMANN
framework provided
and does not transcend the theoretical
there.
and empirical
indications point beyond
of our considerations
that
even
so
more
we
Kuznets
and
If
model,
point
beyond
analysis.
though,
take into account the intricate network of interrelations that exist between
relations be
different
(national) socio-economic
systems?the
exchange
ever
more
dominant
for
and
economic,
material,
flows,
coming
population
and of course also for technologies,
thereby substantially
affecting each
we will have to
and internal development?then
system's performance
look beyond these two models. On the one hand, we must conclude
that
Kuznets analysis
is bound to produce very different results when
applied
systems than when applied across them, and on the
longitudinally within
other hand we must conclude
that the IPAT model
leads to results that
on
on
it
is
In
scale
used.
IPAT and Kuznets
the
which
both
effect,
depend
models will tend not only to belittle the environmental
impact of core in
but also to see the change
dustrial countries and their populations
that
a
in
too
countries
in
exist
vari
these
While
there
optimistic
happens
light.
ous sound analyses
indicating that this is so, a model that has the capacity
view of intra- and inter-system dy
for a comprehensive
and simultaneous
model
Some
namics
is not
in sight, at least not yet.
ENDNOTES
1.
2.
3.
to note the cycles
It ?s interesting
in the late Sixties and early
of the debate: While,
criticism of the "limits to growth," with a certain focus on resource
Seventies,
systemic
the later Seventies
and Eighties can be characterized
inputs, dominated,
by sequential
In the Nineties
of pollutants.
discussions
then, with a focus on the global
single-issue
a more
environment
and issues like climate change and ozone
depletion,
comprehensive
was
to this, Ehrlich and Holdren
(1971 )
systemic perspective
again. According
employed
are
of their "generation"
Dietz
of environmental
scientists, while
typical representatives
an intermezzo?strive
to re-introduce
those who?after
and Rosa (1994) are among
the
systemic perspective.
some merits
also in this accounting
and refer in
Although
they see
analysis
approach
to Mazur
to assess
has used not IPAT itself, but a similar model
(1994) who
particular
the relative contribution
of population
and other factors to energy consumption
in the
US.
to estimate
For example:
in an early application,
Hoch
(1972) uses regression models
the effects of population
size and density of US urban areas on air pollution
levels, wages
rates. Stochastic
and crime
has also been applied
in studies of deforestation
modeling
et al., 1991; Rudel,
(Allen & Barnes,
1989). All three of these studies find
1985; Dietz
that population
has a stronger effect on deforestation
that
rate, or density
size, growth
to the analysis
does economic
similar models
of
(1993) has applied
J?nicke
activity.
structural economic
and environmental
change
impact, but has not analyzed
population
effects.
4.
Particularly
concerning
tions for inflation with
exchange
time-series
rates with
data.
international
comparisons
and
the correc
42
POPULATIONAND ENVIRONMENT
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
as we
or even
to be a measure
take "affluence"
of wealth
and not of welfare
as some aspire to do, we
see no
GDP as what
in accepting
it is,
problem
as a measure
terms.
in monetary
of economic
activity
namely
Most recently,
EUROSTAT
of the European Union) published
(the Statistical Office
guide
of the scientific
lines for "economy-wide
based
and
MFA,"
upon the advice of many
institutions
in developing
statistical
that had been
involved
materials
flow analysis meth
a report
ods (Steurer et al., 2000). At the same time, the OECD
has published
endorsing
the broader use of MFA for environmental
(Schandl et al., 2000).
accounting
the "territorial boundaries"
of nation states can be seen not
Upon closer consideration,
as
realms and mutually
social
but as referring to power
simply
accepted
"geographical"
As long
well-being,
definitions.
as a compartment
Some approaches
of the social system
also consider
(Stahmer
plants
et al., 1997).
to be part of the socio-economic
If agricultural
sys
plants are considered
to the
is "pushed outward,"
this system and its environment
between
tem, the boundary
to any
mineral
for fishing, hunting and gathering.
This does not correspond
level, except
to distinguish
it is difficult
between
"social sys
statistics, and besides
existing economic
tem plants" and "natural plants"
& Weisz,
the inclu
1999). So while
(Fischer-Kowalski
sion of plants may be warranted
for some
theoretical
reasons?for
because
example
are maintained
is usually not
labor just as livestock are?it
agricultural
plants
by human
considered
practical.
to only about 5% of the over
amount
Inmodern
industrial economies,
"other materials"
et al., 1997). However,
all material
the
input, the rest iswater and air (Fischer-Kowalski
as the "non-water-non-air"
becomes
distinction
fraction
fuzzy upon closer examination,
is not free of water and air. Moreover,
the content of water and air of the various materi
als changes
due to natural processes
such as evaporation
and oxidation,
and also due to
For the calculation
technical
within
the socio-economic
of a mass
processes
system.
So far, the methods
have to be taken into account.
these processes
balance,
applied
to be not completely
consistent
in
have proved
the country
(see for example
reports
et al., 2000)
Matthews
wastes
these rucksacks comprise
that oc
the non-water-non-air
and emissions
Usually,
in the country of origin, and
curred during the production
process of an imported good
as side effects of domestic
extraction
flows that occur
(such
particularly
large material
as overburden
in mining or eroded
soil in agriculture).
The sum of Direct Material
Input
and hidden
it is
flows has been termed "Total Material
(TMR). Be aware
Requirement"
not "total" in the sense of including water and air! So far, there exists no term to signify
a system's bound
the "grand total" of all material
flows including water and air crossing
this terminological
others,
ary. Among
problem must still be resolved. When
summing
one must be aware
TMR across countries,
that this involves
double
up or averaging
the hidden
flows of imports).
counting
(namely,
an idea from
considered
the size or scale of human socio
(1987), who
Following
Daly
in relation to natural systems as a crucial point, one might
economic
look at the
systems
rates of stock as a core
indicator of environmental
impact. On a limited planet,
growth
structures must oust non-human
the continuous
controlled
growth of societal biophysical
habitats from this planet. Besides, while
annual direct material
flows can be calculated
to Stock" (NAS) tends
from economic
statistics
in a fairly reliable fashion,
"Net Addition
as a residual variable.
to be calculated
of the size of the biophysical
The estimation
is not so easy, either; while
stocks themselves
humans and livestock are well known,
the
to more
stock of durable consumer
(the latter amounting
goods and built infrastructure
can be calculated
a certain
than 90% of stocks,
span of uncer
typically)
only within
tainty.
At present,
to the environ
the concern
of global warming
has indeed brought attention
to non-toxic
risk attached
mental
but very large material
flows (such as C02 and meth
to note that Ayres and Kneese
foresaw
this.
ane). It is interesting
(1969) correctly
see Larson et al., 1986.
For an early example
a question
or single
This is basically
of scale. For single commodities
pro
production
43
AND CHRISTOFAMANN
MARINA FISCHER-KOWALSKI
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
cesses or even for whole
sectors
economic
(Schandl & Zangerl-Weisz,
1997; J?nicke &
Weidner,
1997), cases of strong delinking may be found. The further up on the hierarchi
more difficult
it
looks?for
national or regional economies?the
cal scale one
example,
becomes.
of the data presented
here is derived
from two pioneer
Much
studies published
by the
Resources
Institute in collaboration
with
and Japanese partners
World
(Adri
European
et al., 2000).
aanse et al., 1997; Matthews
In a collaborative
institu
effort, the partner
and methodological
tions tried to resolve the conceptual
involved and arrived
problems
across national economies.
at data sets that are actually comparable
These data are pub
so as to allow
to participate
in
the scientific
lished in a user-friendly
way
community
their further analysis
from <http://www.wri.org/materials/
(the data can be downloaded
nations, htm l>).
weightof
in DMI can be explained
Most of the discontinuities
national
conditions,
by specific
see Schandl
of oil (as in the UK, for details
such as particularly
and
large extractions
in 1991, or a severe reduction
in public spending
the German
unification
Schulz, 2001),
see
on infrastructure
construction
(such as in Japan in the early eighties,
Moriguchi,
2000).
in DMI
is due to an increase
in international
Some of the growth
trade rather than Do
mestic Material
shall see below,
DMC changes
in some
(DMC). As we
Consumption
countries may come very close to "absolute
delinking."
At the first stage, when
into the envi
system
they are released from the socio-economic
ronment.
outflows
dilute to other media,
such as
Later, these material
may of course
out into groundwater.
nitrates from fertilizers washing
et
In the framework
of Matthews
al. (2000), only the immediate
from the socio-economic
into the
system
transgression
environment
is registered.
DPO to air* is DPO to air without
the emissions
of C02.
true for the material
The same, by the way,
holds
loads in wastewater
and also for
et
domestic
"hidden
overburden
from mining
and soil erosion
(Matthews
flows"?i.e.,
al., 2000).
Kuznets
1966) used these
(1955,
tween the growth of gross national
bution. His aim was to demonstrate
to describe
functions
the interrelation
be
originally
income and the degree of inequality of income distri
that inequality
in early stages of economic
increased
at higher
levels of GDP per capita.
growth and declined
the exception
With
of Germany,
where
unifica
special conditions
prevail. The German
tion led to a reduction
a
in the use of lignite in favor of natural gas, thereby causing
lower level of C02 emissions.
to the Matthews
et al. (2000) data, the same
to solid waste
According
applies equally
across countries.
and air pollutants when
compared
as was
Even when
the price of raw materials
is declining
the case during this period for
all raw materials
(see U.S. Geological
practically
Survey <http://www.usgs.gov/>),
they
a relevant factor in
still constitute
costs. Also, especially
in the face of in
production
are
costs
international
of transportation
that strongly depend
trade, there
creasing
rising
on the weight
to be transported.
of the commodities
This is the major assumption
from the "World Systems Theory"
tradition
(e.g., Bunker,
out that itwas possible
Ekins (1997) pointed
that the consumption
of
1985). Similarly,
intensive goods
is increasingly
environmentally
being met by imports.
Data calculation
for Venezuela
and Brazil was part of the project "Amazonia21 ?Opera
tional features
for managing
sustainable
in Amazonia,"
funded
development
by the
INCO-DC Program of the European Comission,
DG XII.
In their early work, Ayres and Kneese
inwhich modern
(1969) found this to be the point
is at variance with
economics
or the law
such basic physical
laws as thermodynamics
of conservation
of mass. See similarly Odum
(1971) for the reverse cycles of energy and
value.
This is not the case with
the TMR indicators used according
to the Wuppertal
Institute's
traditions: This TMR includes only overburden
and erosion
from domes
methodological
44
POPULATIONAND ENVIRONMENT
29.
30.
31.
a fraction of the back
tic extraction,
it contains
and for imported commodities
only
the
of
extraction
and
materials
used
for
chain
(see Sch?tz
1999, Eise
ground
production
& Hutter, 2001).
estimates
and tend to be
these data rely on many
Besides,
nmenger
much
less reliable than data on Direct Material
Input.
to fill this gap, however.
There are several ongoing
research efforts working
Both the
are involved
Institute and the team of the IFF-Social Ecology
in Vienna
in
Wuppertal
in their efforts to generate
countries
aimed at supporting
national
projects
developing
to international
MFA data corresponding
standards.
As different
of "overshoot"
that may occur
historical
the amount
illustrate,
examples
on
relations and reproductive
culture. While
the col
depends
gender
family structures,
to many agrarian
societies
lateral "Western
of the for
European
Family Type" common
mer Roman Empire leads to marriage
of the
upon the economic
depending
performance
over resources,
and therefore
little "overshoot"
of population
the
husband,
prospective
is patrilineal,
with early marriages
typical family structure of most other agrarian societies
in the latter case, population
overshoot
economically
supported
family;
by the extended
can be
and civil wars
checked
higher and will be periodically
by famines,
epidemics
2000).
(Oesterdiekhoff,
Even the arrows
in Figure 1, reminding
and emigration
of the
representing
immigration
are
in related systemic models,
need to consider
these processes,
for ex
usually absent
et al., 2000.
inMatthews
ample
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