Economics and the Environment: A Materials Balance Approach

Economics and the Environment: A Materials Balance Approach

Economics and the Environment: A Materials Balance Approach

Economics and the Environment: A Materials Balance Approach

Excerpt

We have introduced the concept of material balance for the economy as a whole and pointed to a few of its implications for economics and public policy. Now we apply this concept to an analysis of material residuals from major sectors of the national economy. While numerous empirical results are presented, these must be understood to have primarily an illustrative and propaedeutic value. This is because almost all of them relate to national aggregates rather than to the regions in which actual planning, design, and operation of management systems would have to be concentrated. Even so, these results do yield considerable insight into how gaseous, liquid, and solid residuals are generated by production and consumption activities in the economy and why it is important to understand their interrelationships. Also, this chapter provides us with an opportunity to introduce some of the major residuals control technologies. The large economic sectors we analyze are energy conversion, processing, and consumption. Materials inputs and outputs of these sectors were depicted schematically in Chart 1 of the previous chapter, which can be regarded as providing an outline for the present discussion.

A parallel analysis of energy balances and energy residuals could be developed. We have not done this--except to a very limited extent in the appendix to this chapter. In concept, extension of the analysis to . . .

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