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w24: Ecological economics II

Topic 4

Learning materials ‘handout’

w24: Biophysical economics and the circular economy [pdf]

Main reading

Biophysical economics

Diesendorf, M and Wiedman, T (2020), Implications of Trends in Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROI) for Transitioning to Renewable Electricity, Ecological Economics, 176, 106726

* Hall, C and Klitgaard, K (2018), Energy and the wealth of nations: An introduction to biophysical economics (2nd ed), Cham, Switzerland: Springer]

** Melgar-Melgar, R and Hall, C (2020), Why ecological economics needs to return to its roots: The biophysical foundation of socio-economic systems, Ecological Economics, Volume 169, March, 106567

* White, E and Kramer, GJ (2019), The Changing Meaning of Energy Return on Investment and the Implications for the Prospects of Post-fossil Civilization, One Earth, Volume 1, Issue 4, 20 December, Pages 416-422

Circular economy

Watch these:

    1. Ellen MacArthur gives a brief overview of the circular economy (I suspect repurposed from her TED talk)
      Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2010), Circular Economy Explained: What Is It & Why Is It Important?, EMF
    2. Ken Webster discusses some of the context and nature of the ideas of circularity, touching on some of different aspects the ‘circular economy’ as a term encompasses
      Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2017a), A Flow of Wealth or a Wealth of Flows?, EMF for the Disruptive Innovation Festival

Main reading

Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2017c), What is the circular economy?, EMF

Raworth K (2017), Doughnut economics: seven ways to think like a 21st century economist, London: Penguin Random House [see the Doughnut Economics YouTube channel as well]

* Webster, K and Johnson, C (2010), Sense & Sustainability: Educating for a circular economy, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Background – Biophysical Economics

Biophysical Economics Policy Center (2018), What is biophysical economics?,

BP (2020), BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2020, BP

Buranyi, S (2018), The plastic backlash: what’s behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference?, The Guardian, Nov 13th

The Economist (2017), Can the world thrive on 100% renewable energy?, The Economist, July 13th

Klitgaard, K (2012), The Essence of Biophysical EconomicsNYSEA Proceedings, Volume 5, pp100-109

Gupta, A and Hall, C (2011), A review of the past and current state of  EROI dataSustainability, v3, pp1796-1809

Hall, C and Klitgaard, K (2006), The need for a new, biophysical-based paradigm in economics for the second half of the age of oilInternational Journal of Transdisciplinary Research, v1 no.1, pp4-22

Hall, C, Lambert, J and Balogh, S (2014), EROI of different fuels and the implications for society, Energy Policy, Volume 64, January, Pages 141-152

Hall, C, Balogh, S and Murphy, D (2009), What is the minimum EROI that a sustainable society must have?Energies, v2, pp25-47

Our World in Data (2019), Primary energy consumption by source, World,

Raworth K (2017), Doughnut economics: seven ways to think like a 21st century economist, London: Penguin Random House [see the Doughnut Economics YouTube channel as well]

Ritchie, H and Roser, M (2020), CO2 and other Greenhouse Gas Emissions,, Dec

Ritchie, H and Roser, M (2020), Energy,, July

Watts, J (2018), IEA accused of undermining global shift from fossil fuels, The Guardian, April 5th

Background – Circular Economy

Bayer, Eben (2010),  Are mushrooms the new plastic?, TED Global, July –> ecovative

Dieter Rams: 10 Principles for Good Design, Shuffle magazine

Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2013), Towards the circular economy Vol 2, EMF

Ellen MacArthur Foundation / McKinsey & Co (2014), Towards the Circular Economy Vol. 3: Accelerating the scale-up across global supply chains, EMF

Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2017b), A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning fashion’s future, EMF

Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2017d), CE Infographic, EMF

European Commission (2020), Circular Economy Action Plan, EU

IDEO / Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2018), Circular Design Guide, EMF

McDonough, W and Braungart, M (2002), Cradle to cradle: remaking the way we make things, Northpoint press [see TED talk]

Nguyen, H et al (2014), Remaking the industrial economy, McKinsey Quarterly, Feb

New Plastics Economy (2019), New plastics economy Global Commitment Spring 2019 report, Mar 3rd

Raymond, T (2012), Ecovative Design: wiping out polystyrene with fungus and farm wasteWired, February

UN (1987), Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future, United Nations