2015/07/09 09:20 Tim Baynes, “A Socio-economic Metabolism Approach to Sustainable Development and Climate Change Mitigation”, ISIE, U. Surrey

Plenary talk by Tim Baynes, CSIRO at “Taking Stock of Industrial Ecology”, 8th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Industrial Ecology, University of Surrey, Guildford, July 7-10, 2015

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship by David Ing.

Plenary talks for ISIE 2015 are by contributors to an open access volume, Taking Stock of Industrial Ecology, available online as open access e-book from Springer in fall 2015.  See the table of contents and the Springer book description.


Tim Baynes is a researcher at CSIRO, and with The Australian National University, Canberra.

[Tim Baynes]

How socio-economic metabolism can help mitigate climate change

Global Urban Population 2030, will all need stuff

  • Developed world has stuff, don’t need much
  • Developing world is going to need a lot of stuff, driven by population
  • Cities come from large towns, then need a public transport system, which is stuff-intensive
  • Buildings are CO2 intensive

What are chances of realizing a 2-degree target?

  • For 50% chance of a 2-degree target, would require really restrictive policies
  • About 2/3 of emissions are coming from transport, buildings, industry and the use of that stuff

DI_20150709 032928 ISIE plenary TimBaynes SustainableDevelopment CarbonBudget

How tight is the carbon budget?

  • A lot of countries have a lot of per capita CO2
  • If we’re going to let less developed countries have transportation, etc., there’s a lot of infrastructural cost, up to 1/3 of the total carbon budget

DI_20150709 033303 ISIE plenary TimBaynes Socio-Metabolic Framework

Socio-economic metabolic framework

  • Aluminum:  a lot of scrap that never makes its way to consumers

Material stocks are not just residual flows

  • Need more information of inputs – outputs
  • Service that stock provides to society?
  • Quality of stock?
  • Material stock for mansion for 2 people is same as for apartment with 6 units
  • A lot of highly depreciated roads that aren’t maintained is the same as a new fresh highway largely used

Controversial:  measuring our physical wealth

  • Good economists don’t measure wealth in terms of flows (e.g. GDP)
  • There’s assets and liabilities
  • Assets have measured wealth
  • In environment science, do measure flows, and have stocks in land and natural resources — but should add fixed capital stock in cities development, not well-developed

Go to Gordon Research Conference in Vermont, June 2014