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India's biophysical economy, 1961–2008. Sustainability in a national and global context

  • Singh, Simron Jit
  • Krausmann, Fridolin
  • Gingrich, Simone
  • Haberl, Helmut
  • Erb, Karl-Heinz
  • Lanz, Peter
  • Martinez-Alier, Joan
  • Temper, Leah
Registered author(s):

    India's economic growth in the last decade has raised several concerns in terms of its present and future resource demands for materials and energy. While per capita resource consumption is still extremely modest but on the rise, its sheer population qualifies India as a fast growing giant with material and energy throughput that is growing rapidly . If such national and local trends continue, the challenges for regional, national as well as global sustainability are immense in terms of future resource availability, social conflicts, pressure on land and ecosystems and atmospheric emissions. Using the concepts of social metabolism and material flow analysis, this paper presents an original study quantifying resource use trajectories for India from 1961 up to 2008. We argue for India's need to grow in order to be able to provide a reasonable material standard of living for its vast population. To this end, the challenge is in avoiding the precarious path so far followed by industrialised countries in Europe and Asia, but to opt for a regime shift towards sustainability in terms of resource use by building on a host of promising examples and taking opportunities of existing niches to make India a trendsetter.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800912000456
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 76 (2012)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 60-69

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:76:y:2012:i:c:p:60-69
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2012.01.022
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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    1. Krausmann, Fridolin & Gingrich, Simone & Eisenmenger, Nina & Erb, Karl-Heinz & Haberl, Helmut & Fischer-Kowalski, Marina, 2009. "Growth in global materials use, GDP and population during the 20th century," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(10), pages 2696-2705, August.
    2. Steinberger, Julia K. & Krausmann, Fridolin & Eisenmenger, Nina, 2010. "Global patterns of materials use: A socioeconomic and geophysical analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(5), pages 1148-1158, March.
    3. Moran, Daniel D. & Wackernagel, Mathis C. & Kitzes, Justin A. & Heumann, Benjamin W. & Phan, Doantam & Goldfinger, Steven H., 2009. "Trading spaces: Calculating embodied Ecological Footprints in international trade using a Product Land Use Matrix (PLUM)," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 1938-1951, May.
    4. Erb, Karl-Heinz & Krausmann, Fridolin & Lucht, Wolfgang & Haberl, Helmut, 2009. "Embodied HANPP: Mapping the spatial disconnect between global biomass production and consumption," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 328-334, December.
    5. Pachauri, Shonali & Jiang, Leiwen, 2008. "The household energy transition in India and China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(11), pages 4022-4035, November.
    6. Ariza-Montobbio, Pere & Lele, Sharachchandra, 2010. "Jatropha plantations for biodiesel in Tamil Nadu, India: Viability, livelihood trade-offs, and latent conflict," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 189-195, December.
    7. Geels, Frank W., 2010. "Ontologies, socio-technical transitions (to sustainability), and the multi-level perspective," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 495-510, May.
    8. Smith, Adrian & Voß, Jan-Peter & Grin, John, 2010. "Innovation studies and sustainability transitions: The allure of the multi-level perspective and its challenges," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 435-448, May.
    9. Desh Gupta, 2008. "India's Lagging Sector: Indian Agriculture in a Globalising Economy," ASARC Working Papers 2008-05, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
    10. Helmut Haberl & Marina Fischer‐Kowalski & Fridolin Krausmann & Joan Martinez‐Alier & Verena Winiwarter, 2011. "A socio‐metabolic transition towards sustainability? Challenges for another Great Transformation," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(1), pages 1-14, January/F.
    11. Krausmann, Fridolin & Erb, Karl-Heinz & Gingrich, Simone & Lauk, Christian & Haberl, Helmut, 2008. "Global patterns of socioeconomic biomass flows in the year 2000: A comprehensive assessment of supply, consumption and constraints," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 471-487, April.
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