Looking for a Silver Lining: The Possible Positives of Declining Energy Return on Investment (EROI)
Declining energy return on investment (EROI) of a society’s available energy sources can lead to both crisis and opportunity for positive social change. The implications of declining EROI for human wellbeing are complex and open to interpretation. There are many reasons why frugal living and an energy diet could be beneficial. A measure of wellbeing or welfare gained per unit of energy expended (WROEI) is proposed. A threshold is hypothesized for the relation between energy consumption and wellbeing. The paper offers a biophysical-based social science explanation for both the negative and positive possible implications of declining EROI. Two sets of future scenarios based on environmental and economic trends are described. Six types of social change activism are considered essential if the positives of declining EROI are to balance or exceed the negatives.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Max-Neef, Manfred, 1995. "Economic growth and quality of life: a threshold hypothesis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 115-118, November.
- Goodland, Robert, 1997. "Environmental sustainability in agriculture: diet matters," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 189-200, December.
- Niccolucci, Valentina & Pulselli, Federico M. & Tiezzi, Enzo, 2007. "Strengthening the threshold hypothesis: Economic and biophysical limits to growth," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(4), pages 667-672, February.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:3:y:2011:i:11:p:2071-2079:d:14554. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (XML Conversion Team)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.