Australia's Resource Use Trajectories

17 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2011

See all articles by Heinz Schandl

Heinz Schandl

Government of the Commonwealth of Australia - CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)

Franzi Poldy

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Graham Turner

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Thomas G. Measham

Government of the Commonwealth of Australia - CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)

David H. Walker

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Nina Eisenmenger

Alpen Adria University - Institute of Social Ecology

Date Written: October/December 2008

Abstract

Australia's export-oriented large natural resources sectors of agriculture and mining, the ways large-scale services, such as nutrition, water, housing, transport and mobility, and energy are organized, and the consumption patterns of Australia's wealthy urban households, create a unique pattern of overall resource use in Australia. In an attempt to contribute to a new environmental information system compatible with economic accounts, we represent Australia's resource use by employing standard biophysical indicators for resource use developed within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) context. We look at the last 3 decades of resource use and the economic, social, and environmental implications. We also discuss scenarios of future resource use patterns based on a stocks and flows model of the Australian economy. We argue that current extractive economic patterns have contributed to the recent economic boom in Australia but will eventually lead to negative social and environmental outcomes. Although there is currently little evidence of political support for changing the economic focus on export-oriented agriculture and mining industries, there is significant potential for improvements in socio-technological systems and room for more sustainable household consumption.

Keywords: industrial ecology, indicators, material flow analysis (MFA), natural resources, physical accounting, resource productivity

Suggested Citation

Schandl, Heinz and Poldy, Franzi and Turner, Graham and Measham, Thomas G. and Walker, David H. and Eisenmenger, Nina, Australia's Resource Use Trajectories (October/December 2008). Journal of Industrial Ecology, Vol. 12, Issue 5-6, pp. 669-685, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1801063 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1530-9290.2008.00075.x

Heinz Schandl (Contact Author)

Government of the Commonwealth of Australia - CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)

41 Boggo Rd
Dutton Park, Queensland
Australia

Franzi Poldy

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Graham Turner

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Thomas G. Measham

Government of the Commonwealth of Australia - CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)

41 Boggo Rd
Dutton Park, Queensland
Australia

David H. Walker

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Nina Eisenmenger

Alpen Adria University - Institute of Social Ecology ( email )

Schottenfeldgasse 29, A-1070
Vienna
Austria

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