Energetic limits to economic growth

James H. Brown, William R. Burnside, Ana D. Davidson, John R. Delong, William C. Dunn, Marcus J. Hamilton, Norman Mercado-Silva, Jeffrey C. Nekola, Jordan Okie, William H. Woodruff, Wenyun Zuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

114 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The human population and economy have grown exponentially and now have impacts on climate, ecosystem processes, and biodiversity far exceeding those of any other species. Like all organisms, humans are subject to natural laws and are limited by energy and other resources. In this article, we use a macro ecological approach to integrate perspectives of physics, ecology, and economics with an analysis of extensive global data to show how energy imposes fundamental constraints on economic growth and development. We demonstrate a positive scaling relationship between per capita energy use and per capita gross domestic product (GDP) both across nations and within nations over time. Other indicators of socioeconomic status and ecological impactare correlated with energy use and GDP. We estimate global energy consumption for alternative future scenarios of population growth and standards of living. Large amounts of energy will be required to fuel economic growth, increase standards of living, and lift developing nations out of poverty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-26
Number of pages8
JournalBioScience
Volume61
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Economic Development
economic development
Gross Domestic Product
energy
gross domestic product
Population Growth
Biodiversity
Physics
Poverty
Ecology
Climate
Growth and Development
Ethics
Social Class
Developing Countries
Ecosystem
Economics
energy use and consumption
physics
socioeconomic status

Keywords

  • scaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Brown, J. H., Burnside, W. R., Davidson, A. D., Delong, J. R., Dunn, W. C., Hamilton, M. J., ... Zuo, W. (2011). Energetic limits to economic growth. BioScience, 61(1), 19-26. https://doi.org/10.1525/bio.2011.61.1.7

Energetic limits to economic growth. / Brown, James H.; Burnside, William R.; Davidson, Ana D.; Delong, John R.; Dunn, William C.; Hamilton, Marcus J.; Mercado-Silva, Norman; Nekola, Jeffrey C.; Okie, Jordan; Woodruff, William H.; Zuo, Wenyun.

In: BioScience, Vol. 61, No. 1, 01.01.2011, p. 19-26.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Brown, JH, Burnside, WR, Davidson, AD, Delong, JR, Dunn, WC, Hamilton, MJ, Mercado-Silva, N, Nekola, JC, Okie, J, Woodruff, WH & Zuo, W 2011, 'Energetic limits to economic growth', BioScience, vol. 61, no. 1, pp. 19-26. https://doi.org/10.1525/bio.2011.61.1.7
Brown JH, Burnside WR, Davidson AD, Delong JR, Dunn WC, Hamilton MJ et al. Energetic limits to economic growth. BioScience. 2011 Jan 1;61(1):19-26. https://doi.org/10.1525/bio.2011.61.1.7
Brown, James H. ; Burnside, William R. ; Davidson, Ana D. ; Delong, John R. ; Dunn, William C. ; Hamilton, Marcus J. ; Mercado-Silva, Norman ; Nekola, Jeffrey C. ; Okie, Jordan ; Woodruff, William H. ; Zuo, Wenyun. / Energetic limits to economic growth. In: BioScience. 2011 ; Vol. 61, No. 1. pp. 19-26.
@article{48fa8561efdb40428a85df635d40cfbb,
title = "Energetic limits to economic growth",
abstract = "The human population and economy have grown exponentially and now have impacts on climate, ecosystem processes, and biodiversity far exceeding those of any other species. Like all organisms, humans are subject to natural laws and are limited by energy and other resources. In this article, we use a macro ecological approach to integrate perspectives of physics, ecology, and economics with an analysis of extensive global data to show how energy imposes fundamental constraints on economic growth and development. We demonstrate a positive scaling relationship between per capita energy use and per capita gross domestic product (GDP) both across nations and within nations over time. Other indicators of socioeconomic status and ecological impactare correlated with energy use and GDP. We estimate global energy consumption for alternative future scenarios of population growth and standards of living. Large amounts of energy will be required to fuel economic growth, increase standards of living, and lift developing nations out of poverty.",
keywords = "scaling",
author = "Brown, {James H.} and Burnside, {William R.} and Davidson, {Ana D.} and Delong, {John R.} and Dunn, {William C.} and Hamilton, {Marcus J.} and Norman Mercado-Silva and Nekola, {Jeffrey C.} and Jordan Okie and Woodruff, {William H.} and Wenyun Zuo",
year = "2011",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1525/bio.2011.61.1.7",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "61",
pages = "19--26",
journal = "BioScience",
issn = "0006-3568",
publisher = "American Institute of Biological Sciences",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Energetic limits to economic growth

AU - Brown, James H.

AU - Burnside, William R.

AU - Davidson, Ana D.

AU - Delong, John R.

AU - Dunn, William C.

AU - Hamilton, Marcus J.

AU - Mercado-Silva, Norman

AU - Nekola, Jeffrey C.

AU - Okie, Jordan

AU - Woodruff, William H.

AU - Zuo, Wenyun

PY - 2011/1/1

Y1 - 2011/1/1

N2 - The human population and economy have grown exponentially and now have impacts on climate, ecosystem processes, and biodiversity far exceeding those of any other species. Like all organisms, humans are subject to natural laws and are limited by energy and other resources. In this article, we use a macro ecological approach to integrate perspectives of physics, ecology, and economics with an analysis of extensive global data to show how energy imposes fundamental constraints on economic growth and development. We demonstrate a positive scaling relationship between per capita energy use and per capita gross domestic product (GDP) both across nations and within nations over time. Other indicators of socioeconomic status and ecological impactare correlated with energy use and GDP. We estimate global energy consumption for alternative future scenarios of population growth and standards of living. Large amounts of energy will be required to fuel economic growth, increase standards of living, and lift developing nations out of poverty.

AB - The human population and economy have grown exponentially and now have impacts on climate, ecosystem processes, and biodiversity far exceeding those of any other species. Like all organisms, humans are subject to natural laws and are limited by energy and other resources. In this article, we use a macro ecological approach to integrate perspectives of physics, ecology, and economics with an analysis of extensive global data to show how energy imposes fundamental constraints on economic growth and development. We demonstrate a positive scaling relationship between per capita energy use and per capita gross domestic product (GDP) both across nations and within nations over time. Other indicators of socioeconomic status and ecological impactare correlated with energy use and GDP. We estimate global energy consumption for alternative future scenarios of population growth and standards of living. Large amounts of energy will be required to fuel economic growth, increase standards of living, and lift developing nations out of poverty.

KW - scaling

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=79751500366&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=79751500366&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1525/bio.2011.61.1.7

DO - 10.1525/bio.2011.61.1.7

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:79751500366

VL - 61

SP - 19

EP - 26

JO - BioScience

JF - BioScience

SN - 0006-3568

IS - 1

ER -