EMERGY Methods: Valuable Integrated Assessment Tools
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EMERGY Methods: Valuable Integrated Assessment Tools (1 pp, 4.4 MB, about PDF)Sherry Brandt-Williams, Dan Campbell and Tingting Cai
USEPA, Office of Research and Development, National Health and Environmental Effect Research Laboratory, Atlantic Ecology Division
EMERGY methods: evaluating environmental impacts and policies
- Systems approach – incorporates network of environmental interactions
- Provides quantitative perspective on environmental costs and benefits using a common unit of measure, the solar emjoule (SEJ)
- Calculated by summing all of the energy and materials required to produce a given quantity of a product or service after converting to SEJs
- Can be applied to any item or process in any system, natural or economic
Three AED projects in progress
- Using methods modeled on financial accounting and bookkeeping to evaluate environmental assets and liabilities for different systems, e.g. states in the U.S.
- Developing spatial emergy based watershed/landscape indices to support Clean Water Act reporting and to assess location and action of contributing factors
- Demonstrating similarities and differences between emergy and economic cost/benefit evaluations
To view the entire poster as a PDF file, click on the title or miniature picture of the poster
For other emergy and systems-related research, see Ecological Benefits of Restoration: Emergy-based Valuation
- Sound environmental decisions require an integrated, systemic method of valuation for ecological benefits that are poorly signaled by market-based methods.
- Four small streams in West Virginia, USA, that are impaired by acid mine drainage were selected to assess the potential of emergy analyses to provide more realistic measures of ecological benefits from water quality restoration.
- Preliminary results indicate greatest benefits from fishing and wildlife watching in terms of the emergy contributions of the stream systems to the socioeconomic system. Fish biodiversity provides the greatest ecological benefit from restoration in the form of an emergy accumulation within the streams.
- Ranking of restoration options for these streams will require additional emergy analyses of costs and of less direct benefits.