Emergy Systems conference January 2023

A presentation was given on “A Comparison of Emergy, Exergy, Entropy and Carbon Accounting: Histories, Definitions, Methodologies, Significance and Synergies” to the Emergy Synthesis 11 conference at the University of Florida in January 2023

Abstract: This paper identifies, compares and discusses various forms of energy accounting. Emergy, Exergy, and Entropy and Accounting are each a type of energy accounting. Carbon Accounting is a proxy for energy accounting in that it often accounts for particular forms of energy, such as the use of fossil fuels. All four of these types are considered and analyzed. Energy accounting efforts have taken place since the early 20th century. Government and industry actors have tracked energy reserves and usage for purposes of strategy, distribution and taxation. Ecologists have tracked emergy for several decades, developing increasingly sophisticated methodologies. Physical scientists, engineers and supporting activists created a North American exergy survey beginning in the 1910s and revisited this effort at Columbia University during the Great Depression. Entropy accounting has been discussed for use for socio-economic, environmental and historical analysis, including in the World Systems community. Carbon accounting gained popularity in the early 2000s during concern about global warming and climate change. These are all different communities who don’t communicate much to each other. This project is intended to act, in a small way, as a “Rosetta Stone” between these communities. A history of the development, definitions and uses of each methodology are provided. An analysis of the significance of each accounting type is presented. Synergies between the forms are discussed.

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Emergy Society 2023 conference participants


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