Emergy Accounting

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Discussion

Thomas Abel:

Emergy for a Quantifiable Measure of Self-Organization and Hierarchy, and for Indices for Policy:

"The Odums use a form of quantitative measurement that they have developed called emergy accounting. Emergy stands for ‘energy memory’.

- "In this book we use a new measure—emergy—to evaluate the main inputs, products, and accomplishments of our world on a common basis. It is a special measure of the previous work done to make something" (p.6).

Emergy accounting facilitates the discovery and measurement of the key systems properties referred to above, such as self-organization and hierarchy. At the same time, emergy accounting is useful for judging policy options for descent.

But is emergy just another ecological economic currency, like exergy, carbon credits, or the ecological footprint? The use of emergy as a quantitative measure of value carries with it the entire theoretical framework that has been assembled by HT Odum over his career. This includes his three additional laws of thermodynamics — maximum empower, the hierarchy principle, and the hierarchy of materials (discussed in Part II). This is a big house of cards and not surprisingly many scientists have reservations. Emergy researchers continue to struggle for recognition and acceptance. Time will tell. Without the use of emergy accounting, systems thinking and principles can still lead to needed solutions to our current world dilemmas. Part III of the book, with its many recommendations of essential community and national policy for transition and descent, can be understood with only a rudimentary understanding of emergy as ‘energy memory.’ But a fuller understanding of emergy accounting, it is believed, greatly facilitates comprehension of our past and present, and the creation of policy for the future." (http://prosperouswaydown.com/what-is-special-about-a-prosperous-way-down/)

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