Helga Weisz

Helga Weisz
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research | PIK · Future Lab Social Metabolism & Impacts

Prof. Mag. rer. nat. Dr. phil.

About

75
Publications
35,160
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3,899
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Publications

Publications (75)
Article
Full-text available
Climate change confronts the health care sector with a dual challenge. Accumulating climate impacts are putting an increased burden on the service provision of already stressed health care systems in many regions of the world. At the same time, the Paris agreement requires rapid emission reductions in all sectors of the global economy to stay well...
Article
Full-text available
More than 50% of the global population already lives in urban settlements and urban areas are projected to absorb almost all the global population growth to 2050, amounting to some additional three billion people. Over the next decades the increase in rural population in many developing countries will be overshadowed by population flows to cities....
Article
Full-text available
Major revolutions in energy capture have occurred in both Earth and human history, with each transition resulting in higher energy input, altered material cycles and major consequences for the internal organization of the respective systems. In Earth history, we identify the origin of anoxygenic photosynthesis, the origin of oxygenic photosynthesis...
Article
Full-text available
Access to electricity and modern cooking fuels, especially for women, leads to time savings in the home, improved health and better access to information. These factors increase women’s well-being and enhance their ability to make reproductive choices, which is empirically expressed by falling birth rates. This study provides an international analy...
Article
City-level CO2 emissions inventories are foundational for supporting the EU's decarbonization goals. Inventories are essential for priority setting and for estimating impacts from the decarbonization transition. Here we present a new CO2 emissions inventory for all 116572 municipal and local-government units in Europe, containing 108000 cities at t...
Preprint
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City-level CO2 emissions inventories are foundational for supporting the EU’s decarbonization goals. Inventories are essential for priority setting and for estimating impacts from the decarbonization transition. Here we present a new CO2 emissions inventory for 116,572 municipal and local government units in Europe. The inventory spatially disaggre...
Article
Full-text available
The call for a decent life for all within planetary limits poses a dual challenge: provide all people with the essential resources needed to live well and, collectively, not exceed the source and sink capacity of the biosphere to sustain human societies. We examine the corridor of possible distributions of household energy and carbon footprints tha...
Article
As national efforts to reduce CO2 emissions intensify, policy-makers need increasingly specific, subnational information about the sources of CO2 and the potential reductions and economic implications of different possible policies. This is particularly true in China, a large and economically diverse country that has rapidly industrialized and urba...
Article
Health care is one of the largest and fastest growing service sectors in OECD countries and a significant contributor to climate change. Health care is also indispensable for human well-being. It is therefore crucial to understand how the health care sector can reduce its emissions without undermining its service quality. We break down the carbon e...
Article
Full-text available
Background Health-care services are necessary for sustaining and improving human wellbeing, yet they have an environmental footprint that contributes to environment-related threats to human health. Previous studies have quantified the carbon emissions resulting from health care at a global level. We aimed to provide a global assessment of the wide-...
Article
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Urban activities have profound and lasting effects on the global carbon balance. Here we develop a consistent metabolic approach that combines two complementary carbon accounts, the physical carbon balance and the fossil fuel-derived gaseous carbon footprint, to track carbon coming into, being added to urban stocks, and eventually leaving the city....
Article
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Digitalization coevolves with and fosters three revolutions in urban transport: sharing, electrification and automatization. This dynamic poses severe risks for social and environmental sustainability. Only strong public policies can steer digitalization towards fostering sustainability in urban transport.
Article
Full-text available
As national efforts to reduce CO2 emissions intensify, policy-makers need increasingly specific, subnational information about the sources of CO2 and the potential reductions and economic implications of different possible policies. This is particularly true in China, a large and economically diverse country that has rapidly industrialized and urba...
Book
Full-text available
The way in which societies use and care for natural resources fundamentally shapes the well-being of humanity, the environment and the economy. Better and more efficient use of natural resources can be one of the most costefficient and effective ways to reduce impacts on the environment, while also achieving the socio-economic objectives of interna...
Article
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Cities are economically open systems that depend on goods and services imported from national and global markets to satisfy their material and energy requirements. Greenhouse Gas (GHG) footprints are thus a highly relevant metric for urban climate change mitigation since they not only include direct emissions from urban consumption activities, but...
Chapter
Social Ecology is an interdisciplinary research field rooted in the traditions of both the Social Sciences and Natural Sciences. The common denominator of this research field is not a shared label but a shared paradigm. Related labels that extend beyond Social Ecology include Human Ecology, Industrial Ecology, Ecological Economics and Socioecologic...
Chapter
The metabolism of human society is dynamic; it has undergone major changes during the course of human history, and it is currently in a transition process. Since the time of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers, the amount of materials extracted and used by humans and the associated impact on the environment have grown by several orders of magnitude, and t...
Article
Full-text available
Major revolutions in energy capture have occurred in both Earth and human history, with each transition resulting in higher energy input, altered material cycles and major consequences for the internal organization of the respective systems. In Earth history, we identify the origin of anoxygenic photosynthesis, the origin of oxygenic photosynthesis...
Article
Full-text available
The Institute of Social Ecology (SEC) guide for economy wide material flow accounting (EW-MFA) provides an introduction into accounting principles and practical support for students, statisticians, researchers and all others concerned with material flow accounting. This guide is a revised and modified version of the 2009 draft of the Eurostat MFA c...
Article
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A growing body of literature discusses the CO2 emissions of cities. Still, little is known about emission patterns across density gradients from remote rural places to highly urbanized areas, the drivers behind those emission patterns and the global emissions triggered by consumption in human settlements—referred to here as the carbon footprint. In...
Article
In 2007, imports accounted for approximately 34% of the material input (domestic extraction and imports) into the Austrian economy and almost 60% of the GDP stemmed from exports. Upstream material inputs into the production of traded goods, however, are not yet included in the standard framework of material flow accounting (MFA). We have reviewed d...
Chapter
Full-text available
More than 50% of the global population already lives in urban settlements and urban areas are projected to absorb almost all the global population growth to 2050, amounting to some additional three billion people. Over the next decades the increase in rural population in many developing countries will be overshadowed by population flows to cities....
Article
This article aims to show how evolutionary theory, social-metabolism and sociological systems theory can be utilized to develop a concept of society–nature coevolution. The article begins with a conception of industrialization as a socio-metabolic transition, that is, a major transformation in the energetic and consequently material basis of societ...
Article
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This contribution presents the state of the art of economy‐wide material flow accounting. Starting from a brief recollection of the intellectual and policy history of this approach, we outline system definition, key methodological assumptions, and derived indicators. The next section makes an effort to establish data reliability and uncertainty for...
Article
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A brief historical background to the currently ascending interest in evolutionary and coevolutionary theory is sketched, and the concept of society-nature coevolution is positioned in this broader field. The significance of society-nature coevolutionary pathways for transition to sustainability is highlighted with Schellnhuber's heuristic ' theater...
Article
This contribution presents the state of the art of economy-wide material flow accounting. Starting from a brief recollection of the intellectual and policy history of this approach, we outline system definition, key methodological assumptions, and derived indicators. The next section makes an effort to establish data reliability and uncertainty for...
Article
Full-text available
In the decades to come, the majority of humans will live in urban settings. Consequently, the role of cities in reducing socio-economic material and energy flows is increasingly recognized. We examine the recent literature on urban energy and material use, and their reduction potential, focusing on three aspects: the urban form, the urban building...
Article
In the early 2000s, the industrial ecology com-munity developed a growing interest in applying the tools of economic input–output (I-O) analy-sis to the environmental field. This, as such, was not a novel idea. Leontief, founder of I-O eco-nomics and Nobel prize laureate, set the stage with his seminal article "Environmental reper-cussions and the...
Article
It is not surprising that natural resource use is now on the political agenda, and heatedly The history of resources use, as revealed by current metabolic profiles, has put different world regions on different path dependencies and therefore creates very specific sustainability problems for each region. discussed among the wider public. Pressure po...
Chapter
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Die industrielle Ökologie hat sich bisher vorwiegend als Wissenschaftsfeld verstanden, das sich der Analyse der industriellen Produktionsweise widmet, mit dem Ziele diese in Richtung ökologischer Verträglichkeit zu verändern. Unser Beitrag geht von der überlegung aus, dass sich die industrielle Ökologie ihrem Gegenstand etwas grundsätzlicher nähern...
Article
This article presents an assessment of energy inputs of the European Union (the 15 countries before the 2004 enlargement, abbreviated EU-15) for the period 1970–2001 and the United States for 1980–2000. The data are based on an energy flow analysis (EFA) that evaluates socioeconomic energy flows in a way that is conceptually consistent with current...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we investigate what determines observed differences in economy-wide material use among the EU-15 member states. The empirical basis for our analysis is an extended and revised material flow data set for each of the EU-15 countries in time series from 1970 to 2001. This data set comprises consistent data for domestic extraction, import...
Article
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A recent paper in which embodied land appropriation of exports was calculated using a physical input–output model (Ecological Economics 44 (2003) 137–151) initiated a discussion in this journal concerning the conceptual differences between input–output models using a coefficient matrix based on physical input–output tables (PIOTs) in a single unit...
Article
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Keywords: Energy flow analysis (EFA); Biomass; Human appropriation of NPP (HANPP); Physical economy; Material flow analysis (MFA)., 2006. The energetic metabolism of the EU-15 and the USA. Decadal energy input time-series with an emphasis on biomass. Journal of Industrial Ecology 10(4), 151-171., 2006. The energetic metabolism of the EU-15 and the...
Article
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Sustainability science analyses society–nature interaction on a variety of spatial and temporal scales. By explaining the link between sustainability and socio-economic material and energy flows as well as with colonization of ecosystems, this paper introduces a conceptual framework for empirical applications featured in other contributions to this...
Article
The relationship between land-use induced changes in production ecology and species diversity was analyzed based on a transect of 38 squares (600 m × 600 m) in landscapes of eastern Austria. "Human appropriation of net primary production" (=HANPP = potential NPP − NPP t), actual NPP (NPP act), harvest (NPP h) and NPP t (=NPP act − harvest) were cal...
Article
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Overview This paper introduces an ongoing study of the car-free model housing project in Vienna, Floridsdorf. The purpose of the study is to evaluate whether people living in this settlement have more sustainable lifestyles than people living in comparable buildings in Vienna; to find out what lifestyle aspects make a difference in the environmenta...
Article
We discuss theoretical issues related to sets of sustainability indicators. We propose that sustainable development can only be observed by analyzing the interrelation between socioeconomic and natural systems which have to be conceptualized as autopoietic and interacting systems. In order to be able to observe this interaction process between soci...
Thesis
Die vorliegende Arbeit befasst sich mit dem Verhältnis zwischen Natur und Kultur in einer evolutionstheoretischen Perspektive. Mein theoretischer Ausgangspunkt ist ein sozial-ökologisches Rahmenkonzept, das physische Interaktionen zwischen Gesellschaften und ihrer natürlichen Umwelt in den Mittelpunkt stellt. Der Anspruch dieser sozial-ökologischen...
Article
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Human land use influences important properties of terrestrial ecosystems, such as energy flow, standing crop, and biomass turnover. Human interference with ecological energy flows may be studied by calculating the ``human appropriation of NPP'' (HANPP), defined as the difference between the net primary production (NPP) of potential vegetation and t...
Article
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What do transition processes in rural areas in Thailand, biomass consumption in nineteenth-century Austria and the ecology of hunter-gatherers have to do with the appropriation of plant production and global environmental change? More than one might think of in the first place. They are part of a scholarly discourse on our changing relations with t...
Article
What do transition processes in rural areas in Thailand, biomass consumption in 19th century Austria and the ecology of Hunter-Gatherers have to do with the appropriation of plant production and global environmental change. More than one might think of in the first place. They are part of a scholarly discourse on our changing relations with the env...
Article
Full-text available
This report shows conclusively that the atmosphere is by far the biggest dumping ground for the wastes of industrial economies. Output flows are dominated by the extraction and use of fossil energy resources: when bulky flows like water, soil erosion and earth moving are excluded, carbon dioxide accounts, on average, for 80 percent by weight of mat...
Article
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SOCIETY AS HYBRID BETWEEN MATERIAL AND SYMBOLIC REALMS: TOWARDS A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK OF SOCIETY-NATURE INTERACTION Marina Fischer-Kowalski and Helga Weisz ABSTRACT We approach an understanding of society-nature interactions by proposing an epistemological framework accessible for both natural and social sciences. The framework focuses on the mut...
Chapter
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Im folgenden Beitrag möchten wir den theoretischen Ansatz des Wiener Teams Soziale Ökologie1 beschreiben und auf seine Leistungsfähigkeit abklopfen. Dieser Ansatz geht davon aus, daß „Gesellschaft“ aus dem Zusammenwirken von symbolischen oder kulturellen Systemen (also etwa dem, was Luhmann mit Gesellschaft meint), und materiellen Elementen, zum Be...
Chapter
The Ministry for the Environment has asked our joint institutes, among others, to produce a system of environmental indicators for the physical part of the planned Austrian satellite­system.2 The primary aim is to devise a consistent set for stresses upon the environment exerted by economic activities. In this sense they should be causer-related in...

Projects

Project (1)