Mario Giampietro

Mario Giampietro
Autonomous University of Barcelona | UAB · Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technologies (ICTA)

PhD (Wageningen University)

About

246
Publications
77,110
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8,265
Citations
Citations since 2017
76 Research Items
4269 Citations
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20172018201920202021202220230200400600800

Publications

Publications (246)
Article
Full-text available
I argue that the popularity of the circular bioeconomy concept in policy-making is symptomatic of a profound crisis in sustainability science, which is generated by the adoption of an obsolete scientific paradigm, i.e., obsolete ontologies used to describe our interaction with the external world. The result is a systemic lack of quality control on...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the concerted efforts of the scientific community and politicians to contain greenhouse gas emissions, the CO2 level in the atmosphere continues to increase monotonically. This raises the question whether the scientific representations and related knowledge claims used to inform energy policy have been incomplete or incorrect. Are there alt...
Article
Full-text available
A novel methodology is presented for assessing the performance of the oil sector across multiple scales and dimensions of analysis. It focuses on the potential impact of the growing share of unconventional oils in the crude supply mix on energy security through an analysis of the societal energy metabolism. Applying our method at the global level,...
Article
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We implemented the semantically open conceptual framework ‘Multi-Scale Integrated Analysis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism’ (MuSIASEM) to deal with nexus challenges in agricultural production systems in transboundary river basins, using the Iranian Aras River Basin as a case study. The performance of the agricultural sector was characterized f...
Article
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Residential end-uses represent a significant share of final energy consumption and material stocks. However, approaching sustainability of the residential sector merely as an environmental technical problem is insufficient. Home is the center of daily life providing essential functions to people. Household metabolism is not a matter of the sum of i...
Article
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We show that shortage of human activity may represent an internal constraint to economic growth as relevant as external resource and sink constraints. Human time is required, both inside and outside the market, to produce and consume the goods and services needed to sustain societal metabolism. The time allocation profile is therefore an emergent p...
Article
Full-text available
The “circular bioeconomy” is extensively discussed in science and policy, and its implementation in practice is considered to be a panacea for fixing many current sustainability problems. The circular bioeconomy crucially depends on biological and technical processes capable of recycling nutrients in the right mix, at the right pace, and using only...
Poster
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Poster based on paper: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/346561195_The_international_division_of_labor_and_embodied_working_time_in_trade_for_the_US_the_EU_and_China Most of the objects we consume are products of global production networks, where specific functions and manufacturing processes are performed in each region and a new internatio...
Article
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The paper presents insights from carrying out a pan-EU sustainability assessment using Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) data (the old wine) with societal metabolism accounting (SMA) processes (the new bottles). The SMA was deployed as part of a transdisciplinary study with EU policy stakeholders of how EU policy may need to change to deliver su...
Article
Electric vehicles are a dominant policy solution in the EU. In policy documents, a transition to electric vehicles is justified through promises of a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and oil imports, as well as positive impacts on citizens (through reduced pollution) and the economy (through a boost in manufacturing and the generation of...
Article
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This article presents a relational analysis of the performance of the petroleum sector in the context of climate change mitigation. The oil sector is described as a complex network of transformations carried out by structural and functional elements, exploiting different types of crude oils. Energy carrier requirements and emissions of viable seque...
Chapter
This paper combines an interdisciplinary set of concepts and ideas to explore the interface between complexity science and biosemiotics and to describe the processes of generation of meaning and preservation of identity in complex adaptive systems. The concepts and ideas used include: (i) holons (from hierarchy theory); (ii) the state-pressure rela...
Chapter
In Part 1 of this paper, the metabolic nature of social-economic systems is explored. A general understanding relating the various constituent components of social-economic systems in a relational network is presented and used to posit that social-economic systems are metabolic-repair (M, R) systems of the type explored in relational biology. It is...
Article
Biofuels represent a complex issue in the sustainability discourse as they require the simultaneous consideration of different dimensions and scales of analysis. This situation explains the co-existence of contrasting ‘scientific evidence’ about their performance. This paper presents a novel conceptual framework that integrates four key aspects of...
Article
The absence of sound sampling procedures and statistical analyses to estimate solid waste generation in many developing countries has resulted in incomplete historical records of waste quantity and composition. Data is often arbitrarily aggregated or disaggregated as a function of waste generators to obtain results at the desired spatial level of a...
Article
Full-text available
In sustainability analysis, human time is a crucial and overlooked societal limit. Some core countries overcome their time budgets and preserve their socio-economic structures by using energy and importing working time embodied in products and services. This paper analyses the roles of the United States, the European Union, and China in the interna...
Article
With the expansion of the acceleration of the urbanization process, China experienced a corresponding high demand for energy, which led to significant changes in energy metabolic patterns. The application of the MultiScale Integrated Analysis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism (MuSIASEM) approach facilitates the study of the factors that determin...
Article
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Post-industrial societies heavily rely on the consumption of embodied energy for their activities – i.e., energy invested elsewhere to produce what is imported and consumed (or re-exported). The openness of the energy sector poses modelling challenges, calling for multi-scale, integrated analytical frames. We propose a methodology grounded in socie...
Article
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This paper seeks to clarify the confusion created by the simultaneous use of non-equivalent policy discourses about biofuels within the EU and addresses the inconsistency between long-term goals and short-term targets. To this purpose, a novel approach, quantitative storytelling, is employed to examine the plausibility of current policy narratives....
Article
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A novel method based on relational analysis is presented for assessing the performance of conventional oil exploitation and its environmental implications, with a focus on the energy-water nexus. It considers the energy system as a metabolic network and integrates various factors relevant for technical, economic and environmental processes, thus av...
Article
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This paper presents a multiscale integrated analysis comparing changes in the energy metabolic pattern of China and the European Union between 2000 and 2016. The MuSIASEM method is used to explore and illustrate the entanglement over different factors, across dimensions and levels of analysis. Demographic factors observed at the level of the whole...
Article
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Considering the existing world population, set of environmental impacts, and predicted changes in dietary trends, one can expect that, in the coming decades, food security will remain high on the list of sustainability concerns. In relation to this challenge, Europe's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) must address a diverse set of goals: (i) guarant...
Article
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In the European Union, national-scope efforts to protect local ecosystem services are greatly helped by the externalization of agricultural production. Domestic environmental pressures such as pesticide residue, fertilizer leakage and waterbody overdraft would all significantly increase if European agricultural production were to be re-localized. T...
Article
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This paper explores the implications of the widespread success of the term circular economy in the institutional and public debate. The concept of circular economy in itself implies a logical contradiction: on the one hand, the concept acknowledges the dependence of the economy on biophysical flows; on the other hand, the proposed solution—a busine...
Preprint
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Pandemias pós-normais amazonialatitude.com/2020/05/15/pandemias-pos-normais/ Condução da crise do Covid-19 evidencia necessidade de uma nova abordagem científica [RESUMO] Ao abordar as pandemias em contextos locais, a ciência nunca pareceu tão necessária e útil e, ao mesmo tempo, limitada e impotente. O contrato existente entre a ciência e a soci...
Article
Developing economies largely rely on imported consumer goods from the manufacturing industries of industrialized economies through free-trade agreements. After consumption, goods end-up in local waste streams and landfilled because of poorly developed waste management systems. This paper proposes a methodology to extend responsibility to exporting...
Article
Small islands are vulnerable to climate change, and at the same time contribute to local and global environmental problems with the intensification of tourist activities. Whereas there are many studies on the resource requirements or environmental impacts of small islands, there are few efforts to integrate information that is often analysed separa...
Article
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Nell'affrontare le pandemie, la scienza non è mai apparsa più necessaria e utile, anche se al contempo limitata e impotente. L'attuale patto tra scienza e socie-tà sta cadendo a pezzi. È necessaria urgentemente una nuova alleanza per affrontare i giorni a venire. https://www.recentiprogressi.it/articoli.php?archivio=yes&vol_id=3347&id=33181 In ad...
Preprint
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Face aux pandémies passées et actuelle, notre besoin et l’utilité de la science s’affirment comme jamais, alors même que nos connaissances et capacités paraissent si insuffisantes. Le « contrat » entre science et société a besoin d’être renouvelé. Une nouvelle entente sur les rôles et les bons usages de la science devient prioritaire afin d’anticip...
Preprint
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Para enfrentar la pandemia, la ciencia nunca ha parecido más necesaria y útil, y a la vez más limitada e impotente. El contrato existente entre la ciencia y la so-ciedad se está desmoronando. Se necesita con urgencia un nuevo acuerdo para navegar el futuro próximo. Autores: David Waltner-Toews, Annibale Biggeri, Bruna De Marchi, Silvio Funtowicz,...
Preprint
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In addressing the local pandemics science has never seemed more needed and useful, while at the same time limited and powerless. The existing contract between science and society is falling apart. A new covenant is urgently needed to navigate the days ahead. Co-authors: © David Waltner-Toews, Annibale Biggeri, Bruna De Marchi, Silvio Funtowicz, Mar...
Article
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How to tackle uncertainties and ensure quality in integrated assessment for sustainability? To what extent does the choice of the methodology condition the narrative produced by the analysis? The present work argues that the two questions are tightly coupled. The technique is never neutral. If we are the tools of our tools, as suggested by Thoreau,...
Article
Existing studies have studied influencing factors of MSW generation behaviour at different spatial levels of organization, but always one at a time and not simultaneously. Income is a strong influencing factor, affecting MSW generation from the individual to the country level, capable of hiding the effects of the others. This study shows that when...
Article
This paper studies landfill emissions and the related environmental and health risks in Panama City, with the aim to sensitize the population about the harmful effects of irresponsible resource consumption and non-deliberate solid waste generation that it is disposed of in an uncontrolled manner in landfills. Empirical data on Cerro Patacón, Panama...
Article
Full-text available
The strategy of energy efficiency to save energy is deceptively simple: the idea is to use less input for the highest amount of useful output. However, on a practical and conceptual level, efficiency is an ambiguous and problematic concept to implement. Of particular concern is the lack of contextual and qualitative information provided in energy e...
Article
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The steady increase in production volume of salmon aquaculture has sharpened concerns about its sustainability. In particular the production of salmon feed is a reason for concern given its reliance on scarce natural resources, such as wild fish captures. Multi-scale integrated analysis is put forward as a tool to anticipate the environmental and s...
Article
We offer an interpretation of the concept of integrity and quality of science, based on semiotics. We argue that science can be seen the part of a semiotic process, in charge of making useful representations of relevant events. In turn the semiotic process then tests the usefulness these representations in an impredicative way. The preservation of...
Article
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This paper presents an innovative approach to the responsible use of quantitative analysis when dealing with the governance of sustainability. Rather than using complicated models which try to predict and control the future evolution of complex adaptive systems, quantitative story-telling is proposed to check, first of all, the plausibility of prop...
Article
Full-text available
This paper explores the existing confusion around the conceptual definitions and interpretations of the term circular bioeconomy. The co-existence of diametrically opposite interpretations of the concept indicates lack of a serious discussion of its theoretical foundations. Two narratives on circular bioeconomy are explored in depth: (i) the new ec...
Article
Full-text available
The notion of circular economy has attracted increased attention in recent years. A set of common denominators of circular economy is identified. Then, four questions are raised to show that the ideas of a circular economy cannot be untenable: (i) is there any fundamental difference between the framework of circular economy and the neoclassical sta...
Article
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While a large number of descriptive studies have delineated the interlinkages between water, food and energy resources in the last decade, there is still need for systematic conceptualization of resource nexus interconnections. This paper proposes a theory of relational analysis of the nexus based on the analytical concept of nexus networks. A taxo...
Article
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Desalination is increasingly put forward as a sustainable local solution to water scarcity in combination with the exploitation of renewable energy sources. However, the complexity of the resource nexus entails the unavoidable existence of pros and cons across its various dimensions that can only be assessed at different scales of analysis. In turn...
Conference Paper
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Energy intensity and resource productivity are widespread indicators of energy and material intensity in European institutions. However, they present important flaws when used to characterize the factors affecting the energy and material performance of an economy: they neglect the effects of the openness and differences in the structure of the econ...
Article
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From a biophysical perspective, energy is central to the behaviour of social-ecological systems. Its ubiquity means that energy is entangled with nexus elements, including water, land, emissions and labour. At the science-policy interface, large market-oriented energy models dominate as the tool to inform decision-making. The outputs of these model...
Article
Georgescu-Roegen used the term bioeconomy to refer to a radical ecological perspective on economics he developed in the 1970s and 1980s. In recent years, it has also become a buzzword used by public institutions to announce and describe a supposed current economic and ecological transition. We see in this use an attempt of semantic hijacking of the...
Article
Full-text available
The extreme degree of openness of contemporary urban systems with regard to both economy and population creates a serious challenge for the study of urban energy metabolism. A novel tool based on Multi-Scale Integrated Analysis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism (MuSIASEM) is proposed to overcome these challenges. It consists of an end-use matrix...
Article
The global energy system is highly dependent on fossil fuels, which covered approximately 90% of primary energy sources in 2016. As the quality and quantity of oil extracted changes, in response to changes in end uses and in response to biophysical limitations, it is important to understand the metabolism of oil extraction-i.e. the relation between...
Article
Full-text available
In light of climate change and security concerns, decarbonisation has become a priority for industrialised countries. In the European Union (EU), decarbonisation scenarios used to support decision-making predict a steady decrease in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, mostly driven by changes in production mixes and improvements in efficiency. In the E...
Article
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Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in the resource nexus. This has created the co-existence of different understandings and uses of the concept. In this regard, experiences in the EU H2020 project ‘Moving towards adaptive governance in complexity: Informing nexus security’ are consistent with findings reported in the literature: (i) Th...
Article
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Within the context of the controversial use of the concept energy intensity to assess national energy performance, this paper proposes an innovative accounting framework: the energy end-use matrix. This tool integrates quantitative assessments of energy use of the various constituent compartments of socio-economic systems. More specifically it iden...
Article
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This paper draws attention to the potential cause of "the tragedy of the commons", which locks people into economic systems that compel the pursuit of self-interest and eventually bring ruin to all. The potential cause consists in numerous issues of money and money equivalents that defy the first and the second law of thermodynamics under the legal...
Chapter
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Chapter 3 provides an overview of the diversity of agriculture and food systems, each with different contributions to global food security, impacts on the natural resource base and ways of working through food system supply chains. We describe “eco-agri-food systems” and further identify their many manifestations through a review of typologies. We...
Article
This paper describes a novel tool-kit to analyze energy systems in relation to the bio-economic and environmental performance of society. It is illustrated with data from the oil and gas sector of Mexico. The approach combines relational analysis (as developed in theoretical biology) and Multi-Scale Integrated Assessment of Societal and Ecosystem M...
Article
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The term “Jevons Paradox” flags the need to consider the different hierarchical scales at which a system under analysis changes its identity in response to an innovation. Accordingly, an analysis of the implications of the Jevons Paradox must abandon the realm of reductionism and deal with the complexity inherent in the issue of sustainability: whe...
Article
Purpose This paper aims to present a new master’s programme for promoting energy access and energy efficiency in Southern Africa. Design/methodology/approach A transdisciplinary approach called “participatory integrated assessment of energy systems” (PARTICIPIA) was used for the development of the curriculum. This approach is based on the two em...
Book
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In the last decades, taking advantage of the ecomodernist approach to nature conservation and sustainability (the so-called “new conservation”), the ecosystem services have become enormously popular. One controversial aspect, accompanying the raise of this approach, is the monetary valuation of ecosystems and ecosystem services based on an instrume...
Article
Full-text available
We propose and illustrate a multi-scale integrated analysis of societal and ecosystem metabolism (MuSIASEM) as a tool to bring nexus thinking into practice. MuSIASEM studies the relations over the structural and functional components of social-ecological systems that determine the entanglement of water, energy, and food flows in a complex metabolic...
Technical Report
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This deliverable illustrates the analytical framework developed and used in MAGIC, that is, Quantitative Story-Telling (QST) based on the accounting method Multi-Scale Integrated Analysis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism (MuSIASEM). The various documents composing this deliverable are intended for use both within the consortium and beyond. As r...
Conference Paper
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We examine the oil & gas sector of Mexico with a novel approach based on MuSIASEM. The metabolic pattern of the energy system is described as a sequential pathway of different functional elements (e.g., extraction, refining, transportation), each of which is made up of different structural elements (e.g. plants adopting different extraction techniq...
Article
Naples has experienced serious waste mismanagement during the last several decades. Illegal waste trafficking, the lack of an appropriate municipal solid waste management plan, and the subsidizing of energy generation from indiscriminate waste incineration generated social unrest and an unremitting paralysis of waste services throughout much of the...
Article
This paper assesses the conceptualizations and analytical uses of complexity. Throughout the paper, we carefully eschew ontological issues, and sort out the epistemology of complexity. We try to explain why the ontology of complexity makes no sense to us, much like significance is neither material nor ontological. Our tool of choice is levels of an...
Article
Full-text available
The March for Science that took place in cities around the world on April 22 was intended to “speak for science”, defending evidence-based policies, the strength of peer-reviewed facts and government-funded research. The marches reflect a growing trend. In February 2017, the text Ethics & Principles for Science & Society Policy-Making, known as th...
Chapter
The transition from fossil fuel to renewable resources is more difficult than it at first appears. It is not just a pressing issue of policy and governance; it is a special case of a whole raft of problems that press contemporary society in transition. The trap is that fossil fuel and renewables both are matters of energy in the service of human so...
Article
The March for Science that took place in cities around the world on April 22 was intended to “speak for science”, defending evidence-based policies, the strength of peer-reviewed facts and government-funded research. The marches reflect a growing trend. In February 2017, the text Ethics & Principles for Science & Society Policy-Making, known as th...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Deliverable 4.2 is the second deliverable produced in the activities of Workpackage 4. In the previous deliverable (D4.1) we provided an analysis of the problematic use of concept of efficiency for characterizing the performance of the economic process. In D4.1 we suggested innovative solutions based on the concept of the multi-scale analysis of th...
Article
This paper proposes an approach to environmental accounting useful for studying the feasibility of socioeconomic systems in relation to the external constraints posed by ecological compatibility. The approach is based on a multi-scale analysis of the metabolic pattern of ecosystems and societies and it provides an integrated characterization of the...
Article
Full-text available
The present crisis of science's governance, affecting science's reproducibility, scientific peer review and science's integrity, offers a chance to reconsider evidence based policy as it is being practiced at present.Current evidence based policy exercises entail forms of quantification - often in the form of risk analysis or cost benefit analyses...