>The energy accounting model pioneered by Odum is reductionist to the point
Since Odum was a pioneer (1971-1977), the initial ideas obviously
could be improved. To criticize full-cost energy accounting today,
you'd have to refer to more recent approaches, not the first that was
>of not really being very useful. Not only does it reduce agricultural
>production to the single dimension of energy flow, as I mentioned in my
It is useful enough to show problems missed by monetary measures,
which - especially in the form of price - is an even less useful
indicator of the true costs of food products. Of course, energy
content also has the limitations of all single-dimensional measures
such as money. (Elsewhere, some people have actually suggested energy
content as substitute monetary measure).
>(joules). In other words, the energy value of a kilogram of corn is
>determined by burning the corn and seeing how much the heat generated will
>raise the temperature of water. A liter of gasoline is subjected to the
That may have been how Odum did it initially, but it does not prevent
others from using as measure the useful calories available to an
organism from corn when it is actually consumed by the organism. I
would imagine variations of food energy accounting systems would use
this (although I have no access to recent literature) or some improved
approach. I've seen Agricultural Energetics by Fluck and Baird, 1980.
>Pimentel et al. 1973 article cited previously) but as a meaningful measure
>of anything having to do with sustainability, or even the bioenergetic
>aspects of agriculture, I think it's pretty irrelevant.
Of course it is very relevant. It shows how absurd very often prices
(monetary measure) are in monitoring true cost.
>same. In other words, the classic energy accounting approach is too clumsy
>to really get at issues of quality in biological systems.
>These comments jive with Dale's more general comment: "Different forms of
>energy (tractor vs fuel vs produce) have different environmental and
>economic values and impacts that cannot be captured in megajoules"
If it is clumsy (any one-dimensional indicator of quality is never
enough), it is still a big improvement over the present practice of
To Unsubscribe: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command
"unsubscribe sanet-mg". If you receive the digest format, use the command
To Subscribe to Digest: Email email@example.com with the command
All messages to sanet-mg are archived at:
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Jul 03 2000 - 12:00:36 EDT