Sustainability 2011, 3(11), 2071-2079; doi:10.3390/su3112071
Article

Looking for a Silver Lining: The Possible Positives of Declining Energy Return on Investment (EROI)

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Received: 3 February 2011; in revised form: 28 April 2011 / Accepted: 13 June 2011 / Published: 26 October 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Studies in EROI (Energy Return on Investment))
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: Declining energy return on investment (EROI) of a society’s available energy sources can lead to both crisis and opportunity for positive social change. The implications of declining EROI for human wellbeing are complex and open to interpretation. There are many reasons why frugal living and an energy diet could be beneficial. A measure of wellbeing or welfare gained per unit of energy expended (WROEI) is proposed. A threshold is hypothesized for the relation between energy consumption and wellbeing. The paper offers a biophysical-based social science explanation for both the negative and positive possible implications of declining EROI. Two sets of future scenarios based on environmental and economic trends are described. Six types of social change activism are considered essential if the positives of declining EROI are to balance or exceed the negatives.
Keywords: energy; EROI; human wellbeing; thresholds; degrowth; scenarios; social change
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MDPI and ACS Style

Manno, J.P. Looking for a Silver Lining: The Possible Positives of Declining Energy Return on Investment (EROI). Sustainability 2011, 3, 2071-2079.

AMA Style

Manno JP. Looking for a Silver Lining: The Possible Positives of Declining Energy Return on Investment (EROI). Sustainability. 2011; 3(11):2071-2079.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Manno, Jack P. 2011. "Looking for a Silver Lining: The Possible Positives of Declining Energy Return on Investment (EROI)." Sustainability 3, no. 11: 2071-2079.

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