EPA Science Inventory

ENVIRONMENTAL ACCOUNTING USING EMERGY: EVALUATION OF THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA

Citation:

CAMPBELL, D. E., S. BRANDT-WILLIAMS, AND M. A. MEISCH. ENVIRONMENTAL ACCOUNTING USING EMERGY: EVALUATION OF THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, (2005).

Description:

Historically, questions related to environmental policy have been difficult to solve, because solutions depend on accurately balancing the needs of both human and natural systems. In addition, there has been no good way to express the socioeconomic and environmental effects of policies in common terms. The USEPA has recognized that a knowledge gap exists in our ability to assess the effects of environmental policies using a comprehensive, integrated approach. Assessment methods that can bridge this gap are needed to address complex issues of environmental policy. Based on past studies, environmental accounting using emergy was identified as a method that had been used by some scientists to bridge the gap. This USEPA Project Report provides a guide to Emergy Analysis methods with particular emphasis on those methods used to characterize a state within the larger context of its region and the nation. An emergy evaluation of the State of West Virginia performed as a case study to illustrate the method. The results of the West Virginia case study provided facts that were used to address several questions that environmental managers asked about this state, when considering policy needs for the state as a whole. Emergy assessment methods for quantifying imports and exports to and from states within the United States were further developed in this study. The Emergy Analysis of West Virginia documented the environmental and economic resource base for the state in common terms (i.e. solar emjoules) and indicators derived from the emergy evaluation were used to examine questions of self-sufficiency, sustainability, the balance of exchange, and quality of life in the state as a whole. The results of this study may be useful to planners and managers who must perform analyses or recommend policy for the State of West Virginia. Also, scientists who need large scale indicators for the state as a context for studies focused on smaller scale systems (watersheds or counties may find the results of this study useful. In addition, the general methods described here can be used to analyze other states within the United States and they may also serve as a starting point for emergy studies of large watersheds and regions.

Purpose/Objective:

To to express the socioeconomic and environmental effects of policies in common terms.

URLs/Downloads:

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 03/01/2005
Completion Date: 12/01/2005
Record Last Revised: 08/07/2006
Record Created: 01/12/2005
Record Released: 01/12/2005
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 114464

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

ATLANTIC ECOLOGY DIVISION

WATERSHED DIAGNOSTICS BRANCH