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Keywords:

  • consumption;
  • industrial ecology;
  • materials flow analysis (MFA);
  • natural resources;
  • resource extraction;
  • sustainable resource use

Summary

This article presents an account of global resource extraction for the year 1999 by material groups, world regions, and development status. The account is based on materials flow analysis methodology and provides benchmark information for political strategies toward sustainable resource management. It shows that currently around 50 thousand megatons of resources are extracted yearly on a global scale, which results in a yearly global average resource use of around 8 tonnes per capita. Assuming further growth in world regions not yet close to the levels of resource use in the industrial cores—such as India or China—numbers could easily double once these parts of the world come to fully incorporate the industrial mode of production and consumption. This article contributes to information on resource use indicators, complementing and enriching information from economic accounting in order to facilitate political measures toward a sustainable use of resources.