Articles | Volume 7, issue 2
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-7-353-2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-7-353-2016
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22 Apr 2016
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 22 Apr 2016

Revolutions in energy input and material cycling in Earth history and human history

Timothy M. Lenton, Peter-Paul Pichler, and Helga Weisz

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We identify six past revolutions in energy input and material cycling in Earth and human history. We find that human energy use has now reached a magnitude comparable to the biosphere, and conclude that a prospective sustainability revolution will require scaling up new solar energy technologies and the development of much more efficient material recycling systems. Our work was inspired by recognising the connections between Earth system science and industrial ecology at the "LOOPS" workshop.
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