Title: Material flows, efficiency and decoupling: Latvia's case study

Authors: Janis Brizga

Addresses: Department of Environmental Governance, University of Latvia, Jelgavas iela 1, Riga, Latvia

Abstract: Latvia with its growing economy and intensive use of biomass is one of the biggest per capita natural resource consumers in Europe. If current patterns of resource use are maintained, environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources will continue. This paper looks at the resource flows in Latvia (1995 to 2016) - the country that does not have fossil energy resource deposits and timber industry is an important economic sector contributing most to the direct material input. It analyses the main resource flows, its intensities and looks at the main drivers behind these changes. Results demonstrate that resource extraction and consumption is steadily increasing and are not decoupled from economic growth. However, material productivity in Latvia is still very low. With population gradually decreasing and declining share of the timber industry in the total economic output, the main driving force of resource consumption in Latvia is economic growth.

Keywords: material flows; decoupling; eco-efficiency; bioeconomy; Latvia.

DOI: 10.1504/IJGE.2019.101450

International Journal of Green Economics, 2019 Vol.13 No.1, pp.55 - 67

Received: 16 Oct 2018
Accepted: 06 Jun 2019

Published online: 05 Aug 2019 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article