Figure 5

Diminishing carbon intensity of per capita GDP in the United States, 1800-1988. Carbon intensity is carbon consumed for energy divided by annual GDP in constant 1985 dollars. SOURCE: After Gruebler and Fujii (1991).

reuse from new scrap generated within industry and the success in recycling old scrap recovered from obsolete products such as automobiles. Recycling today accounts for over half the metals consumed in the United States (Figure 6; Rogich, 1993). However, recovery remains below 10 percent for arsenic, barium, chromium, and other biologically harmful metals listed in the Toxic Release Inventory (Allen and Behmanesh, 1994). The difference between annual forest growth and removal of growing stocks offers a simple measure of incremental changes in forest volume.5 For the period 1970-1991, U.S. forests gained an average of over 150 million cubic meters of timber annually, augmenting existing timber volume at an annual rate of about 0.7 percent (United States Department of Agriculture, 1992).

Waste (Emission) Intensities

Waste intensities measure residuals and emissions per unit of output in physical or economic terms. Corporate practice increasingly evaluates the ratio of wastes to total firm output, including products and salable by-products (3M Cor-

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement