Digital Frukost - The circular economy: thermodynamic impossibilities and public policy

20 September 2019
Circular economy
Thermodynamics
EU Policies
Imaginaries
Zora Kovacic

The idea of a circular economy has been embraced by the European Commission. What does it mean and is it feasible?

Zora Kovacic, post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities, presented the content of the forthcoming book "The Circular Economy in Europe - Critical Perspectives on Policies and Imaginaries" at the seminar series Digital Frukost at the University of Bergen on September 20th, 2019. Digital Frukost is an open breakfast seminar series focusing on research activities at the interface between the biological sciences and that of mathematics, computer science, physics, engineering or social sciences. 

Abstract of the presentation:

In 2013, the idea of a “circular economy” entered the stage of European policy-making in the efforts to reconcile environmental and economic policy objectives. In 2019, the European Commission declared in a press release that the Circular Economy Action Plan has been delivered. The level of circularity of the European economy, however, has remained the same. This presentation describes and discusses how circularity is conceived, imagined and enacted in current EU policy-making. In the biophysical sense, it is thermodynamically impossible to “close the loop” so that all resources are fully re-used and no new natural resources are needed. How, then, should one understand the concept of the circular economy? What kinds of circularity are currently in the making, and why do they seem to gain political support? 

The PDF version of the presentation can be downloaded below. 

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Document Language: 
English