Carbon accounting in the circular municipality

Material flows in different scales

You would expect that material flows would present their own logic for whether they are best handled in your own home or at a global level. Or scales in between. Factors like material density, value and frequency of use and transport would be obvious candidates.

This article focusses on the municipality and looks specifically at the material flows that contain carbon. And we’ll take a practical example: the area called Västra Gästrikland (VG) in the north of Sweden. This is an area comprising three municipalities in cooperation.

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This is why we need a philosophy of the circular economy.

We need a philosophy because we need help and guidance to a way of living that is peaceful with the Earth and coming generations.

Circular economy seems to be a more technical subject – about how we circulate atoms and how the monetary system works with that circulation. We might ask ourselves why have we embarked on describing the philosophy of the circular economy?

The circular economy for us is one of the plausible off-ramps away from material-use expansion and economic growth. It is therefore salient to major changes in our lives coming up. Now: our emotions are highly connected to our beliefs, and hearing about the need to transition away from fossil fuels, and feeling unsure of the future, it is likely that talk of this transition will wake up many emotions.

Read more on Substack.

A carbon accounting model for a carbon crisis

This is the first draft of a carbon accounting model that looks at the world’s forests, and their owners, as one of the mechanisms to increase carbon uptake as one of the strategies to mitigate current levels of carbon in the atmosphere.

We are using the double accounting method Assets, Liabilities and Equity in order to be able to put the model into the minsky software. Minsky is a system dynamics modelling software that easily allows “what if” calculations. The ulterior motive is to help policy makers understand the role of the forest in carbon mitigation. It also aims to connect carbon and money so that policy makers can explore the role of economic instruments to encourage forest owners to participate in the great carbon sequestration needed.

Million tonnes of CO2 equivalent

As you see from the above, net forest carbon absorption is nearly as large as the carbon emitted by consumption abroad. Whilst this is no easy subject, full of complications, it may help policy to have a helicopter view. Note that emissions from burning wood come mostly under industry, biogen, 11.26 million tonnes

This is just a draft, written to encourage systems thinkers and forest ecologists alike to contribute. Note to simplify we use the units of metric tons of carbon throughout.

The diagram above shows the basic concept. One hectare of forest has:

A theoretical maximum C uptake – depending on the percentage of cover. 100% cover gives maximum uptake.

An actual uptake, and reduced uptake and C content after felling.

Note that the forest floor, the soil, contains more carbon than the trees, and felling the trees results in a release of carbon for some ten years until the forest has started to grow back.

Full functionality is achieved, at least in Swedish forests after trees reach 60-70 years. They go on taking up carbon until they reach 200 years old.

In terms of releasing carbon to the air, some 15% of timber harvests is used in building, with a half-life of 30 years.

The rest has a life of about one year before being combusted. This means 85% of the harvested forest ends up as atmospheric carbon the year after.

If we see the shortfall in carbon uptake by the forest as a liability (on humanity) and the actual uptake as equity, we can start to model this in accounting terms.

List of parameters

  • Carbon in forest 110 tonnes per hectare
  • Carbon in forest soil 160 tonnes per hectare
  • Carbon sequestered in mature forest (at least) 1 tonne ha 1 year1 ha
  • Carbon lost 1 tonne ha-1 yr-1

Other input information needed:

  • The area of the property in ha
  • The % forest cover
  • The % forest planned for felling
0.4t ha-1year-1 ha1 t ha−1 year−1 haMature forest stands Carbon uptake tons per hectare /yr
?1.77 t ha−1 year−1 haMature forest soils Carbon uptake tons per hectare /yr
1t ha-14t ha-1Average C emission of felled forest under 10 years, includes soil loss

Can you measure how appropriate your culture is?

Will it support your survival?

Business leaders understand that it is essential that the culture of the corporation fits the market and wider context the corporation operates in.  They also understand how the culture of the corporation needs to adapt and evolve  with the changes in the business environment. Its corporate culture ensures the organisation can thrive. Can one draw a parallel to the development of national culture?

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The sorry state of Swedish Forests

Factual, concise and hard-hitting. This new website from Sweden shows the ACTUAL state of Swedish forests and the almost impossible challenge of preventing total biodiversity loss.

The fact that a large percentage of forests have already been clear-felled means that there is little chance these areas can recover their biodiversity. That just a few percentage of biologically and ecologically valuable forest has protected status has locked endangered species into such a small area reduces the chances of these species spreading.

The site also takes up the carbon sequestration function of Swedish forests and the challenge to have old growth continue to absorb carbon.


Sweden’s strategy to net zero: a look at the numbers

it is deeply instructive to take a look at Swedish numbers to see how they match the vision of Net Zero. An essay:

Sweden wants to be world-leading in the race to net-zero. Or at least that is the rhetoric you can find on official websites. For those interested in having an actual climate-safe future, it is deeply instructive to take a look at the numbers to see how they match the vision.

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Peace and circular economy to be featured in investors in peace newsletter

Investors in Peace has been going as a website, blog and newsletter since 2016.

Today they are announcing that to improve our newsletter service they are going over to Substack. The newsletter is free, although they are planning, later down the line, to introduce a paying service for our more in-depth articles and other services. will be contributing articles primarily on the connection between the circular economy and Peace with the Earth.

Why talk about the business of peace now?

The topic is more apposite than ever: with the whole basis of business being undermined by energy costs, wars going on and politics that seems to have lost its way we believe the one thing to aim for is the one thing that is a real thing: peace.

Peace is not about the way we run things, it’s about who we are. More than the sum of all our business successes and failures put together. More than ever we need to be reminded that in the middle of trying to keep the wheels of production going we need to feel peace.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be publishing highlights from the past eight years and going deeper into the four aspects of the business of business as peace.

Peace with ourselves

Peace with the Earth

Peace with each other

Peace with the future generations

So, look out for new editions of the newsletter, and do check out the website:

As usual you can opt-out at any time by following the unsubscribe links at the bottom of the page.

Workshop: Circle meeting techniques

Since humans started to sit around the campfire, the circle has been the natural way to meet. In the circle we are naturally equal and everyone’s voice is equally important. The circle is also the heart of something more powerful: a social technology that has helped people not only survive but also feel good and develop in equality and close contact; with themselves, nature and each other. Even under difficult conditions.

Many people today feel a concern about the development from a healthy culture to an unhealthy ditto – with exclusion, growing gaps, insecure economy. Some feel powerless.


  • 24 mars 2023 kl 18:00 – 26 mars 2023 kl 15:30
  • Kursgården Lindsberg, Lindsberg 10, 791 91 Falun, Sverige
  • Price: SEK 1580:- to 1780:- depending on accommodation required
  • Language: Swedish
  • BOOKING: Follow this link
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COP15: the two horsemen of the apocalypse

Great view on ESG and COP15 from a Marxists perspective. Thanks to Micheal Roberts for allowing this repost.

Michael Roberts Blog

COP15 started this week in Montreal, Canada. This is the UN’s biodiversity summit. In effect, it is an international meeting to discuss how to cope with and reduce the impact of global warming and environmental destruction on nature. As Carter Roberts, the US head of the World Wildlife Fund, put it: “It’s like two horsemen of the apocalypse — one is climate change and one is nature. They’re wound up with each other.”

“Humanity has become a weapon of mass extinction and governments must end the “orgy of destruction”, the UN secretary general, António Guterres, said at the beginning of the meeting. “We are out of harmony with nature. In fact, we are playing an entirely different song. Around the world, for hundreds of years, we have conducted a cacophony of chaos, played with instruments of destruction. Deforestation and desertification are creating wastelands of once-thriving ecosystems,” he said. “Our land…

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