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The Second law, the fourth law, recycling and limits to growth

Author: Ayres, Robert U. INSEAD Area: Economics and Political Science Series: Working Paper ; 98/38/EPS/CMER Publisher: Fontainebleau : INSEAD Centre for the Management of Environmental and Social Responsibility (CMER) 1998.Language: EnglishDescription: 13 p.Type of document: INSEAD Working Paper Online Access: Click here Abstract: Despite counter examples in nature, it has been argued that total recycling is impossible for an industrial society as a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics. In this paper, it is shown that there is no such limitation. However, it is also shown that there must be a large stockpile of inactive materias as well as an exogenous source of exergy (eg. from the sun) for a stable steady-state recycling system to function.
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Despite counter examples in nature, it has been argued that total recycling is impossible for an industrial society as a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics. In this paper, it is shown that there is no such limitation. However, it is also shown that there must be a large stockpile of inactive materias as well as an exogenous source of exergy (eg. from the sun) for a stable steady-state recycling system to function.

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