Research Topic

Can Better Accounting and Finance Methods Chart a Path Toward a More Sustainable World System?

About this Research Topic

The Problem:

Concerns about urbanization, climate change and the recognition that global fossil fuel resources are finite, provide important motivations for major environmental, economic and societal adjustments in the 21 st century to achieve a more sustainable world. The developed countries of the ...

The Problem:

Concerns about urbanization, climate change and the recognition that global fossil fuel resources are finite, provide important motivations for major environmental, economic and societal adjustments in the 21 st century to achieve a more sustainable world. The developed countries of the world have made progress toward becoming more sustainable by increasing the efficiency of energy use, decreasing reliance on fossil fuel energy and increasing the use of renewable energy inflows for generating electricity. However, people living in some of the world’s less developed countries still suffer from a lack of the basic amenities (e.g., clean water, clean air, adequate infrastructure, sufficient wealth, etc); things that those in the developed world take for granted. The truth is that no matter how successful the current strategies to make urban systems in the developed world more sustainable, the world as a whole will not become more sustainable without a successful effort to bring the state of development of the all countries up to the standards experienced by those in the developed world. Thus, in the long run creating a more sustainable world system will be predicated on the judicious use of some of the world’s remaining fossil fuel resources to strategically develop the urban and rural systems of the world’s less developed countries.

The Opportunity:

The world is emerging from the Great Recession (2008-2013), which was the greatest perturbation in resource use and economic activity since the Great Depression (1929-1939). As a result of the lingering effects of this slow down and the development of new technologies to extract tight oil and shale gas, fossil fuel production exceeds demand, globally, and as a result the price of oil is relatively low. Thus, the fossil fuel energy needed to support further development of the less developed countries is available on the world markets now. What is lacking is a plan and the means to apply this readily useable fossil energy to the task of increasing the quality of development in urban and rural systems throughout the world.

Research Needs:

This Research Topic proposal calls for discussion and research on this problem through full length research papers, review papers, short communications, policy papers, and online discussions that will result in strategies for advancing development of the world’s less developed urban and rural systems. Energy, economic and social restructuring in both the developed and developing countries may be needed to accomplish this end. New economic and noneconomic (e.g., emergy) methods and new approaches (e.g., Confidence accounting and Blockchain technology) for retrospective accounting and forward-looking finance are needed to relate the stocks and flows of energy, material, and information to environmental, economic and social outcomes. Research topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

(1) New accounting and finance theories and methods
(2) Methods to identify nations with acceptable economic, social and environmental returns
on investment
(3) Energy sector restructuring
(4) Economic restructuring
(5) Societal integration needed to prioritize “win – win” opportunities.


Keywords: emergy accounting, international finance, blockchain technology, fossil fuel energy, economics


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

24 April 2017 Manuscript
31 December 2017 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

24 April 2017 Manuscript
31 December 2017 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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