Edgar Hertwich lectures and researches life-cycle assessment, sustainable production and consumption, trade and environment, and risk analysis. He has co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, and has led multiple IRP reports.

Edgar Hertwich’s research addresses sustainable production and consumption, the circular economy, trade and environment, and the environmental impacts of energy systems. He has co-authored more than 150 peer-reviewed journal articles, and has led multiple IRP reports. He is the International Chair of Industrial Ecology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and serves as a Member of the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change.

Edgar Hertwich has  pioneered the quantification of environmental footprints tracing the connection between resource extraction, production, trade, and consumption using multiregional input-output models. In addition, he has worked on understanding the environmental impacts of energy systems using life cycle assessment, often in combination with energy systems models. Currently, he seeks to understand possible sustainable development pathways, taking into account economic, technological, and physical dynamics shaping development and its impacts on ecosystems, health, and natural resources. Professor Hertwich teaching courses in industrial ecology and input-output analysis.

 Professor Hertwich has lead the development of three IRP reports: Resource Efficiency and Climate Change (2019),  Green Energy Choices (2016) and Priority Products and Materials (2009). In addition, he has served as a co-author of the reports on Resource Efficiency for Sustainable Development (2019), Resource Efficiency (2017) and Green Technology Choices (2017). The work for the IRP lead to the development of the THEMIS and ODYM-RECC models. Currently, Edgar Hertwich is working on a regional study on material efficiency in the building and construction sectors of Argentina, Indonesia, and Mexico. The study aims to contextualize the modelling and policy analysis of the IRP report on Resource Efficiency and Climate Change in these countries.

In addition, he has served as a lead author of the energy chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) 5th assessment report and a lead author of UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report (2019). 

He has served as president of the International Society for Industrial Ecology (2017-18) and as professor for Industrial Sustainability at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (2015-19). He is a member of the editorial board of Environmental Science & Technology, the Journal of Industrial Ecology, and the Journal of Economic Structures.  Hertwich grew up in Austria. He earned a PhD in energy and resources from the University of California, Berkeley, in the USA.

Selected Publications

E Hertwich, Increased carbon footprint of materials production driven by rise in investments. Nature Geoscience 14, 151-155, 2021

Stefan Pauliuk, Niko Heeren, Peter Berrill, Tomer Fishman, Andrea Nistad, Qingshi Tu, Paul Wolfram, Edgar G Hertwich, Global scenarios of resource and emission savings from material efficiency in residential buildings and cars. Nature Communications 12, 1-10, 2021

Berrill, P., Miller, T. R., Kondo, Y., & Hertwich, E. G. (2019). Capital in the American carbon, energy, and material footprint. Journal of Industrial Ecology, jiec.12953. https://doi.org/10.1111/jiec.12953

Hertwich, E. G. (2020). Carbon fueling complex global value chains tripled in the period 1995–2012. Energy Economics, 86, 104651. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eneco.2019.104651

Hertwich, E. G., Ali, S., Ciacci, L., Fishman, T., Heeren, N., Masanet, E., Asghari, F. N., Olivetti, E., Pauliuk, S., Tu, Q., & Wolfram, P. (2019). Material efficiency strategies to reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with buildings, vehicles, and electronics—A review. Environmental Research Letters, 14(4), 043004. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab0fe3

Hertwich, E. G., Gibon, T., Bouman, E. A., Arvesen, A., Suh, S., Heath, G. A., Bergesen, J. D., Ramirez, A., Vega, M. I., & Shi, L. (2014). Integrated life-cycle assessment of electricity-supply scenarios confirms global environmental benefit of low-carbon technologies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 120, 6277–6282. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1312753111

Ivanova, D., Vita, G., Wood, R., Lausselet, C., Dumitru, A., Krause, K., Macsinga, I., & Hertwich, E. G. (2018). Carbon mitigation in domains of high consumer lock-in. Global Environmental Change, 52, 117–130. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2018.06.006

Luderer, G., Pehl, M., Arvesen, A., Gibon, T., Bodirsky, B. L., de Boer, H. S., Fricko, O., Hejazi, M., Humpenöder, F., Iyer, G., Mima, S., Mouratiadou, I., Pietzcker, R. C., Popp, A., van den Berg, M., van Vuuren, D., & Hertwich, E. G. (2019). Environmental co-benefits and adverse side-effects of alternative power sector decarbonization strategies. Nature Communications, 10(1), 5229. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-13067-8

Pauliuk, S., Fishman, T., Heeren, N., Berrill, P., Tu, Q., Wolfram, P., & Hertwich, E. G. (2020). Linking Service Provision to Material Cycles – A New Framework for Studying the Resource Efficiency-Climate Change Nexus (RECC). https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/7ubrp

Wolfram, P., & Hertwich, E. (2019). Representing vehicle-technological opportunities in integrated energy modeling. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 73, 76–86. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trd.2019.06.006

Zheng, X., Wang, R., Wood, R., Wang, C., & Hertwich, E. G. (2018). High sensitivity of metal footprint to national GDP in part explained by capital formation. Nature Geoscience, 11(4), 269–273. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-018-0091-y


IRP Webinar: Green Energy Choices an Environmental Assessment of Low Carbon Electricity, 2016, Yale Center for Business and the Environment

Edgar Hertwich talks about renewable energy and climate change, 2014, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

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Contributed to the following reports