Growth in global materials use, GDP and population during the 20th century

The growing industrial metabolism is a major driver of global environmental change. We present an assessment of the global use of materials since the beginning of the 20th century based on the conceptual and methodological principles of material flow accounting (MFA). On the grounds of published statistical data, data compilations and estimation procedures for material flows not covered by international statistical sources, we compiled a quantitative estimate of annual global extraction of biomass, fossil energy carriers, metal ores, industrial minerals and construction minerals for the period 1900 to 2005. This period covers important phases of global industrialisation and economic growth.