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Charles Hall
About / Bio

Charles A.S. Hall is Professor of Biology and of Environmental Science at the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science, in Syracuse. He received his PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill under Dr. H.T. Odum. His fields of interest are Systems Ecology, Energy and Biophysical Economics. Dr. Hall is author, coauthor or editor of ten books and 270 articles, many of which have appeared in Science, Nature, BioScience, American Scientist and other premium journals.
Dr. Hall is a systems ecologist: i.e. one focused on the application of integrative tools of science, including empirical simulation modeling, to the understanding and management of complex systems of nature and of people and nature. He is best known for his development of the concept of EROI, or energy return on investment, which is an examination of how organisms, including humans, invest energy into obtaining additional energy to improve biotic or social fitness. He has applied these approaches to fish migrations, carbon balance, tropical land use change, the extraction of petroleum and other fuels, and the national economies of the United States, Argentina and Costa Rica. This has often been done using integrative geographical modeling of environments and economies, especially in the tropics. Presently he is developing a new field, biophysical economics, as an alternative to conventional neoclassical economics which uses EROI and systems approaches as applied to a broad series of resource and economic issues. His ultimate goal is to develop biophysical economics as an alternative to neoclassical economics, which he believes to be fatally flawed on many levels, and to see it used for teaching real vs fairy tale economics to our young people.


My recent research has focused on the relation between energy use and the operation of the economies of the US and other countires. As part of this work we are examining the energy cost of obtaining petroleum and other primary fuels, as well as of the alternatives, and the implications of changing energy costs of energy for the economy. These considerations are the backbone of our attempts to develop a new approach to economics which we call biophysical economics.