A sustainable scale of use regarding the capacity to absorb greenhouse gases was defined 33 based on ecological criteria; then the distribution of the use of this capacity among signatory countries was established based on criteria considered fair emission reduction based on the contribution of each country ; and finally the allocation of investments was left to the carbon market, with the addition of the ingenious Clean Development Mechanism CDM.
Regarding the second action plan - stabilization of the level of heat and waste emissions in developed countries, which implies stopping economic growth zero growth - the problem is how to do it without generating a socioeconomic crisis to be discussed in a coming section. In the case of developing countries, economic growth is essential to eliminate poverty and inequality.
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For those, policies like the ones advocated by UNEP and by eco-developmentalists in general are the ones that should be implemented. Final Remarks: steady state and welfare. The debate about zero growth or even degrowth 36 has gained momentum in recent years. Specifically, it is about tackling, for example, the problem of employment, of inequality and of incentive to technological innovation. The legitimacy for the implementation of these policies depends on the solution of the second problem, the one regarding consumer expectations that give legitimacy to the opposing, growth incentive policies.
One must not lose sight of the fact that the emergence of mass consumer societies was unprecedented in human history and released the great mass of the population from the oppression of poverty. It was the result of a process of sustained economic growth. However, this necessary legitimizing altruism of zero growth policies may be enhanced by the growing realization that the current level of material comfort is more than enough, and that continuing growth efforts will produce more harm than good. The curve of marginal disutility is increasing because it reflects the negative effects of economic growth on well-being, including the effect of environmental degradation and other risk factors, as well as the increase in social entropy.
As the current generation starts from an already high level of material comfort, increased incomes and the consequent increase in consumption would result in a utility gain lower than that obtained by the previous generation.
Actually, it was found that this gain tended to be null! Surveys of the sense of happiness of the population conducted in the United States on a regular basis by polling firms like Gallup and the National Opinion Research Center show that income growth had not been accompanied by an increase in the happiness of people as they perceived it. The first case is not surprising, to some extent, since stepping out of poverty and having increased access to goods and services is always a source of relief and satisfaction. According to Abramovitz , this fact could be explained by a set of psycho-cultural reasons, of which one of the most important would be the fact that the satisfaction each individual gets by increasing his consumption capacity is related to the consumption capacity of his fellow citizens; that is, if income increases for society as a whole, the perception of increased consumption capacity vanishes.
Sustained growth understood as a long-term growth process that results from a virtuous cycle of savings and investment that increases employment and income, which, in turn, expand opportunities for new investments. The modeling performed was a system dynamics that had just been developed by Jay Forrester. A simulation based on system dynamics is essential if we want to know, for example, what happens in a given system when the flow of input or output of an exogenous source of energy or matter increases or decreases. This was precisely the weakness of the model, because the technological variable implies the possibility of relative magnification of the system Planet Earth under analysis.
Economic growth would tend to improve income distribution by increasing scarcity and labor productivity, as it would have been observed historically in developed countries - the Kuznets Curve. With the perhaps single exception of Furtado in The myth of economic development. For Furtado, the conclusion of the Club of Rome report would be proof that economic development was not for everyone, though in his analytical scheme, exclusion mechanisms are not directly related to environmental issues.
Moral in the sense that no growth would ultimately mean a return to barbarism. Environmental limits to growth, as hopefully and poorly argued by Friedman, could be overcome by technical progress. Note the difference in the position of the Marxist and structuralist currents: the liability is more for situations created by the colonial past, which have become endogenous, and less for active exogenous mechanisms embedded in international relations between center and periphery that benefit the first. In the first report, the conclusion was that if the observed trends - in relation to the increase in world population, industrialization, pollution, use of natural resources etc.
In the second, the conclusion is even more extreme, in that the rates of use of many essential resources and of generation of various types of pollution would have already exceeded the rates that would be physically sustainable. And the remedy as well, because it will not only be necessary to achieve zero growth as soon as possible, but also to significantly reduce the flows of matter and energy by rapidly increasing eco-efficiency.
The policy proposal to reduce emissions under the Kyoto Protocol represents the theoretically optimal solution advocated by Ecological Economics, as will be discussed in the next section.
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Or yet, when it is estimated that the opportunity cost of deforestation is three times greater than its benefits. Baumol admits the thermodynamic restriction that the efficiency of real systems cannot be increased indefinitely, but the replaceability between capital and natural resources would ensure perpetual economic growth.
That is, the thermodynamic saci does not exist, but the capitalist Midas does and could handle the problem by himself. The present value of a given development project D is deducted from the benefits of preservation P. In cases where these uncertainties are even greater and the benefits of the development alternative are dubious, the criteria of the Krutilla-Fisher approach would not be sufficient to prevent irreversible losses of resources whose conservation would prove a posteriori to be invaluable.
In this case, an alternative would be the so-called safe minimum standards approach SMS , developed especially by Bishop based on the work of Ciriacy-Wantrup However, the need to define these standards contradicts the assumptions mainstream economists work with. The definition according to which the intolerably high cost of conservation should be in accordance with the standard economic thinking based especially in sustaining adequate levels of consumption by human populations.
In the last two decades, the expansion of economic activities led by the Asian giants, China and India have entailed an exponential growth of human pressure on the environment, despite the increase in eco-efficiency. Definitely, humanity has become an almost geological factor of change.
We have gone for Holocene to Anthropocene! Ecosphere is the name given to the space where life on Earth is concentrated: from a few meters underground to a few hundred meters into the atmosphere. Several factors explain the absence of a distribution of probabilities of a given phenomenon: cognitive or computational deficiency, lack of information, lack of knowledge, which theoretically can be overcome at some point; but there are cases of ignorance that cannot be eliminated.
The threshold of complex ecosystems fits into the latter situation see Dequech, Methodologies that have their specific limitations and are applied without an adequate ecosystem evaluation. In general, therefore, the decline of pollution associated with the increase in income was due to local institutional reforms, such as environmental legislation and incentives based on market mechanisms, which do not consider international and intergenerational consequences.
In other words, these reforms do not help to avoid problems when their costs are borne by the populations usually poor of other countries or by future generations, i. Certainly economic considerations cost of adjustment intervened in the definition of what should have been determined only by scientific considerations. This mechanism, proposed by the Brazilian delegation, enables non-signatory developing countries to participate in the official carbon market; a triple winner solution: environmental efficiency reduced emissions , economic efficiency lower cost of adjustment in developed countries and social efficiency creation of jobs and income in developing countries.
See the latest works of Professor Sachs , , Georgescu-Roegen believed that degrowth would be necessary for humanity to extend its life on Earth. The hypothesis is that the current level of production and consumption in developed countries cannot be generalized to all countries; these therefore need to progressively degrow to make room for the necessary growth of poor countries see www.
Limits to Privatization
In the medieval West, the anthropocentric view of the meaning of human presence on Earth derived from the Judeo-Christian cosmology, in which human beings were created by God in his image and likeness and to whom the entire Earth and its resources are subject, coincided with territorial fragmentation and, within regions, the division of power between the center the crown and the local lord, implying the existence of multiple centers of decision.
The first represented a remarkable change of mind in human history and contributed to a strongly proactive attitude in the sense of manipulating and transforming nature, by inventing new methods and procedures. The second enabled expressing the first, insofar as it allowed innovative agents to bargain their ideas with leaders in a mutual competition see White, , ; Jones, ; Mokyr, ; Landes, , among others. Thinking about growth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Observations on Perpetual Economic Growth.
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Economic growth, carrying capacity and the environment. Science , n. Measuring sustainable development : macroeconomics and the environment.
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