You are here: Home Knowledge Base Environment and Economic Growth
Symposium 2014

Environment and Economic Growth

The Challenge

The goal of the panel is to challenge the traditional paradigm which views stewardship of the environment as a cost to growth, without accounting for the negative externalities which arise through environmental degradation.

The assessment of the relative costs of different kinds of energy choices made are critically important both for an understanding of technical and social possibilities in the contemporary world (which is so dependent on the generation, transmission and use of energy), and also for informed economic planning and policy making. The commonly repeated figures of relative costs are either done on the basis of market costs only (e.g, coal the cheapest, and so on), or include some fairly vague guess work on environmental effects – varying from global warming to the pollution of local air (e.g., nuclear energy the best, and so on). The latter are useful and much better than the former which exclude all externalities, and yet the externality-inclusive standard estimates are quite unsatisfactory, partly because uncertainties are handled with breath-taking simplicity, but also because certain types of environmental effects are not systematically brought into the accounting, including the danger of nuclear accidents, sabotage and theft.

There is also the question of “growth” itself. Is GDP “growth” the sole metric one should examine when looking at this question of the environment? Does greater growth automatically equate to greater well-being, especially in the context of a global economy threatened daily by climate change? Insofar as we have a greater understanding of well-being in the context of environmental sustainability, we shall be in a better position to formulate and execute better economic policy.

    Proposals

    Proposal
    Symposium 2014

    The price of sustainability in energy policy is proper regulation and wide participation

    Trigger growth by consistent energy regulation! For years to come, the German energy market is going to be an economic laboratory of extra large dimensions. By 2022 nuclear power plants, which still a ...

    Trigger growth by consistent energy regulation! For years to come, the German energy market is going to be an economic laboratory of extra large dimensions. By 2022 nuclear power plants, which still account for 15 percent of the power supply, will have to be substituted by renewable energies. On top of that, by 2025 the renewables will have to account for 40 percent of the over-all electricity demand. This decision of the government, the so-called “Energiewende”, was triggered by the nuclear catastrophe of Fukushima which brought home to everyone the vast ecological consequences in the - admittedly rare - case

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2014

    Global Opportunity Report and Network

    The Global Opportunity Report is an annual publication intent on demonstrating that in every risk there is opportunity. It aims to create action and collaboration towards addressing the great sustaina ...

    The Global Opportunity Report is an annual publication intent on demonstrating that in every risk there is opportunity. It aims to create action and collaboration towards addressing the great sustainability challenges that are facing society today. It does this by offering the concept of opportunities as a new lens to supplement the focus on risks that is currently dominant in the strategic outlook of companies, organisations and governments. The main claim is that to move towards a safe and sustainable future, we must be better at identifying and seizing the opportunities for sustainable progress. Phrased differently, we wish to replace

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2014

    Understanding Complex Natural Systems Using Data

    Increasingly advanced sensor technology now means that it is possible to measure almost any environmental variable in real time. This will allow for the creation of metrics that build much more accura ...

    Increasingly advanced sensor technology now means that it is possible to measure almost any environmental variable in real time. This will allow for the creation of metrics that build much more accurate views of how complex natural systems actually function, and the impact of interrelated effects. For the first time in history, it is feasible to measure almost any environmental variable using increasingly cheap sensor technology.  While the price and size of these devices is dropping, their functionality is increasing.  This means that today school children can now build air quality sensors that measure air pollution in real time and

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society