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Symposium 2015

Virtual Library File - The Limited Earth Problem

The Challenge

Environmental degradation and resource depletion threaten the sustainability of economic growth in the developed world, and build enormous pressures in the developing world as it strives to match th ...

Environmental degradation and resource depletion threaten the sustainability of economic growth in the developed world, and build enormous pressures in the developing world as it strives to match the West’s prodigal lifestyle. Both issues can be addressed by the Circular Economy (CE): if we stop generating waste, and re-use and recycle resources, we avoid environmental degradation and stave off resource depletion. But, the financial realities of (mostly) capitalist societies make so many recycling initiatives unattractive.

This research paper from the University of Cambridge discusses limits of non-renewable resources, planetary sinks (to absorb all forms of waste) and renewable resources. It explores impacts on GDP, and the effects of possible technological and economic policy changes.