Energy, economic growth and environmental sustainability: five propositions
18th June 2010
Topic(s): Energy efficiency, Economics
This paper advances five linked and controversial propositions that have both deep historical roots and urgent contemporary relevance. These are: (a) the rebound effects from energy efficiency improvements are significant and limit the potential for decoupling energy consumption from economic growth; (b) the contribution of energy to productivity improvements and economic growth has been greatly underestimated; (c) the pursuit of improved efficiency needs to be complemented by an ethic of sufficiency; (d) sustainability is incompatible with continued economic growth in rich countries; and (e) a zero-growth economy is incompatible with a fractional reserve banking system. These propositions run counter to conventional wisdom and each highlights either a - blind spot‖ or - taboo subject‖ that deserves closer scrutiny. While accepting one proposition reinforces the case for accepting the next, the former is neither necessary nor sufficient for the latter.
The content within the Global CCS Institute Publications, Reports and Research Library is provided for information purposes only. We make every effort and take reasonable care to keep the content of this section up-to-date and error-free. However, we make no claim as to its accuracy, currency or reliability.
Content and material featured within this section of our website includes reports and research published by third parties. The content and material may include opinions and recommendations of third parties that do not reflect those held by the Global CCS Institute.