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Innis Lecture: Environmental crises: past, present, and future

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  • M. Scott Taylor

Abstract

Environmental crises are distinguished by rapid and largely unexpected changes in environmental quality that are difficult if not impossible to reverse. Examples would be major extinctions and significant degradations of an ecosystem. I argue there are three preconditions for crisis: failures in governance, an ecological system exhibiting a tipping point, and an economy/environment interaction with positive feedbacks. I develop a simple model to illustrate how a crisis may arise, and draw on our knowledge of past and present crises to highlight the mechanisms involved. I then speculate as to whether climate change is indeed a crisis in the making.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Canadian Economics Association in its journal Canadian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 42 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 1240-1275

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Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:42:y:2009:i:4:p:1240-1275

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Cited by:
  1. Quaas, Martin F. & van Soest, Daan & Baumgärtner, Stefan, 2013. "Complementarity, impatience, and the resilience of natural-resource-dependent economies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 15-32.
  2. Juan Miguel Benito-Ostolaza & Nuria Osés-Eraso, 2013. "Incentives to give up resource extraction and avoid the tragedy of the commons," Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra 1305, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra.
  3. Andries Richter & Daan van Soest & Johan Grasman, 2013. "Contagious Cooperation, Temptation, and Ecosystem Collapse," Working Papers, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei 2013.36, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  4. Yasuhiro Takarada & Weijia Dong & Takeshi Ogawa, 2011. "Shared Renewable Resource and International Trade: Technical Measures for Resource Management," ERSA conference papers ersa11p449, European Regional Science Association.
  5. Uehara, Takuro, 2013. "Ecological threshold and ecological economic threshold: Implications from an ecological economic model with adaptation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 374-384.
  6. Pietro F. Peretto & Simone Valente, 2011. "Growth on a Finite Planet: Resources, Technology and Population in the Long Run," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 11/147, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  7. de, Vries Frans & Ellis, Ciaran & Goulson, Dave & Hanley, Nicholas & Kleczkowski, Adam, 2013. "Ecological-economic modelling of interactions between wild and commercial bees and pesticide use," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers, University of Stirling, Division of Economics 2013-10, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.

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