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Development of Ecological Footprint to an Essential Economic and Political Tool

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  • Hans P. Aubauer

    ()
    (Department of Physics, University of Vienna, Alser Strasse 12/1/8, A-1090 Wien, Austria)

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    Abstract

    This paper shows how the concept of the Ecological Footprint can be developed by incorporating the six procedures listed below, to create a single indicator of just distribution of the limited natural resources, between and within generations, and become a benchmark for decision-making between alternatives of consumption, life-styles and economic policies. Using this new tool, it should be possible to label every commodity, service and natural resource with the share it claims of the Earth’s surface. This, in turn, can enable the integration of natural limits into the economy through the complete internalization of costs within market prices, while also reducing resource throughput fairly and quickly without an undue loss in GNP. The six procedures are as follows: First, operating within the boundaries of the sustainable local yields of the biologically productive soil and water areas, without any input of non-renewable resources, particularly fossil fuels; Second, taking spatial variations of this yield into account; Third, considering only sustainable CO 2-sinks; Fourth, including every exploitation of nature, for instance all material flows; Fifth, taking care of intertemporal effects and depletion; and sixth, preserving the natural habitats necessary for the survival of biodiversity, bearing the species/area relationship in mind.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 4 (April)
    Pages: 649-665

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:3:y:2011:i:4:p:649-665:d:12021

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    Related research

    Keywords: ecological footprint; sustainability; local sustainable yields; Human Appropriation of Net Primary Production (HANPP); depletion; cost internalization;

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    1. Weber, Jean-Louis, 2007. "Implementation of land and ecosystem accounts at the European Environment Agency," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 61(4), pages 695-707, March.
    2. Huijbregts, Mark A.J. & Hellweg, Stefanie & Frischknecht, Rolf & Hungerbuhler, Konrad & Hendriks, A. Jan, 2008. "Ecological footprint accounting in the life cycle assessment of products," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 64(4), pages 798-807, February.
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    11. Daly, Herman E., 1992. "Allocation, distribution, and scale: towards an economics that is efficient, just, and sustainable," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 185-193, December.
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    Cited by:
    1. Jordi Teixidó-Figueras & Juan Antonio Duro, 2013. "The building blocks of international ecological footprint inequality: a regression-based decomposition," Working Papers, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP) XREAP2013-03, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised Apr 2013.
    2. Teixidó Figueras, Jordi & Duro Moreno, Juan Antonio, 2012. "Ecological Footprint Inequality: A methodological review and some results," Working Papers 2072/203168, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.

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