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On production and abatement time scales in sustainable development. Can we loosen the sustainability screw ?

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  • FILAR, Jerzy A.
  • KRAWCZYK, Jacek B.
  • AGRAWAL, Manju

Abstract

In this paper we carry out a preliminary exploration of a time scales' conjecture, which postulates that "reasonable" notions of sustainability must include a suitable synchronisation of time scales of both the processes of human development and those of the natural environment. We perform our analysis within a coarse, ?ve variable, model of man-nature interactions expressed as a system of differential equations where production and human capital are coupled with both renewable and non-renewable natural resource. We demonstrate a phenomenon that we name the "sustainability screw" that describes a spiral like trajectory of the three key variables: non-renewable and renewable resources as well as the production capital. Under many plausible scenarios, this spiral tends unacceptably fast to an undesirable equilibrium. However, we also show that by adjusting the ratio of "intensity of production effort" and "intensity of abatement effort", parameters of the relative time scales of production and natural recovery processes can be altered in a manner that produces, arguably, more sustainable trajectories.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 2009028.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2009028

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Keywords: sustainable optimization systems; viability; multiple time scale;

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Cited by:
  1. Krawczyk, Jacek & Pharo, Alastair & Simpson, Mark, 2011. "Approximations to viability kernels for sustainable macroeconomic policies," Working Paper Series 1531, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.

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