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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.

Suggested Citation

  • M. Scott Taylor, 2009. "Innis Lecture: Environmental crises: past, present, and future," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1240-1275, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:42:y:2009:i:4:p:1240-1275
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    Cited by:

    1. Pietro Peretto & Simone Valente, 2015. "Growth on a finite planet: resources, technology and population in the long run," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 305-331, September.
    2. Tobias Erhardt & Rolf Weder, 2015. "Shark Hunting: International Trade and the Imminent Extinction of Heterogeneous Species," Working papers 2015/07, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    3. Kleczkowski, Adam & Ellis, Ciaran & Goulson, Dave & de Vries, Frans P. & Hanley, Nick, 2013. "Ecological-economic modelling of interactions between wild and commercial bees and pesticide use," SIRE Discussion Papers 2013-124, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    4. Uehara, Takuro, 2013. "Ecological threshold and ecological economic threshold: Implications from an ecological economic model with adaptation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 374-384.
    5. Richter, Andries & van Soest, Daan & Grasman, Johan, 2013. "Contagious cooperation, temptation, and ecosystem collapse," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, pages 141-158.
    6. 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.
    7. 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 1305, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra.
    8. 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.
    9. Nagase, Yoko & Uehara, Takuro, 2011. "Evolution of population-resource dynamics models," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 9-17.
    10. Marc Germain, 2012. "Equilibres et effondrement dans le cadre d'un cycle naturel," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 55(4), pages 427-455.

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