Limits to growth, sustainable development and environmental kuznets curves: an examination of the environmental impact of economic development
The nature of the relationship between economic development and the environment has been discussed since the 1960s, yet opinion remains divided. This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between economic growth and environmental degradation and begins by reviewing the largely theoretical discussions from the 'limits to growth' debate of the 1970s to the advent of sustainable development in the 1980s. The paper then examines the recent studies that have subjected the growth - environment relationship to a statistical analysis through the estimation of environmental Kuznets curves (EKCs). The extent to which these studies indicate a decoupling of environmental damage from growth is considered and reasons are suggested why some environmental indicators appear to improve with growth whilst others deteriorate. In order to illustrate the need to interpret EKCs carefully, forecasts of global emissions are made, for the period 1990-2020, for two pollutants that EKCs suggest are being decoupled from economic growth. Policy implications are then discussed. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
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Volume (Year): 7 (1999)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
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- Ekins, Paul, 1993. "'Limits to growth' and 'sustainable development': grappling with ecological realities," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 269-288, December. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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