Scarcity, Innovation and Sustainability
This essay proposes a reflection on some interventions aimed at supporting sustainable growth by stressing the “environmental scarcity”. Only if this scarcity is correctly perceived, it can promote sustainable production and consumption choices and enhance innovation in order to reduce the shortages activating a process of permanent progress. The proposed regulating action is based on the joint implementation of environmental taxes and refundable deposits. According to the polluter pays principle and to the precautionary principle the environmental tax should cover the “certain” environmental damage and the deposit should be calculated according to an estimate of the possible damage. These instruments help perceive the environmental scarcity both including the certain environmental cost and creating an “insurance” system for the possible environmental damage and incentives for its definition, reduction, and for a continuous assessment of the opportunities of environmental improvement and of the real costs of innovation. Assigning the environmental scarcity a correct value can enhance environmental protection and contribute to orient the production and consumption choices reconciling growth and sustainability.
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