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On the Relevancy of the Ecological Footprint for the Study of Intergenerational Justice


  • Grégory Ponthière

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)


This paper examines the relevancy of the Ecological Footprint indicator for the study of environmental justice between generations. While EF statistics--measuring the pressure put on nature by generations co-existing at a particular period under the prevailing production technology--can hardly be interpreted on its own, it is argued that interpretational difficulties vanish once the EF is corrected for changes in technology, and once it is made explicit that the EF is concerned with environmental justice. Thus, what should be interpreted is not a single EF statistic, but the entire EF distribution. Moreover, although usual interpretations of EF figures consist of comparing the actual pressure put on nature with the one allowing nature's regeneration, it is argued that this physical interpretation is not the only possible one, and that EF measures allow a--normative and descriptive--study of intergenerational justice under ethical frameworks other than resources-centred sustainability.

Suggested Citation

  • Grégory Ponthière, 2013. "On the Relevancy of the Ecological Footprint for the Study of Intergenerational Justice," Post-Print halshs-00847307, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00847307
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    Intergenerational Justice;


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