Energy, economic growth and environmental sustainability: five propositions

Sorrell, Steven (2010) Energy, economic growth and environmental sustainability: five propositions. Sustainability, 2 (6). pp. 1784-1809. ISSN 2071-1050

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Abstract

This paper advances five linked and controversial propositions that have both deep historical roots and urgent contemporary relevance. These are: (a) the rebound effects from energy efficiency improvements are significant and limit the potential for decoupling energy consumption from economic growth; (b) the contribution of energy to productivity improvements and economic growth has been greatly underestimated; (c) the pursuit of improved efficiency needs to be complemented by an ethic of sufficiency; (d) sustainability is incompatible with continued economic growth in rich countries; and (e) a zero-growth economy is incompatible with a fractional reserve banking system. These propositions run counter to conventional wisdom and each highlights either a "blind spot" or "taboo subject" that deserves closer scrutiny. While accepting one proposition reinforces the case for accepting the next, the former is neither necessary nor sufficient for the latter.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Depositing User: Steven Sorrell
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:54
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2012 11:49
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/22909
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