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Delinking Environment and Economy the necessity of increased eco-efficiency?

Ontkoppeling Milieu en Economie de noodzaak van een toename van de eco-efficientie?


In the analysis of the factor 4 and eco-efficiency concepts in this paper , an attempt has been made to answer the following three questions of relevance for scientific, policy-supporting research: What is factor 4? Is factor 4 attainable? What does factor 4 mean for policy? Factor 4 can be defined along the lines of doubling the welfare and simultaneously halving environmental pressure. Eco-efficiency is a measure of welfare per unit environmental pressure. Making the concept eco-efficiency operational gives rise to several problems, both of a scientific and political nature.While there seems to be a huge optimism about technological possibilities, technological solutions give rise to a range of problems which are often underexposed. They relate both to the effects of technological change on the production system and to institutional, socio-cultural and psychological factors. Finally, attention should also be given to the rebound effect. Current environmental policy focuses strongly on eco-efficiency. However, the concept of eco-effciency does not lead to oneĆ¾s understanding the ultimate attainment of environmental quality objectives. This is why the last question to be discussed deals with what the lack of a relationship between eco-efficiency and the ultimate environmental quality goals will mean for the role of factor 4 in policy making.

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