Transitions to a Sustainable Future
The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development
Edited by Valentina Bosetti, Reyer Gerlagh and Stefan P. Schleicher
Introduction: Modelling Sustainability – The TranSust Project
Valentina Bosetti, Reyer Gerlagh and Stefan P. Schleicher INTRODUCTION This book collects contributions on sustainable development (SD) in its more operative and applied sense. Although many papers have been written to elaborate on the potential interpretations and definitions of the concept of sustainable development, many of these papers are too abstract, and policymakers and researchers alike call for more practical, and effective, guidelines. If we want to develop actual policies that aim at sustainability, we first need to find practical means that can help us to assess whether policy proposals, specific decisions or targeted scenarios are sustainable. Assessment of sustainability is often approached through various indicators and aggregate measures, and one wants to know whether and how these can be included in models that are used for decision-making support. PART I: DEFINING SUSTAINABILTY In the first part the book starts with a brief address of broader issues related to the application of the sustainable development concept to the policy process and to economics. Its contributors are Richard Tol, Barbara Buchner and Ray Kopp. Tol discusses the connections between sustainable development as a policy issue and economic models as tools for policy analysis. With a wide view and clear opinion he discusses differences in objectives and the meaning of the terms we use in the sustainability debate. An important element in his chapter is the distinction between strong and weak sustainability, and their counterparts in applied terms as costeffectiveness analyses and cost–benefit analysis. Tol takes the argument beyond a simple...