Elgar original reference
Edited by Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh
Chapter 33: Economic Analysis of Global Environmental Issues: Global Warming, Stratospheric Ozone and Biodiversity
David Pearce 1. Earth economy and environment Earth as an entire ecosystem operates so as to sustain life in all its forms. How far human activity in the form of homogenized use of natural resources can impair those major functions is open to debate. It seems barely conceivable that just one species, albeit a dominant one at the top of the food chain, could bring about the very demise of such global ecological functions as temperature regulation and nutrient cycling (both with enormous implications for biomass productivity). Yet the past decades have witnessed events which some feel contain just such threats, in various degrees of uncertainty. Stratospheric ozone depletion, climate change, the loss of coastal ecosystems, deforestation, and the impairment of the oceans themselves, testify to the potential for mankind’s interference with such global biogeochemical cycles. On one interpretation of the Gaia hypothesis, humans will eliminate themselves before they eliminate the earth’s selfregulating and self-repairing functions: Gaia as an integrated life and environment system is pretty well immortal (Joseph, 1990). On another interpretation, they stand at least a good chance of taking many, but far from all, of those functions with them to their demise (Lovelock, 1979, 1987). Even as a basic hypothesis, Gaia is disputed and likely to remain so. But it provokes not just fresh looks at the science, but at the economics of global environmental issues as well. Human activity and the ecological context for the successful functioning of that activity are interrelated and mutually dependent. Where...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.