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Matthias Ruth

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Matthias Ruth

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Edited by Matthias Ruth

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Edited by Matthias Ruth

This volume presents methods to advance the understanding of interdependencies between the well-being of human societies and the performance of their biophysical environment. It showcases applications to material and energy use; urbanization and technological transition; economic growth and social vulnerabilities; development and governance of social and industrial networks; the role of history, culture, and science itself in carrying out analysis and guiding policy; as well as the role of theory, data, and models in guiding decisions.
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Matthias Ruth

This chapter traces the interplay of innovation, technological change and economic growth in the context of the biophysical constraints that have, and always will, set the boundaries within which human society flourishes. Special attention is given to the complexities that pose challenges for understanding the role, and guiding the uses of technology. An illustration is provided for the case of energy transitions from non-renewable to renewable fuels. As the illustration highlights, institutional and societal innovations need to accompany innovations in technology to help ensure its deployment in ways that promote sustainability. Also, since sustainability inherently pertains to development paths that unfold over long periods of time in which environmental, social and technological conditions (re-)shape each other in unknown and unknowable ways, multiple criteria, rather than, for example, standard efficiency measures, need to be used to assess (anticipated) technology performance and to guide technology deployment. The chapter closes with a critical perspective on the legal and economic instruments that currently dominate conventional economic policies and the growth objective for which they are used.

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Matthias Ruth

This chapter provides an overview of A Research Agenda for Environmental Economics. It sketches the contexts within which the volume was conceived and the main challenges that the discipline must address. Within those contexts, this introductory chapter briefly outlines the key contributions of subsequent chapters and relates their main messages to each other.

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Edited by Matthias Ruth

Presenting critical insights on how economic activity is constrained by the environment’s ability to provide material and energy resources, this timely Research Agenda explores how humanity shapes, and is shaped by, environmental change and sustainability challenges. Chapters highlight how, under these constraints, people may seek to improve their lives and standards of living without undermining the abilities of others to do so now or in the future.
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Edited by Matthias Ruth and Brynhildur Davidsdottir

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Matthias Ruth and Brynhildur Davidsdottir