Measuring Environmental Degradation
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Measuring Environmental Degradation

Developing Pressure Indicators for Europe

Edited by Anil Markandya and Nick Dale

Measuring Environmental Degradation is a unique book that provides a comprehensive yet concise overview of the key issues of environmental significance addressed as part of the Eurostat ‘Environmental Pressure Indicators Project’. The book is part of the ‘Towards Environmental Pressure Indicators for the EU’ (TEPI) series that has resulted from the project.
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Chapter 8: Climate protection as the key to sustainable development

H. Grassl


H. Grassl 1. INTRODUCTION With the intense and still accelerating use of fossil fuel, mankind started an unprecedented rapid development. The average life span of an individual has doubled since 1800 in industrialized countries and is still growing. Our number has quadrupled since 1800, and mankind is increasing by roughly 85 million heads per year, that is, growing exponentially at 1.5 per cent per year. Democratic, market-oriented societies using fossil fuels more efficiently at high throughput have reached unprecedented levels of personal wealth for the majority of citizens, and agriculture in these ‘fossil fuel countries’ is more productive per hectare than ever before. There are also high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as a consequence of fossil fuel burning and deforestation. Why should we then reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, foremost carbon dioxide, in order to decelerate a potential global warming, possibly disrupting economic development in some industrialized countries and causing increased poverty in developing countries? This chapter will first, in section 2, describe global environmental change problems caused by the above-mentioned developments, and the close interactions between them and climate change, thereby pointing both to the strong links to fossil fuel use and the potential synergies of action. In section 3, the reasons for a central policy intervention with a synergistic view are given. Section 4 contains my priority list for concrete goals before section 5 will argue for a combined assessment of measures by the use of aggregated indices. This last section has to take...

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