Edited by Giles Atkinson, Simon Dietz, Eric Neumayer and Matthew Agarwala
Chapter 20: Technological lock-in and the role of innovation
As the chapters in this Handbook illustrate, despite increases in our understanding of the issues raised by the challenge of environmental, social and economic sustainability, movement has been frustratingly slow towards achieving levels of resource use and waste production that are within appropriate environmental limits and provide socially acceptable levels of economic prosperity and social justice. As first described by Ehrlich and Holdren (1971), environmental impact (I) of a nation or region may be usefully decomposed into three factors: population (P), average consumption per capita, which depends on affluence (A), and environmental impact per unit of consumption, which depends on technology (T), in the equation (identity) I = P _ A _ T. Limiting growth in environmental impact and eventually reducing it to a level within the Earth’s biocapacity (Chapter 24) will require progress on all three of these factors. Chapter 19 discussed issues relating to stabilizing population levels, and Chapter 18 addresses social and economic issues relating to moving towards sustainable patterns of consumption. This chapter discusses the challenge of technological innovation required to dramatically reduce average environmental impact per unit of consumption.
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.