The dismal quackery of eco-economics
The notion that economic growth has to be curtailed is tragic when billions still live in dire poverty.
The World Wildlife Fund warns that we are consuming 20 per cent more natural resources a year than the planet can provide. Are we living beyond our ecological means?
One of the most striking but least noticed aspects of the rise of environmentalism is the way that it has helped to redefine economics. Economic production and consumption are viewed in a fundamentally different way than they were before environmentalism became central to the dominant worldview.
Environmentalist assumptions that, at the very least, should be the subject of debate are unquestioningly accepted. Environmentalism has become central to the mainstream outlook, rather than the particular property of green parties or organisations.
This development isn’t just important at the level of ideas. A gloomy view of economic development plays an important role in holding back human potential. At its starkest, the acceptance of the idea that economic growth has to be curtailed is a tragedy in a world where billions of people still live in dire poverty. According to the latest available figures from the World Bank, 2.7 billion were living on less than $2 (£1.10) a day in 2001 of which 1.1 billion lived on less than a dollar (1).
The discussion of global warming provides a striking example of how this works. Almost everyone accepts that climate change means that the world needs to cut back on emissions of greenhouse gases. Yet this would almost certainly mean holding back economic growth, meaning that a large part of the global population will remain poor. There is hardly any discussion of how to deal with global warming while generating substantial economic growth at the same time. Indeed it will be argued that economic growth, far from being the problem, is central to humanity’s capacity to handle climate change.
There are two recurring themes running through the environmentalist approach to economics. First, an obsession with the need for limits. The environmentalist debate, in numerous different ways, assumes that strict limits must be put on economic activity. Such premises ignore or at least downplay the power of human creativity. Economic activity does indeed often throw up problems – such as pollution – but it also, it will be argued, provides the means to overcome them.
Second, the idea of precaution has more recently become more central to the debate. The prevalent assumption is that people need to be cautious about economic development because it could have harmful unintended consequences in the future. Often such fears are expressed in the language of ‘sustainability’. The precautionary approach, unlike earlier forms of environmentalism, acknowledges the power of human creativity. But advocates of precaution tend to see such creativity as a source of problems, usually in the form of risk, rather than a positive attribute of human beings.
Underlying both assumptions is a misanthropic view of humanity (2). Environmentalism can be seen as a counterattack against a key premise of the Enlightenment: that a central part of progress consists of increasing human control over nature. Instead, environmentalists argue that humans should accept their place as a mere subsidiary of the natural world (3). In practice this means reconciling humanity to poverty, disease and natural disasters.
There is environmentalist confusion between the mastery over nature and the destruction of nature. Control over nature means reshaping the natural world to meet human needs – for example, developing medicines to fight against disease or building dams to prevent flooding or generate electricity. This is not the same as destroying rain forests or making animal species extinct.
Nature has sometimes been destroyed as a side-effect of economic growth. But the aim of economic development is to benefit humanity rather than to destroy the natural world. It is important to remember that richer societies are in a much stronger position to create a positive environment for human beings than poor ones.
The remainder of this essay will examine the key tenets of environmentalist economics in more detail. It will argue that, in addition to being undesirable, the environmentalist worldview is based on fatally flawed assumptions.
Natural limits to growth?
A large part of environmentalist discourse is about the biophysical, social and ethical limits that are supposedly a brake on economic activity (4). Some of the limits they raise are metaphors while others are meant literally. If only they put such creativity into pondering how to generate growth rather than restrain it, the world would be better off.
Reverend Robert Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) is in many ways the intellectual godfather of environmentalism. It’s striking that the ideas of a long-dead English country parson have now come back in radical clothes. In his Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), Malthus famously argued that the world was doomed to mass starvation since population inevitably grew far more rapidly than food supply. In mathematical terms, he argued, the population grew geometrically while agricultural production grew arithmetically. Malthus’ views led Thomas Carlyle, a nineteenth century historian and philosopher, to dub economics ‘the dismal science’.
Fortunately Malthus’ predictions proved entirely wrong. Food production has easily outstripped population growth. Starvation is mercifully the exception rather than the rule – when it still exists, it is the result of social inequality rather than an absolute failure to produce food. The solution to this is more extensive economic growth, to help the poorest parts of the world to reach the living standards of the richest.
It is only in recent decades that Malthus’ concerns about natural limits have had such a broad resonance. Until relatively recently, the benefits of industrialisation were widely appreciated, and the prospect of economic growth prompted more hope than anxiety.
But in the 1960s a new breed of intellectuals started to emerge who were influenced by Malthusianism – some explicitly supported Malthus while others were more generally influenced by his approach. Often they argued that Malthus was right in principle but he had got his timing wrong, or that his approach needed to be made more sophisticated (5). What they shared was an emphasis on the importance of limits on economic activity (6).
By the mid-1970s their view was getting widespread popular support. Strongly Malthusian texts such as the Club of Rome’s The Limits to Growth (1972) and EF Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful (1973) were both worldwide bestsellers (7). As Schumacher noted at the time: ‘We do well to ask why it is that all these terms – pollution, environment, ecology, etc – have so suddenly come into prominence. After all, we have had an industrial system for quite some time, yet only five or ten years ago these words were virtually unknown.’ (original emphasis) (8)
A combination of factors help to explain the popularisation of environmentalist thought. The world economy experienced severe problems as the long boom that followed the Second World War came to an end. The Arab oil boycott that followed the 1973 Arab-Israeli war also focused attention on the vulnerability of natural resources. More generally, a mood of social pessimism began to take hold over Western societies. Environmentalists began to argue that society needed to curb economic growth (9).
Kenneth Boulding, one of the most prominent American economists of the mid-twentieth century, used the metaphor ‘spaceship earth’ to express the need for limits (10) Writing in the mid-1960s, it is not surprising that he should choose a space metaphor. But rather than referring to the unlimited frontier popularised in fiction such as Star Trek, he meant to convey an earth running short of resources. This was in contrast to the ‘cowboy economy’ of an earlier era when, according to Boulding, there was no problem of scarcity.
Another expression of scarcity was the ‘tragedy of the commons’ that was popularised by Garrett Hardin, a prominent biologist (11). Hardin acknowledged his intellectual debt to William Forster Lloyd (1794-1852), an obscure British economist who originated the idea in a pamphlet in 1833. Lloyd began with the idea of a common pasture on which villagers could graze their cattle. At first there was no problem, since the land area was ample to support a relatively small number of cattle. But as the number of cattle grew larger it became impossible for the land to support them all. Hardin used this metaphor to illustrate the broader need for limits on economic growth, and this idea has become widely accepted by environmentalists (12).
Others expressed the idea of limits more literally. The Limits To Growth report of 1972 estimated that the world’s gold would run out in nine years, mercury in 13, natural gas in 22, petroleum in 20, silver 13 and zinc 18 years (13). With the benefit of hindsight it is clear that all its forecasts were hopelessly wrong. But the supporters of the report still claimed that the general approach was right, even if specific predictions were incorrect (14).
Other environmentalist predictions have been disproved. Paul Ehrlich, still a highly respected environmentalist and biology professor at Stanford University, predicted in The Population Bomb in 1968 that: ‘The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.’ (15)
Other environmentalist figures have wisely avoided specific predictions. One popular approach was to argue that economic growth is limited by the amount of energy in the world. The idea was developed by Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, an American economist of Romanian origin, in the 1970s and has more recently been taken up by the likes of Elmar Altvater, Herman Daly and Jeremy Rifkin (16). This idea was expressed in scientific terms as a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics, which states that the useful forms of energy in any closed system decline over time. An alternative way of expressing the same idea is that the entropy (disorder) in a closed system increases over time (17). But as previous articles on spiked have argued, environmentalists grossly underestimate the amount of energy available on earth (18). In any case, the earth is not a closed system – it receives an enormous amount of energy from the sun every day (19). So the idea that the availability of energy limits economic activity has no basis in science.
The concept of ‘natural capital’ is another way of arguing that there are scarce resources (20). Advocates of this approach argue that natural resources should be seen as a form of ‘capital’, by which they mean wealth, rather than as in traditional economics, a way of generating income. For instance, conventional economists assume that iron ore is essentially provided free by nature, and should therefore be valued according to the revenue it generates each year to the mining company. Environmentalists counter that it is not free because it involves a drain on the environment – and that the amount of iron ore used up each year should be deducted from the wealth of the country in which it is produced.
But this approach produces some perverse results. From the perspective of ‘natural capital’, a pristine country, in which hardly anyone lived, would be wealthy. But one that was highly developed and industrialised would have suffered a severe loss of natural capital (21). By these counts, Antarctica could well be richer than America.
As it happens, neither approach is adequate. The value of a natural resource cannot be assessed independently of the human labour used to retrieve it. For instance, bauxite or uranium have no value in a primitive society where they cannot be utilised, but in an economy that produces aluminium or harnesses atomic power they become valuable resources.
Another way of expressing limits is by developing measures such as ‘carrying capacity’. This is defined in A Dictionary of Biology as: ‘The maximum population of a particular species that can be supported indefinitely by a given habitat or area without damage to the environment.’ (22) But this is a tautology. For example, the carrying capacity of the earth in relation to humans is its productive capacity divided by one person’s basic needs. But the productive capacity of the earth has grown enormously as the world has become more efficient economically. So ‘carrying capacity’ is not a fixed quantity but at most a statement of a particular ratio at a particular time (23).
The assumption that there is a looming oil shortage illustrates this point. It is mathematically true that if there is a finite supply of oil and a growing economy, sooner or later supplies will run out. But this ignores the ways that we can tackle such problems. In the short term, this can include the discovery of new oil fields or harnessing existing ones more efficiently. In the medium term, new ways of utilising oil, such as harnessing the vast reserves found in tar sand, are likely to be discovered. Longer term, new forms of energy are likely to be utilised that may not have even been thought of yet.
As Sheikh Yamani, the Saudi oil minister in the 1970s, has argued: ‘The Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, and the Oil Age will end long before the world runs out of oil.’ (24) There is likely to be more than enough oil to meet humanity’s needs over the next few years, and long before it runs out new forms of energy generation are likely to be discovered and existing ones utilised far more efficiently.
Underlying environmentalist confusion on limited resources is a deeply pessimistic view of human ingenuity. Environmentalists tend to project the current level of human know-how and skills in the future. Yet historically humans have proved adept at developing their capabilities over time.
From an environmentalist perspective, human beings are merely vast consumers of scarce resources. What this view overlooks is humans’ immense capabilities as producers. Humans are capable of using reason and ingenuity to overcome formidable barriers – which is why what seem like insurmountable limits to the environmentalists are almost always overcome.
Precaution and sustainability
The other central concept of contemporary environmentalism is precaution. The key idea is that modern technological societies bring the risk of severe unintended consequences in the future. In the past, natural risks were the most important, but today ‘manufactured risks’ predominate. The argument is that a particular technology may appear safe, but currently unknown problems may become apparent at some point in the future. Sociologists such as Ulrich Beck and Anthony Giddens – a key influence over New Labour – have developed the idea of ‘risk society’ (25).
But it isn’t possible to make a clear distinction between natural and manufactured risks. For instance, a hurricane may be seen as a pure ‘natural disaster’, but the impact it has on humanity depends on the level of human development. Florida, in the prosperous USA, is in a far better position to deal with an extreme weather event than, say, Haiti or Jamaica. Americans can afford to build better quality buildings and defences against hurricanes than their poorer neighbours.
The concept of the ‘precautionary principle’ is the way that the ideas of risk society have become embodied in law. For instance, it is central to the working of the European Union (EU) and its member states. As a result, scientists are expected to show beyond reasonable doubt that their discoveries will not be dangerous in the future (26).
This principle puts an impossible burden of proof on scientists. It is not possible to have that degree of certainty about the future implications of any scientific development. As a result, it imposes a cautious approach on science that holds back advance.
The precautionary principle is applied to economics in terms of the idea of ‘sustainability’ (27). This emphasises the danger that economic development could pose to future generations – and advocates a cautious approach towards economic development.
This idea embodies low expectations about economic development. To understand this point, it is worth examining the definition of ‘sustainable development’ in the United Nation’s 1987 Brundtland Report. According to the report:
‘Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:
‘ — the concept of ‘needs’, in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor, to which the overriding priority should be given; and;
‘ — the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs.’ (28)
Several elements of this definition are worth examining. First, its emphasis on ‘future generations’, which expresses a fear and uncertainty about what lies ahead. It also assumes there must be a trade-off between meeting present and future needs. The idea that development today aids future societies is ruled out.
Yet in reality, restricting growth today means leaving future generations with many of the same problems that we suffer from. In contrast, more economic growth puts them in a far better position to enjoy a better future. More growth means – among other things – less poverty, less disease and more time away from the drudgery of routine work.
In addition, the concept of ‘needs’ is drawn narrowly. So although the definition does refer to development, its primary goal is to meet the essential needs of the world’s poor. Presumably the non-essential needs of the poor or the essential needs of the wealthy are not on the agenda.
The discussion of how to respond to global warming embodies both the idea of limits and of precaution. Most of the debate assumes that it is necessary to hold back on economic growth because of the negative implications it could have for the future of the planet.
It should be emphasised that what is being referred to here is the economic response to global warming. The science of climate change is an immensely complicated topic that is best left to scientists who specialise in the area. Indeed, part of the problem with discussion of the topic is that non-scientists are often too willing to pontificate about matters of climatology.
It is wrong to assume that the appropriate economic response to the problem is necessarily to hold back on development (29). If, as the scientists argue, global warming is happening and that human activity is at least partly responsible, it does not automatically follow that restricting greenhouse gas emissions is the best way to respond.
At the very least, the dangers of greenhouse emissions have to be set against the problem of restricting economic growth. Since widespread industrialisation is likely to mean more emissions overall – even if industry becomes more environmentally efficient – curbs on greenhouse gases necessarily involve restraining economic growth. The approach embodied in the Kyoto protocol is likely to mean consigning billions of people to poverty (30), as well as restricting the extent to which living standards in the developed world can be improved.
It is wrong to see dealing with climate change and alleviating poverty as a trade-off. Richer, more developed societies are in a better position to deal with the impact of climate change. For instance, a low-lying country like Bangladesh would be in a far better position to deal with rising sea levels if it could afford to build up its flood defences.
It has been argued on spiked that in the longer term it is likely that more high-technology ways will be found to control the climate – for example, it may be possible to divert a portion of the sun’s rays away from the earth (31). Rather than holding back, the answer is likely to lie in bold imaginative solutions to the problem. Yet the current climate of restraint militates against exploring such alternatives. Indeed even existing forms of energy generation that don’t emit greenhouse gases, such as hydroelectric and atomic power, are often rejected by environmentalists.
Underlying environmentalist economics is a profound hostility towards progress. Human advance is seen as inextricably linked to social inequality and war, and scientific experimentation is viewed with suspicion.
Environmentalist ideas are a direct attack on the outlook of the Enlightenment. Supporters of the Enlightenment, which reached its peak in the eighteenth century, saw science and reason as indispensable forces in human progress (32). Thinkers such as Condorcet, Denis Diderot, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Thomas Paine, Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Adam Smith were key representatives of the Enlightenment. Their ideas helped to inspire the American Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789. More generally their outlook played a key role in the development of the modern world.
From the start the Enlightenment had its opponents. An Essay on the Principle of Population by Malthus was itself a response to the ideas of William Godwin (1756-1836). Godwin’s 1793 Enquiry Concerning Political Justice saw reason as a central force in human progress.
From the start, environmentalist thinkers attacked the central principles of the Enlightenment. For instance, Rachel Carson, the author of Silent Spring (1962), generally regarded as the founding text of environmentalism, was opposed to the Enlightenment project of increasing human control over nature. In an American television programme in 1963 she stated that: ‘We still talk in terms of conquest. We still haven’t become mature enough to think of ourselves as a tiny part of a vast and incredible universe. Man’s attitude to nature is today critically important because we have acquired a fateful power to alter and destroy nature.’ (33)
No serious scientist would dispute that the earth is a tiny part of an almost unimaginably massive universe. But in relation to the future of humanity, the development of human organisation is a key factor. Humanity has benefited enormously from its increasing capacity to interact and shape the natural world to meet its own ends.
Carson’s hostility to increasing human control over nature is expressed in many different ways by her successors. Schumacher, for instance, linked it to what he describes as ‘human wickedness’. For him the idea that ‘the problem of production has been solved’ through the emergence of modern industrial society is an abomination. ‘The arising of this error, so egregious and so firmly rooted, is closely connected with the philosophical not to say religious, changes during the last three or four centuries in man’s attitude to nature… Modern man does not experience himself as part of nature but as an outside force destined to dominate and conquer it’ (34).
But it is Schumacher who makes an ‘egregious’ error by collapsing man into nature. It is precisely by striving to overcome natural forces that humanity has advanced. Economic activity is central to separating human beings from mere animals, since it enables us to go far beyond meeting our most basic needs for subsistence. Without a developed economic infrastructure, we wouldn’t be able to produce fine art, explore science or indeed write books on the environment.
A particular hate figure for environmentalists is Francis Bacon (1561-1626), the earliest advocate of the notion that man should attempt to take control over nature. For Vandana Shiva, one of India’s leading environmentalists, his views are akin to rape and torture. She argues that: ‘His was not a “neutral”, “objective”, “scientific” method. Rather it was a peculiarly masculine mode of aggression and domination over women and non-Western cultures. The severe testing of hypotheses through controlled manipulations of nature, and the necessity of such manipulations if experiments are to be repeatable, were formulated by Bacon in clearly sexist metaphors. Both nature and the process of scientific enquiry appear conceptualized in ways modelled on rape and torture – on man’s most violent and misogynous relationship with women.’ (35)
Shiva isn’t on the fringes of environmentalist thinking – in 2000 she gave a prestigious BBC Reith lecture as part of a series on ‘respect for the earth’ (36). Neither is she alone in castigating Bacon in such extreme terms. For instance, a collection edited by Herman Daly includes a 1947 essay in which the author CS Lewis compares Bacon to Marlowe’s Faustus – selling his soul to the devil (37).
For environmentalists, there is no difference between control over nature and the destruction of the Earth. Mastery of nature is, in this view, synonymous with its obliteration. But for the supporters of the Enlightenment there is a fundamental difference between conquest and destruction. Human mastery of nature means controlling disease, averting natural disasters and above all overcoming scarcity. Conquest of nature is fundamental to human progress, and at the centre of the development of civilisation.
The mainstream advocates of environmentalist economics are wary of launching a full-frontal attack on economic growth. Only the Deep Greens, who represent a small minority, are willing to do so. Instead the normal procedure is to express ‘scepticism’ about growth. Growth is therefore linked to all sorts of maladies such as environmental damage, social inequality and unhappiness. It is also associated with potential problems in the future such as global warming. If all else fails the deliberately ambiguous concept of ‘sustainability’ is there to fall back on.
There is good reason why environmentalists are coy about attacking growth directly. For they realise that the benefits of economic growth – including better living standards, better health and greater longevity – are enormously popular with the public. Few individuals are likely to welcome a sustained cut in their standard of living.
The implementation of environmentalist economics means consigning most of the world’s inhabitants to poverty. Even in the developed world there is still a long way to go before material want can be abolished. In the third world the consequences of ‘sustainable development’, holding back economic growth, are even starker.
Carlyle’s description of Malthus’s approach to economics as ‘the dismal science’ is only half true when it comes to contemporary environmentalists. It is certainly right to see environmentalism as deeply pessimistic in its perception of human beings. That is why it has so often been proved wrong in its frequent predictions of imminent doom. But it should be seen as a form of quackery rather than dignified with the title of science. Its gross underestimation of human potential, with people being viewed as parasites on the planet, inevitably leads to a misunderstanding of the social world.
Daniel Ben-Ami is the author of Cowardly Capitalism: The Myth of the Global Financial Casino, John Wiley and Sons, 2001 (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)).
Beyond the Growth Fetish, by Daniel Ben-Ami
JK Galbraith goes mainstream, by Daniel Ben-Ami
(1) Global Poverty Down By Half Since 1981 But Progress Uneven As Economic Growth Eludes Many Countries, World Bank news release, 23 April 2004
(2) For a more general defence of humanism see Kenan Malik Man, Beast and Zombie London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson 2000
(3) For example, Andrew Simms of the New Economics Foundation argues that: ‘The economy is a ‘wholly owned subsidiary’ of the environment’. Andrew Simms ‘Real world environmental outlook’ in Ann Pettifor (ed) Real World Economic Outlook, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, p60.
(4) Herman Daly makes this distinction. See Herman E Daly (ed) Toward A Steady-State Economy San Francisco: WH Freeman: 1973
(5) See, for example, Joseph J Spengler ‘Was Malthus Right?’ in Thomas Robert Malthus An Essay on the Principle of Population, Norton Critical Edition.: New York: Norton 1976
(6) For a useful brief discussion of these trends see Vernon W Ruttan ‘Can economic growth be sustained? A post-Malthusian perspective’, Staff Paper P02-2, February 2002. Department of Applied Economics, College of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences, University of Minnesota
(7) The Limits to Growth sold nine million copies in 13 languages, according to Paul Hawken et al Natural Capitalism London: Earthscan 1999, p145
(8) EF Schumacher, Small is Beautiful London: Vintage 1993, p6
(9) For a discussion of growth scepticism see Beyond the growth fetish, by Daniel Ben-Ami
(10) See Kenneth Boulding ‘The Economics of the Coming Spaceship Earth’ in Thomas Robert Malthus An Essay on the Principle of Population, Norton Critical Edition. Norton: New York 1976
(11) See Garrett Hardin ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’ in Thomas Robert Malthus An Essay on the Principle of Population, Norton Critical Edition New York: Norton 1976
(12) For example, a section of the influential 1987 Brundtland report on sustainable development was on the ‘commons’. Our Common Future, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1987. For a discussion of the commons in relation to intellectual property see The Creative Commons, by Sandy Starr
(13) Donella H Meadows et al, The Limits to Growth, New York: Potomac Associates 1972, table 4 p64-7
(14) For a defence of The Limits to Growth see Paul Hawken et al, Natural Capitalism London: Earthscan 1999, p144-146
(15) Paul R Ehrlich, The Population Bomb, New York: Buccaneer 1968, p1
(16) Georgescu-Roegen’s book on the subject is The Entropy Law and the Economic Process, Harvard 1971. A version of the introduction is available as ‘The Entropy Law and the Economic Problem’ in Herman E Daly (ed) Toward A Steady-State Economy, San Francisco: WH Freeman 1973. Daly also discusses his work and that of others on the subject in Beyond Growth Boston: Beacon 1996. For a discussion of the idea from a critical perspective see John Gillott and Manjit Kumar, Science and the Retreat from Reason, London: Merlin 1995, p188-191
(17) John Gillott and Manjit Kumar, Science and the Retreat from Reason, London: Merlin 1995,p189.
(18) See, for example, Inflaming the oil crisis, by Joe Kaplinsky
(19) John Gillott and Manjit Kumar, Science and the Retreat from Reason, London: Merlin 1995,p190
(20) See, for example, EF Schumacher, Small is Beautiful, London: Vintage 1993
(21) For such an approach see ‘Partha Dasgupta’ ‘Economic growth often accompanies a decline in a poor country’s wealth’ New Statesman 3 November 2003
(22) A Dictionary of Biology, Market House Books 2000
(23) For an environmentalist discussion of ‘carrying capacity’ see Herman E Daly Beyond Growth Boston: Beacon 1996. For critical views see Frank Furedi Population and Development Cambridge: Polity 1997, p35-6 and James Heartfield ‘The Economics of Sustainable Development’ in Ian Abley and James Heartfield Sustaining Architecture in the Anti-Machine Age, Chichester: Wiley-Academy, p101
(24) Quoted in The end of the Oil Age, Economist 23 October 2003
(25) See, for example, Ulrich Beck Risk Society, London: Sage 1992 and Anthony Giddens Beyond Left and Right Cambridge: Polity 1994
(26) See, for example, Challenging the precautionary principle, by Helene Guldberg
(27) This point is made by JC Hanekamp et al ‘The historical roots of precautionary thinking’ Journal of Risk Research (forthcoming). The authors argue that The Limits to Growth embodies a precautionary approach even though it does not use the term
(28) Our Common Future, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1987, p42
(29) It should be noted that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report, Climate Change 2001: Mitigation, is largely based on social science literature that is heavily influenced by environmentalism
(30) See the text of the Kyoto Protocol
(31) See Bring back the weathermen, by Joe Kaplinsky
(32) See Norman Hampson, The Enlightenment London: Penguin 1982
(33) Quoted in Rachel Carson dies of cancer: ‘Silent Spring’ author was 56, obituary in New York Times, 15 April 1964
(34) EF Schumacher Small is Beautiful, London: Vintage 1993, p2-3
(35) Vandana Shiva ‘Resources’ in Wolfgang Sachs (ed), The Development Dictionary London: Zed, p209
(36) See Reith lectures 2000. Other lecturers that year included Gro Harlem Brundtland and Prince Charles.
(37) CS Lewis ‘The abolition of man’ in Herman E Daly (ed) Toward A Steady-State Economy, San Francisco: WH Freeman 1973, p330. Lewis himself was an evangelical Anglican rather than an environmentalist in the later sense
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