Factor X pp 249-273 | Cite as

Reducing Resource Consumption – A Proposal for Global Resource and Environmental Policy

  • Paul EkinsEmail author
  • Bernd Meyer
  • Friedrich Schmidt-Bleek
  • Friedrich Schneider
Part of the Eco-Efficiency in Industry and Science book series (ECOE, volume 29)


Environmental and resource economics do not give the emphasis to ecosystem functions and the natural world that their importance to human welfare and the economy warrant. Insights from ecological economics, in contrast, suggest that the overall material throughput of the economy, in addition to the wastes it emits to air, sea and land, need to be greatly reduced. While environmental economics suggests that market-based instruments would be an efficient means of achieving both resource and environmental objectives, there are in fact many reasons, revealed by Public Choice analysis, why these are not implemented. Notwithstanding, it seems likely that, to address the pressing resource and environmental challenges facing humanity, policies will need to be implemented at both the international and national levels. This paper suggests that existing climate policy, based on international targets and national policies to meet them, could be supplemented by a similar policy on resource use, involving: either a global level of taxation to meet resource use targets, with transfers to poorer countries to aid their resource-efficient development; or a global resource permit trading scheme, with diminishing resource allowances over time. The latter could begin with a small group of larger, industrialised countries, which encouraged others to join the group by imposing taxes on imports from non-members equivalent to their own self-imposed resource surcharges. Coupled to a regime of Sustainable Commodity Agreements, to promote environmentally sound resource extraction, such a system could lead over time to the globally sustainable development which has as yet quite eluded the global community.


Environmental Policy Climate Policy Environmental Taxis Emission Trading System Tradable Permit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Ekins
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bernd Meyer
    • 2
  • Friedrich Schmidt-Bleek
    • 3
  • Friedrich Schneider
    • 4
  1. 1.UCL Energy InstituteUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Gesellschaft für Wirtschaftliche Strukturforschung mbHOsnabrückGermany
  3. 3.Factor 10 InstituteBerlinGermany
  4. 4.Department of EconomicsJohannes Kepler University LinzLinzAustria

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