Pathways to a Sustainable Europe

  • Jörg Huffschmid


The difficulties of articulating and implementing environmental policy in the EU (and elsewhere) demonstrate the dilemma of an economy and of a society dependent on the supply of fossil energy to achieve productivity increases, to improve competitiveness and to stimulate economic growth. Given the dominant technological trajectory, it is very likely that alternative renewable energies and technical devices will only permit slower growth, with more decentralized economic structures and smaller units of production. The transition to renewable energies requires the establishment of a new time-and-space regime. Therefore ecological sustainability is not simply compatible with economic sustainability, taking the dominant paradigm of production and consumption, of labour and life conditions for granted. The ‘win-win’ constellation, centrepiece of the environmental policy of the EU Commission, will therefore not be easily achieved and may turn out to be impossible. The basic assumption of a reconciliation between environmental requirements and economic necessities has to be replaced by a policy concept which aims in the long run not only at increasing the efficiency of ecological transformations (‘efficiency revolution’) but also at the transformation of production and consumption patterns (‘sufficiency revolution’), including transport systems, urban structures, agricultural systems and — last but not least — day-to-day human behaviour.


Renewable Energy Environmental Policy Precautionary Principle United Nations Environmental Programme Fossil Energy 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jörg Huffschmid
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BremenGermany

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