Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Economic growth and the environment

Everett, Tim and Ishwaran, Mallika and Ansaloni, Gian Paolo and Rubin, Alex (2010): Economic growth and the environment.

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Abstract

As the UK economy emerges from the downturn, attention is shifting to how best to return it to sustained and durable economic growth. But what does sustained and durable economic growth mean in the context of the natural environment? The UK and the global economy face significant environmental challenges, from averting dangerous climate change to halting biodiversity loss and protecting our ecosystems. There has been debate over whether it is possible to achieve economic growth whilst also tackling these challenges. This paper does not try to answer the question of what the sustainable level of economic growth might be, but instead examines the link between economic growth and the environment, and the role of environmental policy in managing the provision and use of natural assets. Many question the value of continued growth in GDP, given its limitations – including as a measure of wellbeing – and some evidence of its diminishing benefits within rich countries. However, it remains essential to support continued improvements in factors that affect people’s wellbeing, from health and employment to education and quality of life, and to help the government deliver on a range of policy objectives – economic, social, and environmental.

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