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Dematerialization and capital maintenance : two sides of the sustainability coin

  • The reductionist trend of equalizing sustainable development with CO2 control needs to be reversed - notwithstanding the significance of climate change. Conventional, "compartmentalized" data systems impede an integrated vision and treatment of the paradigm. New accounts and balances focus on the interaction between environment and economy. "Greened" national accounts measure economic sustainability in terms of (produced and natural) capital maintenance; balances of material flows assess ecological sustainability as the dematerialization of production and consumption. Both concepts aim to preserve environmental assets. They differ however with regard to the scope, strength and evaluation of sustainability. First results for Germany indicateThe reductionist trend of equalizing sustainable development with CO2 control needs to be reversed - notwithstanding the significance of climate change. Conventional, "compartmentalized" data systems impede an integrated vision and treatment of the paradigm. New accounts and balances focus on the interaction between environment and economy. "Greened" national accounts measure economic sustainability in terms of (produced and natural) capital maintenance; balances of material flows assess ecological sustainability as the dematerialization of production and consumption. Both concepts aim to preserve environmental assets. They differ however with regard to the scope, strength and evaluation of sustainability. First results for Germany indicate weak sustainability of the economy, owing to an increasing capital base. Strong sustainability is not in sight, though, since material throughput has not been reduced sufficiently. An "Alliance for Sustainable Development" is proposed to implement and sustain the paradigm.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Document Type:Working Paper
Author:Peter Bartelmus
URN (citable link):https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:bsz:wup4-opus-13592
Publisher:Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie
Place of Publication:Wuppertal
Year of Publication:2002
Pagenumber:31
Series Title (English):Wuppertal papers
Volume:120
Language:English
Dewey Decimal Classification:600 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften
Abteilung:Abteilung Stoffströme und Strukturwandel
Licence:License LogoIn Copyright - Urheberrechtlich geschützt