Decoupling 2 : technologies, opportunities and policy options

von Weizsäcker, Ernst Ulrich, de Larderel, Jacqueline Aloisi, Hargroves, Karlson, Hudson, Christian, Smith, Michael Harrison, Rodrigues, Maria Amelia Enriquez, Manalang, Anna Bella Siriban, Urama, Kevin, Suh, Sangwon, Swilling, Mark, Salem, Janet, Halada, Kohmei, Leuenberger, Heinz, Desha, Cheryl, Reeve, Angie, & Sparks, David (2014) Decoupling 2 : technologies, opportunities and policy options. United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi.

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This report was produced by the Decoupling Working Group of the International Resource Panel. It explores technological possibilities and opportunities for both developing and developed countries to accelerate decoupling and reap the environmental and economic benefits of increased resource productivity. It also examines several policy options that have proved to be successful in helping different countries to improve resource productivity in various sectors of their economy, avoiding negative impacts on the environment.

It does not seem possible for a global economy based on the current unsustainable patterns of resource use to continue into the future. The economic consequences of these patterns are already apparent in three areas: increases in resource prices, increased price volatility and disruption of environmental systems. The environment impacts of resource use are also leading to potentially irreversible changes to the world’s ecosystems, often with direct effects on people and the economy – for example through damage to health, water shortages, loss of fish stocks or increased storm damage.

But there are alternatives to these scary patterns. Many decoupling technologies and techniques that deliver resource productivity increases as high as 5 to 10-fold are already available, allowing countries to pursue their development strategies while significantly reducing their resource footprint and negative impacts on the environment.

This report shows that much of the policy design “know-how” needed to achieve decoupling is present in terms of legislation, incentive systems, and institutional reform. Many countries have tried these out with tangible results, encouraging others to study and where appropriate replicate and scale up such practices and successes.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 72633
Item Type: Report
Refereed: No
ISBN: 9789280733839
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING (090700) > Environmental Engineering not elsewhere classified (090799)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > ENGINEERING DESIGN (120400) > Engineering Systems Design (120404)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Higher Education (130103)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ECONOMICS (140000) > APPLIED ECONOMICS (140200) > Economic Development and Growth (140202)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright United Nations Environment Programme 2014
Copyright Statement: This publication may be reproduced in whole or in part and in any form for educational or nonprofit purposes without
special permission from the copyright holder, provided acknowledgement of the source is made.
UNEP would appreciate receiving a copy of any publication that uses this publication as a source. No use of this
publication may be made for resale or for any other commercial purpose whatsoever without prior permission in writing
from the United Nations Environment Programme.
Deposited On: 09 Jun 2014 23:10
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2014 00:55

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