Visions of the Future Revisited We are mankind because we survive. We have come full circle. During our various inquiries we got useful sights about individual environmental & natural resource problems Now, let us combine those insights and assess Addressing the Issue In the beginning : if demand is & supply is finite resources will exhaust & society will collapse Price is not the only factor that retards demand growth – ↓ population plays a significant role too Characterising resource base as finite is harsh – ignores existence of renewable resources, focuses attention to wrong issues – supports ill-conceived attempts to measure size of resource base “There is energy everywhere. Choose the renewable one. Mother earth‟s resources will never get over, as long as you do your bit.” Prices are going down but technology is improving. – competition ↑ and we can afford to sell at lower prices Historically, very little evidence supports a fear of impeding scarcity of minerals – extraction costs ↓ How long will this continue? Errors made by both – those who understate adequacy of resources & those who point to abundance The problem is not finiteness but it is the way they are managed Either pessimistic or optimistic views are wrong – improper incentives & inadequate information are serious – considering unlimited resources is equally wrong Plenty are available if we are ready to pay price – need to transition to renewable / recyclable resources has already begun Institutional Responses Markets have responded quickly to deal with scarcity & showing prices Substitution encouraged – recycling growing – consumers‟ habits changing Government intervention needed to ensure that the firm which neglects environmental damage in their operating decisions do not gain a competitive edge Each problem to be treated case by case Sustainable Development Economic growth in individual nationsis due to in inputs & technological progress Empirical evidence shows that • Environmental control – no large impact on the economy as a whole • Environmental policy has contributed more jobs than it has cost • Has triggered just a little in the rate of inflation & mild reduction in growth Respecting environment is incompatible with healthy economy is demonstrably wrong „All people automatically benefit by growth‟ is naive New forms of development will be necessary Economic incentive approach to environment – incentives changed by fees or charges, by liability laws or transferable permits Public policy & sustainable development should support each other – govt should send right signals through markets Global problems – creative policies A good partnership between public & private sectors Current NI accounting system is wrong as doesn‟t measure welfare – not considering damage done to natural resources that is irreversible Concluding comments United responsibility Cannot catch every offender – high degree of voluntary compliance is necessary for smooth working of system Producers – safety of their products understand our responsibility as consumers – purchases to reflect environmental values in such away that market moves in right direction We are at the end of an era and also at the beginning of the other Future holds transformation in many ways Obstacles will be there as they are today too, but we are making progress, for sure!!