Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA,  ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE (oxfordre.com/environmentalscience) (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2020. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 30 October 2020

Environmental Economics and the Anthropocenelocked

  • V. Kerry SmithV. Kerry SmithArizona State University

Summary

Geologists’ reframing of the global changes arising from human impacts can be used to consider how the insights from environmental economics inform policy under this new perspective. They ask a rhetorical question. How would a future generation looking back at the records in the sediments and ice cores from today’s activities judge mankind’s impact? They conclude that the globe has entered a new epoch, the Anthropocene. Now mankind is the driving force altering the Earth’s natural systems. This conclusion, linking a physical record to a temporal one, represents an assessment of the extent of current human impact on global systems in a way that provides a warning that all policy design and evaluation must acknowledge that the impacts of human activity are taking place on a planetary scale. As a result, it is argued that national and international environmental policies need to be reconsidered. Environmental economics considers the interaction between people and natural systems. So it comes squarely into conflict with conventional practices in both economics and ecology. Each discipline marginalizes the role of the other in the outcomes it describes. Market and natural systems are not separate. This conclusion is important to the evaluation of how (a) economic analysis avoided recognition of natural systems, (b) the separation of these systems affects past assessments of natural resource adequacy, and (c) policy needs to be redesigned in ways that help direct technological innovation that is responsive to the importance of nonmarket environmental services to the global economy and to sustaining the Earth’s living systems.

Subjects

  • Sustainability
  • Environmental Economics

You do not currently have access to this article

Login

Please login to access the full content.

Subscribe

Access to the full content requires a subscription