The Impact of New Technologies on the Environment

Joly A & Bandelier M (1988). The Impact of New Technologies on the Environment. IIASA Working Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: WP-88-043

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Abstract

One of the objectives of IIASA's Study "Future Environments for Europe: Some Implications of Alternative Development Paths" is to characterize the large-scale and long-term environmental transformations that could be associated with plausible scenarios of Europe's socio-economic development over the next century. The purpose of this task is to help foresee potentially serious environmental problems before they actually occur. This Working Paper is an important contribution toward that goal.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the linkages between technologies and their long-term effects on the environment require more careful attention and forethought than has been the case in the past. The socio-economic benefits of technologies are usually proportional to their scale of application, and the rewards are reaped almost instantaneously. The problem, however, is that the "disbenefits", in terms of ecological degradation, often very nonlinearly with the scale of application, and are manifested on relatively slow time scales. The danger of this syndrome is that the technology may tend to become entrenched over time, making it difficult for adjustment or change by the time the disbenefits become manifest.

Therefore, this timely paper should be of interest to all those who ponder the long-term trade-offs between technological development and environmental degradation.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Research Programs: Environment Program - Core (ENC)
Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 01:59
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2016 07:33
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/3162

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