Although present day politics seems to be preoccupied with questions of economic growth and full employment, the basic environmental problems stemming from the interactions of the economic sphere with global, regional and local environments persist and will have an even greater impact in the future. If economy and ecology are not reconciled in the years to come, mankind will not have a sustainable future on Earth. The typical negation of environmental problems in times of economic crisis is partially due to the fact that environmental and health damages of economic activities are neither priced nor included in our market price system. This allows politicians to focus their attention on insufficient economic indicators which do not reflect the actual development of the welfare of society. If economic lead indicators like GDP or balance of trade figures were better integrated with information on the environmental and health costs caused by the seemingly beneficial economic development, politicians might have better guidance as to what policy choices would benefit society most.
Environmental costs of electric power generation are receiving increasing attention as an important input to planning and decision processes. Since the outstart of the discussion on the monetized environmental costs of electricity in 1988 a number of studies have been conducted on the subject, producing partially contradictory results. Simultaneously political action has resulted from the first stage on this discussion process. In Germany the higher rates which have to be payed to autoproducers based on renewable energy sources have been explicitly justified by the existence of external environmental costs of conventional electricity generation. At the same time some state regulatory commissions in the United States have introduced adders for environmental costs in the utility planning process. This book reports on the first international workshop on the subject, bringing together practically all experts in the field of research and political implementation from the United States and Germany, the two pioneering countries. The more than thirty contributed papers contained in this volume give the most comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the field. Some papers already outline the future course of research by giving an overview over some major research projects, which have just started.
Important progress has been made in recent years in the valuation of social costs of energy and transport. This progress has encouraged the insight that systems of "Green Accounting" considering social costs and policy instruments for the internalization of social costs are necessary tools to realize the worldwide goal of sustainable development. This workshop report provides an excellent survey of the latest results of social costs in the energy and transport sector. Further, the theoretical framework of social costs is extended to a broader concept of sustainable development. Finally, concepts and first experiences of the internalization of social costs e.g. through least cost planning or an ecological tax reform are reviewed.
Fair and efficient pricing has become increasingly important in international environmental and transport policy. Thus the valuation and internalization of social costs is now a crucial element within strategies towards sustainable mobility. The book provides methods and results from major European and American studies evaluating both social costs of transport and first experiences with their internalization in different contexts: infrastructure planning, urban road pricing and highway tolling. Additionally, complementary non-monetary instruments for a transition towards sustainable mobility are presented and discussed.
This volume is a companion to The Law of Energy for Sustainable Development. Here the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law assembles a volume of legal instruments which can be recognized as constituting the core of the law of energy for sustainable development. It will be an essential reference for all those involved in environmental and energy research.