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UW Professor’s Book Assesses Progress in Achieving Sustainable Economies


September 24, 2012 — More than 20 years after the landmark book “Blueprint for a Green Economy” presented practical measures for “greening” modern economies, two of the book’s original authors have revisited and updated the 1989 work to assess what is needed to achieve sustainable development.

Edward Barbier, the John S. Bugas Professor of Economics at the University of Wyoming, is co-author of the updated work, “A New Blueprint for a Green Economy,” which once again emphasizes policies to achieve sustainability. Anil Markandya, scientific director at Spain’s Basque Centre for Climate Change and professor of economics at the University of Bath in Great Britain, is the other author.

The original book, Barbier says, was one of the first publications to explain why economics has a role in achieving sustainable economies. The authors laid out policies in three key areas: valuing the environment, accounting for the environment and incentives for environmental improvement.

“Although much has been accomplished, there is a need for a lot more to be done,” he says.

For example, Barbier says policy makers now recognize that the environment and the economy are not separate entities, and people have a better understanding of the environment’s importance for human health and well-being. There is now a much greater emphasis on looking at how man-made or natural disasters affect human welfare, he says. Threats of global warming, declines in major ecosystems, and fears over energy security have made sustainability goals even more vital.

“Where there is less progress is that we still view the environment as a luxury, that we can solve our economic problems first -- create jobs and wealth -- and then take care of environmental problems,” Barbier says. “In this book, we make it clear that the economy and the environment go hand in hand. How we manage the environment can influence the economy, and vice versa. There are opportunities to reduce unwanted environmental impacts and, at the same time, create more income, jobs and wealth.”

The book examines the progress in implementing policies and other measures to improve environmental valuation, accounting and incentives. It highlights the new policies and approaches needed for economic management of today's environmental concerns.

“A New Blueprint for a Green Economy” is published by Routledge of Taylor & Francis, which publishes books and journals on climate change, sustainable development and environmental technology for academic, professional and general readers.

Barbier has more than 25 years’ experience as an environmental and resource economist, working on natural resource and development issues as well as the interface between economics and ecology. He has served as a consultant and policy analyst for a variety of national, international and non-governmental agencies, including many United Nations organizations and the World Bank. He is on the editorial boards of several leading economics and natural science journals.

“A New Blueprint for a Green Economy” is the 21st book that he has written or edited.

Photo:
UW Economics Professor Ed Barbier is co-author of “A New Blueprint for a Green Economy,” the 21st book that he has written or edited.

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