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Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1858; doi:10.3390/su9101858

Natural Resource Economics, Planetary Boundaries and Strong Sustainability

Department of Economics, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1771, USA
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Received: 29 September 2017 / Revised: 13 October 2017 / Accepted: 15 October 2017 / Published: 17 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Resources Economics)
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Abstract

Earth systems science maintains that there are nine “planetary boundaries” that demarcate a sustainable, safe operating space for humankind for essential global sinks and resources. Respecting these planetary boundaries represents the “strong sustainability” perspective in economics, which argues that some natural capital may not be substituted and are inviolate. In addition, the safe operating space defined by these boundaries can be considered a depletable stock. We show that standard tools of natural resource economics for an exhaustible resource can thus be applied, which has implications for optimal use, price paths, technological innovation, and stock externalities. These consequences in turn affect the choice of policies that may be adopted to manage and allocate the safe operating space available for humankind. View Full-Text
Keywords: natural capital; natural resource economics; ecological economics; planetary boundaries; strong sustainability; weak sustainability; sustainable development natural capital; natural resource economics; ecological economics; planetary boundaries; strong sustainability; weak sustainability; sustainable development
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Barbier, E.B.; Burgess, J.C. Natural Resource Economics, Planetary Boundaries and Strong Sustainability. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1858.

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