August 25, 2010 • Climate Change & Mitigation, Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Brian Czech for his article.

Ecological economics arose in the final decades of the 20th century out of concerns for
environmental protection and economic sustainability. It was largely a response to a real or
perceived lack of physical and biological underpinnings in neoclassical economics. It was also
intended to infuse economics with a moral philosophy, in contrast with the amoral implications of
neoclassical models portraying man as a rational, utility-maximizing automaton.

Ecological economics is a transdisciplinary endeavor, incorporating and synthesizing concepts and
findings from an array of natural and social sciences. Of particular importance are the laws of
thermodynamics and basic principles of ecology. Limits to economic growth are thoroughly
understood only via the first two laws of thermodynamics. The first law establishes that there is a
limit to the inputs required for economic production, and the second law establishes that there
are limits to the efficiency with which those inputs may be transformed into goods and services.

For full article, visit:

Brian responded to an article, “Key Issues for Attention by Ecological Economists” by Paul Ehrlich with the following email:

I heartily disagree with the way he classified ecological economics vis-a-vis environmental and natural resources economics/economists. This is an issue I have not only studied and thought about a lot (and wrote about in Shoveling Fuel and elsewhere), but have had much first-hand experience with as a member of ISEE, USSEE, AEA, etc. Therefore, I ask you to post the following UNESCO encyclopedia chapter to your group, preferably including this email as preface:

There are very good, political and policy-relevant reasons for illuminating the distinction between ecological and env/nr econ, as should be evident in the encyclopedia chapter.

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