Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 495225
Title What if solar energy becomes really cheap? A thought experiment on environmental problem shifting
Author(s) Bergh, Jeroen Van den; Folke, Carl; Polasky, Stephen; Scheffer, Marten; Steffen, Will
Source Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 14 (2015). - ISSN 1877-3435 - p. 170 - 179.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2015.05.007
Department(s) Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management
WIMEK
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2015
Abstract

Solving one environmental problem may often invoke or intensify another one. Such environmental problem shifting (EPS) is a neglected topic in global sustainability research. Indeed, it is difficult to study as it requires the merging of insights from various research areas. Here we identify relevant studies, and provide an illustration and guidelines for the systematic study of EPS. As a modest thought experiment to illustrate the relevance of EPS, we consider solutions to scarcity of energy resources and climate change that, due to their extreme nature, may lead to considerable environmental problem shifting. We qualitatively assess the likely environmental and socioeconomic impacts of three hypothetical energy futures to highlight the possibility that as we resolve one environmental problem, another may be aggravated. We further present a set of guidelines to study EPS in a systematic and focused way. Here we stress that shifting can be mediated by biophysical as well as socioeconomic mechanisms, which means that its analysis requires a genuine interdisciplinary effort.

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