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New Technologies and Environmental Innovation

New Technologies and Environmental Innovation

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Book DescriptionIn this insightful book, Joseph Huber investigates the life cycle analysis of technological and environmental innovations (TEIs). TEIs are new technologies, products and practices which have benign environmental effects and which can increase eco-efficiency. More importantly, they can also improve ‘metabolic consistency’, thus laying the foundations for a sustainable industrial ecology.

The author studies a large number of TEIs from a variety of diverse fields including energy, agriculture, chemistry, biotechnology, materials re/processing, construction, vehicles and consumer goods. He finds that TEIs can offer real and sustainable solutions to almost all of today’s environmental problems. However, for this to happen the author calls for a paradigm shift from ‘downstream’ to ‘upstream’ in the manufacturing chain and technologies’ life cycles, and a corresponding shift in environmental policy from command-and-control regulation to coordinated innovation. By understanding the potential of TEIs within the vertical product chain and innovation life cycles, the author is able to specify appropriate environmental standards and policy instruments which would otherwise remain unfocused and diffuse.

By combining the sustainability approaches of ‘sufficiency’ and ‘eco-efficiency’ with the concept of ‘metabolic consistency’, this book opens up new horizons for ecological modernization. It will prove valuable reading for academics and students of the social and technical sciences with an interest in environmental technology. Researchers and practitioners of industrial innovation will also gain useful insights, as will policymakers and environmental analysts in government, businesses and NGOs.