Example Of Research Paper On Developing Economies Without Destroying Environment

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Environment, Innovation, Development, Production, Ecology, Solar Energy, Energy, Life

Pages: 8

Words: 2200

Published: 2021/03/31

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At the beginning of the last decade of the last century representatives of one hundred seventy nine countries gathered in Rio de Janeiro, where was reached an agreement on the need for joint actions within the paradigm of sustainable development. As defined by the World Commission on Environment and Development, the sustainable development is "mankind’s satisfaction guarantee of the present needs without damaging the ability of future generations to meet their own needs» (WCED. Our common future, 1987, p. 32). Resulting document of the World Forum, under the aegis of the United Nations, called "Agenda 21." The international community, based on the awareness of global threats to world civilization has developed program involving 2,500 types of agreed joint activities in one hundred fifty areas.
Note that the formation of the paradigm of sustainable development was preceded by the development of certain theoretical concepts, one of which is the theory of ecological modernization. This theory emerged in the early 80s of the last century, and its founder was a German scientist J.Huber, known for his work in the field of economic sociology. Huber believes that ecological modernization is to some extent inevitable stage in the development of industrial society after the onset of global environmental problems. He states that as a result of ecological modernization "dirty and ugly industrial caterpillar has to be transformed into ecological butterfly" (J. Huber, 1985, p.89).
Ecological modernization theory examines the relationship of the environment, production and consumption in industrialized societies. This theoretical concept focuses on the change regarding technological progress in the direction of environmentally adapted and thus demanded in future technologies. The environment should benefit from market competition. Within this framework, a crucial indicator of the competitiveness of the production becomes a response of manufacturers on environmental issues. Attention is focused on the possibility of ecological and economic win-win solutions, which can be achieved as a result of competition for innovation and cost reduction.
Driving force of ecological modernization as of systematic knowledge-based improvement of manufacturing processes is an environmental- friendly innovation. And the theory of ecological modernization is not limited to a narrow concept of innovation, considering it as a process of search and discovery, experimentation, development, imitation and adoption of new products, new processes and new organizational systems aimed at improving the quality of the environment. Ecological modernization theory differentiates the next types of environmental- friendly innovations: radical and incremental. Incremental innovation, ultimately, leads to diminishing returns, radical means a new path of development and is the basis for subsequent incremental innovation.

As noted by M. Jdnicke, " friendly to innovation ecosystem have certain specific characteristics:

• They are a response to specific problems on a global scale and therefore have a potential for international distribution;
• The process of distribution of such innovations is closely linked with the policy of the states as "green" markets are regulated as a rule by states and public organizations;
• May predict with certainty the increasing demand for such innovations with the growth of population, industrial production and an increase in the environmental pressure;
• There are many mechanisms for rapid advancement of environmental- friendly innovations to global markets through the activities of organizations such as the OECD, the World Bank, Greenpeace "(M .: Jdnicke, 1988, p. 67).
Taking into account the following characteristics of environmental- friendly innovations, it is possible to say that they are not among the losers in the globalization process. Examples of such innovations are achievements in biotechnology, energy efficiency, use of renewable energy, eco-design, recycling technologies.
For example there is a brand new direction in the field of biotechnology called bioremediation which is based on the effect of microorganisms on the contaminated environment (air, water, soil). This technology makes it possible to break down organic explosives, pesticides, herbicides; degrade hazardous waste.
Innovations in energy efficiency are initiated by many international agreements, one of which is the Kyoto Protocol, 1997. This document defined mechanisms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 5% in 2008-2012. In February 2003, the British government issued a White Paper on energy, establishing a base of economic transition to a low-carb basis. The main part of this program is the development of renewable energy sources. By 2010, the United Kingdom had provided an increase in the share of such energy sources in total up to 10%. The main mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol for developing countries is the granting low-interest loans in exchange for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
In international practice in the context of the requirements of sustainable development, there are concepts such as factor 4 and factor 10. This is a kind of factors that indicate how many times the need to reduce consumption of resources for the manufacturing of a production unit, to improve the quality of life in doubling the population. And 4 - is the minimum factor, 10 is the coefficient for industrialized countries that consume energy in the 20 - 30 times more than other countries. In this direction, better engines of energy consumption management system are being developed for the co-production of energy and heat.
Since the early 90s of the twentieth century the world has increased interest in the use of renewable energy sources. For example, in Denmark were build wind farms, in Iceland geothermal stations, Greece, France, Spain, and Portugal - the solar stations. The United Kingdom government funded the construction of Europe's largest power plant running on biogas, where poultry factories’ wastes are used as biomass. The annual power of plant is 38.5 MW.
In addition, the eco-design of products is called to reduce the impact on the environment throughout the whole life cycle. An example of this is the production of the Phillips Company’s strategy, developed in the early 90-ies of XX century. Currently, half of the corporation production sites operate in accordance with ISO 14001 standards. Fluorescent tubes produced by the company are made in such a way that after the end of the life time the materials, that they are made of, can be recovered and reused.
Examples of recycling technologies are well known in the production of paper and glass. Thus, the newly produced paper in Holland is 77%made of waste paper; in Switzerland 89% of the glass industry production is from previously used materials. The German company Siemens together with Nixdorf opened a manufacturing site recycling obsolete computer products of these firms in 1993. They buy and recycle all previously sold products from small personal computers to large, specially designed for customers’ systems.
Ecological modernization is based on the use of incremental and radical innovations in the "cleaner production". This is a step forward comparing to existing approaches "end of the pipe treatment" in the direction of pollution prevention. The proposed approach refers to each stage of the production process to one side and covers the entire product life cycle on other.
Whilst this is true, the "cleaner production" imposes certain requirements on the manufacturing process as well as the product's effect on the environment. During the production process should be applied technologies that reduce the consumption of raw materials, energy, using non-toxic raw materials that reduce the amount and toxicity of waste. "Cleaner production" means the manufacturing of products with lower environmental impacts throughout the life cycle. However, the "cleaner production" has the following features. First, it is based on cleaner technologies (implying a reduction of consumption of toxic substances, natural raw materials, energy). Secondly, it is aimed at creating cleaner products (non-toxic, energy-saving, requiring minimal packaging, durable and repairable). Third, this production implies recyclability (collection of waste products by the manufacturer, the recovery of raw materials, waste minimization). And finally, aims to maintain biological diversity (respect for the right to life, the careful handling of genetically engineered living within environmental budget).
An essential condition for the implementation of the approach "cleaner production" is the partnership with the community, based on transparency, allowing more fully discuss the possible implications of scientific discoveries from the point of view of sustainable development. The end result of this approach is to reduce the consumption of natural resources while maintaining the quality of life, the transition to the circulation economy.
Framework of the "cleaner production" aimed at implementing the principle of eco-efficiency, in other words, increase based on the competitive advantage of productivity costs of energy and materials in order to reduce resource consumption and pollution per unit of output.
"Cleaner production" approach is closely related to the analysis of the product life cycle, aimed at environmentally sound and efficient production, use, reuse and recycling. The result of the life cycle analysis should be "green" labels award to products and services that meet the requirements of "cleaner production".
Ecological modernization theorists realize that the approach described above is not sufficient for long-term stabilization of the environment. There are at least two reasons for this conclusion. First of all, measures such as the transfer of environmentally hazardous industries in developing countries or the use of cleaner internal combustion engines in terms of economic growth are of diminishing returns speaking of sustainable development. Secondly, the introduction of the "cleaner production" principles has a negative impact on the economy of losing in ecological modernization industries (such as fuel and raw materials industries, the traditional energy sector), causing their opportunistic behavior. Such a reaction is natural, due to absence of alternative perspectives it is an economically and socially logical application of unacceptable ways to resist ecological modernization.
Therefore, the theory of ecological modernization is considered more radical scenario for the distant future - ecological restructuring of the industry, which means that the complete closure of polluting industries, primarily associated with the production and use of hydrocarbon and nuclear fuel. To date, however, this approach is almost utopian, as it requires significant advances in technology and changes in the field of human values.
As noted earlier, the discussed theoretical concept covers not only the sphere of production, but the sphere of consumption. Reflections of ecological modernization consumption theorists are closely linked with the conclusions of the famous American sociologist R.Inglehart, who describes the two directions of the advanced industrial societies’ trajectory: " a place of economic achievements as a top priority at the moment in postmodern society occupies an increasing emphasis the quality of life. Regulations in majority of industrial society standards, with their focus on discipline, self-assertion and achievements, give way to an increasingly broad freedom of individual choice of life goals and individual self-expression. The shift from the "materialist" values, with an emphasis on economic and physical security, to the values ​​of "post-materialist", with a focus on the problems of individual self-expression and quality of life is the most fully documented aspect of this change"(R.Inglehart, 1997, p.118).
The basis of such R. Inglehart’s allegations is empirical evidence database of "World Values Survey" in which there is accumulated data of economic and sociological observations for forty three countries for the period of 1970-1995 of the twentieth century. For the interpretation of the obtained results R. Inglehart uses the theory of intergenerational values change, according to which the generation formed in the context of economic and physical security, reveals significant differences in value priorities. For example, R. Inglehart argues that " in the economic field existential security leads to increased emphasis on subjective well-being and quality of life, becoming for many higher priority than economic growth. Rod goal of economic achievements remain positive in value terms, but their relative importance is reduced. There is also a gradual shift in the motivation of people to work: to maximize the received income and job security focus shifted towards more urgent request for an interesting and meaningful work "(R.Inglehart, 1997, p. 215].
Just as R. Inglehart, proponents of the theory of ecological modernization ascertain the high importance of the quality of life parameters for the developed countries’ population. Ecological modernization theorists believe that with the improvement of public welfare people tend to identify themselves not by the criterion of professional affiliation, but the nature of individual consumption. Lifestyle choices, intergroup communication, identity formation are increasingly linked with the process of consumption in recent years. Therefore, the nomination of the individuals’ requirements for environmental cleanliness products, processes and financial willingness to vote for these changes is a powerful incentive for the introduction of environmental- friendly innovations.
A further aspect of the ecological modernization theory is focused on the role of national and international institutions and promoting the formation of policy in the field of environment. As mentioned earlier, a key aspect of the theory is the promotion of radical and incremental innovation in the environmental field. Of course, modern industry focused on the goals of profitability and limited to certain trajectories of development, is more likely to accept the "treatment of end of pipe" technology than "cleaner production". Therefore some long-term policy of national states is required, which is coordinated in scale of the global community in the context of sustainable development, aimed at changing attitudes of industrial enterprises to the objectives and results of production.
One of the examples of joint action of scientists from Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and the United Kingdom as part of yet approach to technology "treatment of end of pipe" is a demercurization project of Pavlodar Chemical Plant (Kazakhstan) territory. After years of leaks under the territory of mercury electrolysis shop factory has accumulated 970 tons of the substance. The actual allowable limit of mercury concentration in industrial sump water Bylkyldak was exceeded 24 thousand times.
It is important to emphasize that if the earlier environmental standards were set by countries such as the USA, Japan, the initiative is now increasingly coming from European countries. National environmental policy may affect the supply and demand within native country and abroad. Therefore, it is time for adoption of laws of the new generation (one of which should be the Environmental Code), aimed at creating a social psychology of society and provide effective mechanisms to improve the environment.
Such a policy must necessarily include governmental expenditure on R&D in the field of environmental protection and provide funding for specific research priorities. For example, in the European Union 5th Framework Programme is currently developed of research work for the sustainable development goals with a budget of more than $ 2 billion euro.
Of course, this policy should be oriented on partnerships of all stakeholders: government, private sector, non-governmental organizations, international organizations and consumers.
The difference of environment policy now from previous years is the complexity of the concept of sustainable development. As a long-term mission, policy should also have a similar structure, providing society with sufficient freedom of action long-term objectives. In addition, sustainable development implies the interaction of a large number of stakeholders and policy must coordinate their actions. Moreover, the concept of sustainable development is not static and is subject to changes over time.
It can thus be concluded that the theory of ecological modernization allows understanding of the relationships between nature and society, and offers a number of measures to change the destructive nature of these relationships. Importantly, the theory focuses not only on production but on consumption as directed ultimately to transform society in the context of protecting the environment. From the point of view of the effectiveness of the proposed measures in theory, it is more applicable to the practice of developed countries, but environmental problems in developing countries, in the context of globalization have a significant impact on the sustainability of global development.


WCED. Our common future. Oxford University Press, 1987.
Huber J. Die Regenbogengesellschaft: Ukologie und Sozialpolitik (The Rainbow Society: Ecology and Social Politics), Fisher Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 1985.
Jdnicke M. Ecological Modernization: Innovation and Diffusion of Policy and Technology. Pinter Publishers, London, 1988.
Inglehart R. Modernization and Postmodernization. Cultural Economic and Political Change in 43 Societies, Princeton, Princeton Univ. Press, 1997.
Sampson, Gary P., and W. Bradnee Chambers, eds. 1999. Trade, Environment, and the Millennium. Tokyo etc.: United Nations Press.
York, R., and Rosa, Key challenges to ecological modernization theory, Organization and Environment, E.A., 2003.
Heike Hermanns. Ecological Modernization and the Development of Emissions Trading Schemes in Australia and South Korea. 2015
Wright, Jeanette Marie ; Kurian, Priya A., Ecological modernization versus sustainable development: the case of genetic modification regulation in New Zealand, 2009
Lockie, Stewart, David A. Sonnenfeld, and Dana R. Fisher. Routledge International Handbook of Social and Environmental Change. London and New York: Routledge eds. 2014

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