Mining coal is bad for the environment, but mining neodymium and other rare earth metals for wind turbines is equally polluting. And we can only guess if submerging complete ecosystems by building hydropower dams is less destructive. Social sustainability is enormously diverse and complex.
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It entails healthy circumstances for workers and decent wages. But an aspect like local welfare increase as opposed to multinationals exploiting local communities should definitely be included as well. Economic sustainability seems easy enough to measure. If a technology can be sold without subsidies it is sustainable, right?
Countries are progressing too slowly on green growth - OECD
But in most countries fossil fuels belong to the most heavily subsidized products. And which of these can be called economically sustainable?
The one that can be purchased cheapest by consumers? The question is: how do we deal with all these aspects? Can we balance all the pros and cons? And how do we do that?
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What we can do, is use the full matrix of available renewable electricity technologies and use them in the most sustainable way. Just by using logic. Solar panels on sloped roofs that are otherwise not used?
Yes, please! Wind turbines the North Sea with high impact on nature? Wind turbines on abandoned land with limited impact on nature? Hydropower with dams that submerge complete villages and arable land in Brazil?! Corn production for energy while we could produce food or feed? Off course not! Biomass residues for electricity production?
Electricity production from living plants while the plant grows while producing rice on the same surface? Yes, please. We want it all.
We want electricity for the whole world, at low cost, at low environmental impact, as soon as possible, with high return for the companies, with large local economic growth, with high shareholder value, easy to use for consumers, available always and everywhere. You know what? Depending on local subsidies and providers, one or more of these options will be available to you.
OECD Home Green growth and sustainable development Countries are progressing too slowly on green growth Green growth and sustainable development. See p.
China and the US extract the most non-energy raw materials followed by India and Brazil mostly biomass , and South Africa and Canada mostly metals. The Netherlands, the UK and Japan score highest in material productivity. Urban areas are growing rapidly, even in some already highly urbanised countries, and across the OECD built-up areas are growing faster than populations. Globally, an area the size of the UK has been converted to buildings since Building over land means a loss of agricultural terrain and biodiversity and has negative effects on the water cycle.
Air pollution remains dangerously high. A surge in innovation and green technologies in the early s boosted productivity and growth, but since inventive activity has slowed in all major technological areas related to the environment. Countries are making more use of environment-related taxes, but their contribution to total tax revenue has declined since