somewhat harder to measure, but are generally thought to be higher than direct rebounds, and estimates of macro-economic rebound range from 15%- 350% (Dimitropoulos, 2007). The huge range here again points to differences in methodological assumptions. Without entering into the intricacies of the complex empirical and theoretical debates, it is fair to say that despite the uncertainties, there is broad agreement that rebound effects exist and that they are significant . The benefits of tech nology are almost always less than presumed , and in fact, at times efficiency improvements can lead to more , not less, resources being consumed overall . What seems to be far less widely appreciated, however, is that when efficiency gains occur within a paradigm of growth economics, there is little to no chance of absolute decoupling occurring (Herring, 2009; Huesemann and Huesemann, 2011; Trainer, 2012). This is partly due to rebound effects, and partly due to the inherent structure of growth economics . It will now be shown that in order to achieve the absolute decoupling required for sustainability, efficiency gains must be governed , not by an imperative to grow, but by an economics of sufficiency . No incentive to develop sustainable tech—political institutions are too slow Speth 8 [James Gustave Speth, law professor, Served as President Jimmy Carter’s White House environmental adviser and as head of the United Nations’ largest agency for international development Prof at Vermont law school, former dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, former Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, teaching environmental and constitutional law, former Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality in the Executive Office of the President, co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council, The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability , ISBN: 9780300145304, EBrary, pg. 114-5] The needed rates of tech nological improvement are thus high , and they must be continuously sustained . And there are many , many areas where such technological changes must occur , beyond those affecting carbon dioxide emissions — in agriculture, construction, manufacturing, transportation, and elsewhere . In the carbon dioxide example, almost half the required rate of change is needed simply to compensate for the effects of economic growth. It is like running up a down escalator— a very fast down escalator . Perhaps it can be done . I am doubtful,10 but here is a key point: it is not being done today , and no government that I know of is systematically , adequately promoting the universal , rapid , and sustained penetration of green tech nology , at home and abroad, on the scale required . Governments are , however, profoundly committed to promoting growth . Real speed is required for technological change to stay well ahead of growth, but the social and political institutions that can create the incentives for rapid technological change can be slow to respond , as can the needed science and technology . The development of international environmental law and regulation is painfully slow
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