Chapter 1

Induced Technological Change andthe Environment: An Introduction

Arnulf Grübler, Nebojsa Nakicenovic, and William D. Nordhaus

Technology is a double-edged sword for the environment: it can amplify as well as alleviate the impacts of human activities. The role of technology was largely ignored in the first round of global modeling efforts in the early 1970s, but it has recently moved to the forefront of both science and policy in addressing climate change. The long time span involved in climate change—from decades to centuries—puts technological change “in the driver's seat,” because over long time periods technological systems are highly malleable, whereas in the short run they are largely inflexible.

A brief look at the history of ...

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