Governance of Environment-Enhancing Technical change - past experiences and suggestions for improvement

Kemp, René (2000). Governance of Environment-Enhancing Technical change - past experiences and suggestions for improvement. UNU-MERIT Research Memoranda. UNU-MERIT.

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  • Sub-type Working paper
    Author Kemp, René
    Title Governance of Environment-Enhancing Technical change - past experiences and suggestions for improvement
    Series Title UNU-MERIT Research Memoranda
    Volume/Issue No. 13
    Publication Date 2000-03
    Place of Publication Maastricht
    Publisher UNU-MERIT
    Pages 28
    Language eng
    Abstract There is much talk about environmental policies being faulty. Past policies are being criticised for failing to achieve environmental goals (the environmentalist complaint), for being overly expensive (the industrialist complaint) and for failing to encourage innovation and dynamic efficiency (the complaint of economists dealing with innovation). This paper looks at the innovation and technology adoption effects of past environmental policies. It finds indeed few examples of environmental policies that stimulated innovation. The common technology response is the use of expensive end-of-pipe solutions and incremental process changes offering limited environmental gains. This begs the question: why did the policies fail to promote more radical innovation and dynamic efficiency? One explanation—well-recognised in the economic literature—is the capture of government policies by special interests. This paper offers a second explanation—based on innovation and technology adoption studies— which says that in order to have a decisive and socially beneficial influence policy instruments must be fine-tuned to the circumstances in which sociotechnical change processes occur and tip the balance. Within this alternative view, the starting point of government interventions is the capabilities, interests, interdependencies and games of social actors around an environmental problem instead of the set of environmental policy instruments for achieving an environmental goal. The paper sees a need for government authorities to be explicitly concerned with technical change (rather than implicitly through a change in the economic frame conditions) and to be concerned with institutional arrangements beyond the choice of policy instruments, and act as a change agent. This requires different roles for policy makers: that of a sponsor, planner, regulator, matchmaker, alignment actor and ‘creative game regulator’. The paper offers two perspectives on environmental policy: an instrument one and a modulation one. The latter is especially important for promoting innovation and bringing about radical change, something which is very difficult with traditional regulatory instruments. Instruments for promoting environment-enhancing technical change are appraised and suggestions are offered for the purposes for which different policy instruments may be used in differing economic contexts.
    UNBIS Thesaurus ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY
    SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
    INNOVATIONS
    ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
    Copyright Holder The Author
    Copyright Year 2000
    Copyright type All rights reserved
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