Environmental Sustainability as a Goal in Resource Planning and Policy

Resource planning and policy must consider impacts on the quality of our environment. Economic theory offers both a basis for environmental policy—the allocation of resources based upon individuals’ willingness to pay—and instruments for achieving policy goals, for example emissions taxes and pollution trading systems. This paper points out some of the shortcomings of an economic-based approach, particularly when used as the basis for environmental policy. It calls for a shift to an approach in which sustainability is emphasized.