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Economics forever

Natural disasters are increasing, many of them intensified by human activities. At the same time, protests such as the ones at the December 1999 World Trade Organisation meeting in Seattle highlight concerns that economic growth based on free trade is having negative impacts on society and the environment, especially in poorer countries.

The relatively new discipline of ‘green economics' is seeking to address questions such as how to slow down the rate at which we exploit the earth, while still providing a decent standard of living for all the world's present and future people.

This briefing outlines some of the different ways being tried – by governments, citizens, industries, researchers and international development agencies – to make the environment count in economic planning, and to find the elusive path to sustainable growth.

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