Governance of economic transition: a scientific background document for the UN Global Sustainable Development Report 2019

The BIOS Research Unit was invited to produce a scientific background document on transformation of economies to support work on the UN Global Sustainable Development Report 2019.

What will happen during the oncoming years and decades when we enter the era of energy transition, combined with emission cuts, and start to witness more severe effects of climate change? What kind of economic understanding and governance models do we need, now that economies are undergoing dramatic rather than incremental change?

While economists typically emphasize carbon pricing as a policy tool for tackling climate change, natural scientists and multidisciplinary environmental research groups argue for more profound political engagement and proactive governance of economic transition.

It can be safely said that no widely applicable economic models have been developed specifically for the upcoming era. In the background document we highlight underutilized tenets of existing economic-theoretical thinking that can assist governments in channeling economies toward activity that causes a radically lighter burden on natural ecosystems and simultaneously ensures more equal opportunities for a good human life. Our focus is on the transition period, the next few decades.

The document builds on the multidisciplinary work of BIOS since its launch in Helsinki, Finland, in 2015. The main task of the research unit has been to study the effects of environmental and resource factors on Finnish society and to develop the anticipatory skills of citizens and decision-makers. In the background document we review existing socio-ecological-economic studies and utilize our own findings in the Finnish context to construct tools for governance of economic transition on the global level.

Download the background document.

For more information about the upcoming UN Global Sustainable Development Report 2019: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/globalsdreport/2019

For more information on the BIOS Research Unit: https://bios.fi/en

Corresponding author: Paavo Järvensivu, D.Sc. (Econ.), paavo.jarvensivu@bios.fi