In essence, ecological modernization refers to a specific type of foresighted and preventive environmental policy, which is closely related to the precautionary principle and, therefore, involves long-term structural change of the patterns of production and consumption. The agenda for ecological modernization, and for an associated ecological tax reform, was promoted by scientists outside of the economics profession, but helped breathe new life into the dormant discipline of environmental economics. In recent years, much of the debate on the opportunities of ecological modernization have been ‘captured’ by economists, who tend to perceive it in the vein of conventional efficiency measures. In view of the serious environmental problems facing the global community in the 21st century, ecological modernization as a concept, in our opinion, only makes sense if reserved for a reference to more radical structural changes that promote ecological consistency rather than ordinary efficiency.
Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, 2000, p. 337-345