This article uses the concept of “Industrial Revolution” to underline the extraordinary speed and the global scale of ecological modernization (EM). The focus is on clean energy technologies, the core of this dynamic change. In several countries there is not only an unexpected speed of clean energy diffusion but also a policy feedback, indicated by more ambitious targets. The highest degree of change so far has been achieved by the power sector of the European Union. Beyond environment and climate related concerns there are two main explaining factors: first, the polycentric system of multi-level global governance as a “multi-impulse system” supporting a broad innovation and lesson-drawing; second, the lesson to be learned is about the co-benefits of EM which can be attractive for relevant actors. There are however clear limits of the current state of EM regarding its environmental effectiveness and its distributional equity. Ecological modernization needs to be completed by structural change away from resource-intensive and environmentally disruptive branches, infrastructures and life styles. This remains a big challenge.
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Jänicke, M. (2017): Ecological Modernization as Global Industrial Revolution. - Journal of Environmental Policy and Administration, 25, p. 1-32.DOI: http://doi.org/10.15301/jepa.2017.25.S.1
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