Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2000

Abstract

When our pollution control statutes were drafted in the 1970s, smokestack sources sat squarely in these laws' regulatory cross hairs. Over the past few decades, however, manufacturing's relative importance has declined while the service sector has ascended to a position of dominance in America's economy. Yet consideration of services remains almost entirely absent from environmental law and policy scholarship. In this Article, Professor James Salzman addresses the implications for environmental protection of the service sector's ascent. Commentators have suggested that the ascent of services provides an important path toward sustainable development. In Part I of this Article, Salzman examines the phenomenon of deindustrialization, analyzing statistics on employment, productivity, and economic activity over the last three decades to describe the relative fortunes of the service and manufacturing sectors. He explores the physical implications of these developments and demonstrates two key findings at odds with common wisdom. First, despite the undeniable growth of services in employment and economic activity, manufacturing in America has not declined. Indeed, in absolute terms we are manufacturing more than ever before. Second, improvements in material intensity have been offset by increasing levels of economic activity. In Part II, Sal zman considers how best to reduce the environmental impacts of specific services, delineating two categories of services with distinct implications for law and policy--"smokestack services" and "cumulative services." In Part III, he employs a fundamentally different type of approach, focusing not on the impact of the services themselves but on their ability to reduce environmental impacts throughout product life cycles. Such "leverage services" raise intriguing possibilities for environmental protection because, while not necessarily causing significantenvironmental impact in their immediate activities, their commercial links provide a uniquely effective fulcrum to leverage environmental improvements upstream and downstream in the life cycle. This strategy of focusing on leverage services instead of the polluting activities themselves presents a novel vision of environental protection, moving from a narrow focus on production and disposal to energizing the web of commercial relationships.

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