Economic Sustainability

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By Steve Jones

A turtle-friendly permit system

In 1975 John Miranowski joined the Iowa State economics faculty with a keen interest in what is now commonly called "sustainable" and "environmentally friendly" practices. Today he still is involved with policy issues that relate to "green" initiatives, particularly biofuels.

His economics research looks at topics such as biofuel supply costs, ethanol plant investments and biofuel projections under different oil-price scenarios. Miranowski, who has been involved in green issues on campus for many years, thinks sustainably. But he is also an objective economist.

"What has always been important to me is that whatever technology we’re adopting or promoting, it has to be economically sustainable as well as environmentally sustainable," he said. "It cannot be a great idea if it does not work within the system."

Sometimes groups don’t always agree with his projections, which they say can make it difficult to enact new policies. Miranowski will remind them it is not his job to get new policies or laws approved. "Mine is to estimate what all of this will cost relative to benefits."

Read more:

Environmental Sustainability – Kristen Hofmockel believes the way to help our atmosphere above is to look underground

Societal Sustainability – Addressing the critical need to increase the willingness to access mental health services among military personnel

Cover story – Seeking a Sustainable Balance