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Escalation of commitment to fossil fuels

Katherine D. Arbuthnott and Brett Dolter

Ecological Economics, 2013, vol. 89, issue C, 7-13

Abstract: The use of fossil fuels has been a great boon to human civilization. However, given the issue of climate change, it has become clear that this is a time-limited strategy and that we will at some point need to severely curtail, and perhaps ultimately eliminate, this strategy of meeting our energy needs. Given this long-term perspective, the authors argue that continued public investment in fossil fuel industries and infrastructures reflects escalation of commitment, continued investment in a failing strategy. In this context, this paper reviews the research on escalation of commitment and factors that encourage de-escalation, highlighting strategies that citizens can use to encourage politicians and public administrators to protect long-term civic well-being by shifting investments away from fossil fuel industries.

Keywords: Escalation of commitment; Sunk cost; Energy investment; Path dependency (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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