Costs of Inaction and Resource scarcity: Consequences for Long-term Economic growth (CIRCLE)


CIRCLE project logoSeveral major long-term trends shape the potential for economic growth around the world. The continued depletion of natural capital features prominently among these trends, manifesting itself through environmental pollution, the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) that contribute to climate change and continued dependence on increasingly scarce natural resources. It is clear that further degradation of the environment and natural capital can compromise prospects for future economic growth and human well-being.


the circle project

The OECD CIRCLE project focused on the costs of environmental inaction by quantifying the economic feedbacks from environmental impacts to 2060. The project focused on a range of environmental domains and provided quantitative assessments on three specific issues: climate change, air pollution and on the land-water-energy nexus.

policy highlights

latest report

Cover - The Land-Water-Energy Nexus


KEY CIRCLE publications

  • The Land-Water-Energy Nexus: Biophysical and Economic Consequences – This report contributes to the discussion of interconnections between scarce resources by highlighting the nexus between land, water and energy (the LWE nexus). It focuses on a dynamic, integrated, and disaggregated analysis of how land, water and energy interact in the biophysical and economic systems. The report provides projections for the biophysical and economic consequences of nexus bottlenecks until 2060, highlighting that while the LWE nexus is essentially local, there can be significant large-scale repercussions in vulnerable regions, notably on forest cover and in terms of food and water security.



  • The Economic Consequences of Climate Change – This report provides a new detailed quantitative assessment of the consequences of climate change on economic growth through to 2060 and beyond. It focuses on how climate change affects different drivers of growth, including labour productivity and capital supply, in different sectors across the world. The sectoral and regional analysis shows that while the impacts of climate change spread across all sectors and all regions, the largest negative consequences are projected to be found in the health and agricultural sectors, with damages especially strong in Africa and Asia.


key areas of work



  • 4th Ad-hoc Technical Workshop of the CIRCLE project on air pollution (2016 - Stockholm) | Agenda
  • 3rd Ad-hoc Technical Workshop of the CIRCLE project (2015 - OECD, Paris) | Agenda


MORE CIRCLE publications



  • The CIRCLE work is led by the Environment and Economy Integration Division in the OECD Environment Directorate. For more information, contact:



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