• 🌱 Seedling • 2 min read
The degrowth model of economics grows out of the belief that our current economic systems continue to fail us and will not allow us to meet and reverse the impacts of climate change.
Jason Hickel argues1:
- Decarbonization cannot be accomplished fast enough to reach zero emissions in time to stay under 1.5 or 2 degrees, if high-income nations continue to grow at usual rates.
- More growth means more energy demand than would otherwise be the case, and more energy demand makes it more difficult for us to cover it with renewables in the short time we have left.
- Degrowth scholarship points out that if high-income nations scale down socially less necessary production (i.e., SUVs, fast fashion, industrial beef, planned obsolescence, advertising, etc), we can reduce energy demand and enable a much faster transition to renewables.
- And if you do this while at the same time shortening the working week, introducing living wages, ensuring universal access to good public services and housing, and redistributing income and wealth, you can improve social outcomes at the same time.
Professor Julia Steinberger makes the point that GDP growth is not really that decoupled from carbon emissions barring in a few places, and in fact, emissions are still highly correlated with GDP.
Degrowthers do not argue for degrowth in developing countries. Rather, they see degrowth in the developed world as a necessary condition for an equitable pathway to 1.5°C that allows developing countries to still grow.
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