2022-08-04 Krugman and Hickel on degrowth

Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman): On the margins of actual policy debate, there's a bit of harassment from "degrowthers" who insist that environmental protection requires an end to growth. Folks, here's a chart 1/ https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/1555156317026881537/photo/1

Jason Hickel (@jasonhickel): @paulkrugman The concern is not that GDP can't be decoupled from emissions (of course it can, as we've known for decades) but that it may be unfeasible for HICs to cut emissions fast enough to achieve Paris goals if they pursue growth as usual. https://www.jasonhickel.org/s/Hickel-and-Kallis-Is-Green-Growth-Possible.pdf https://tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13563467.2019.1598964

Jason Hickel (@jasonhickel): @paulkrugman Right now no country, not even the best performers, are on track to reduce emissions at a sufficiently rapid rate. In other words, no country is achieving "genuine green growth": https://sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800921001592

Jason Hickel (@jasonhickel): @paulkrugman Existing climate mitigation scenarios square continued growth in high-income economies with the Paris targets by betting on speculative negative emissions technologies, or rates of GDP/energy decoupling that are not supported in the empirical literature: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-021-00884-9

Jason Hickel (@jasonhickel): @paulkrugman We also have to be cognizant of justice dimensions: "green growth" scenarios tend to maintain high energy use in the global North by constraining energy use in the South, and appropriating Southern land for BECCS. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(22)00092-4/fulltext

Jason Hickel (@jasonhickel): @paulkrugman Hence the call to explore post-growth scenarios. Yes, we need all the efficiency improvements and tech change we can get. But HICs may also need to scale down less-necessary forms of production to reduce energy demand and enable more rapid decarbonization. https://www.jasonhickel.org/s/Hickel-et-al-Urgent-need-for-post-growth-climate-mitigation-scenarios.pdf

Jason Hickel (@jasonhickel): @paulkrugman If existing published post-growth models are anything to go by, it should be possible to use policy to improve social outcomes at the same time, by reducing inequality and focusing production (and energy use and labour) on what is required for human well-being.

Jason Hickel (@jasonhickel): @paulkrugman We also need to take account of equity concerns. Rich economies, like the UK, have already massively exceeded their fair share of Paris-compliant carbon budgets. They need to cut emissions much faster than the global avg. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14693062.2020.1728209

Jason Hickel (@jasonhickel): @paulkrugman Finally, we need to pay attention not only to emissions but also other causes of ecological pressure, like material use. We know that HICs need to reduce material use, and growth makes this objective more difficult to achieve: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ab842a/meta

Pages that link to this page