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Better Growth, Helping the Paris COP-out? Fallacies and Omissions of the New Climate Economy Report

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  • Clive L. Spash

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Abstract

The debate over how to address greenhouse gas emissions reduction remains unresolved. The basic conflict between the environment and economic growth is fundamental to the problem but is something now being denied. Green Growth has been put forward as resolving the issue in a report backed by people working at the highest levels in international community from organisations such as the World Bank, United Nations, OECD, and IEA, who combine their knowledge with five ex-heads of state, experts from the banking and finance world and a committee of economics professors. This powerful elite has stated that all the countries of the world can have better growth and a better climate, and indeed strong growth is how to reduce poverty. This paper analyses the synthesis report proposing this “new climate economy” and exposes how the climate issue is framed in a narrow reductionist fashion that fails to address the fundamental contradictions of a growth economy and its model of development. The paper covers the framing of the debate, getting the prices right, energy and material throughput, growth versus human health and the environment, the ethics of a growth society, and the conflicts between corporate interests, government and civil society. One conclusion is that planning is back on the agenda, but this raises serious questions of governance that are not being addressed. Another is that little can be expected from the Conference of the Parties (COP) on climate change as long as they ignore the wider implications of the growth society, its institutions and structure.

Suggested Citation

  • Clive L. Spash, 2014. "Better Growth, Helping the Paris COP-out? Fallacies and Omissions of the New Climate Economy Report," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2014_04, Institute for Multilevel Governance and Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwsre:sre-disc-2014_04
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Neva Goodwin, "undated". "08-01 "An Overview of Climate Change: What does it mean for our way of life? What is the best future we can hope for?"," GDAE Working Papers 08-01, GDAE, Tufts University.
    2. Herman E. Daly, 2007. "Ecological Economics and Sustainable Development, Selected Essays of Herman Daly," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 12606, April.
    3. Funtowicz, Silvio O. & Ravetz, Jerome R., 1994. "The worth of a songbird: ecological economics as a post-normal science," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 197-207, August.
    4. Daily, Gretchen C. & Ehrlich, Paul R. & Mooney, Harold A. & Ehrlich, Anne H., 1991. "Greenhouse economics: learn before you leap," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 1-10, October.
    5. Shaohua Chen & Martin Ravallion, 2010. "The Developing World is Poorer than We Thought, But No Less Successful in the Fight Against Poverty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1577-1625.
    6. C. Jaeger & Leonidas Paroussos & Diana Mangalagiu & Roland Kupers & Antoine Mandel & J. David Tabara, 2012. "A new growth path for Europe: generating prosperity and jobs in the low-carbon economy," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00666804, HAL.
    7. Ayres, Robert U., 1999. "The second law, the fourth law, recycling and limits to growth," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 473-483, June.
    8. Spash, Clive L., 2007. "The economics of climate change impacts a la Stern: Novel and nuanced or rhetorically restricted?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 706-713, September.
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    1. Degrowth-movement refuted by climate-report? No, not at all!
      by ? in Resilience on 2014-10-27 15:47:00
    2. Divestment from Fossil Fuels: A Critical Appraisal
      by ? in Resilience on 2014-12-19 17:29:00

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    Keywords

    Climate change; greenhouse gas emissions reduction; Green Growth; climate economics; governance; public policy; poverty; development; corporations; externality theory; energy policy; Stern;

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