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