Economic growth is bad for the climate, Europe’s Science Academies claim
Europe’s main science academies reveal their anti-growth agenda
Europe faces a catastrophic economic crisis and tens of millions of redundancies as a result of the political measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, there is growing tension among policy makers between saving the economy and economic growth and saving Europe’s costly climate agenda.
In her speech to the United Nations last year, the eco-socialist activist Greta Thunberg denounced world leaders for their main interest in what she called “the fairy tale of eternal economic growth.” Her anti-growth attack didn’t come as a surprise. After all, critical observers have always known that this kind of radical climate activism is driven by an anti-capitalist agenda.
Now Europe’s main scientific body, the European Academies Science Advisory Council (which comprises of the National Academies of Science of all EU Member States, Norway, Switzerland and UK), has followed in Greta’s footsteps, hitting out against policy makers and governments who prioritise economic growth.
“Generation Greta gets it. Our focus should be on well-being and welfare, but our economic system puts all focus on growth and GDP which adds fuel to the climate and biodiversity crises.”
That’s how the European Academies Science Advisory Council press release highlights the main take of its report which calls for “‘transformational’ change that is necessary if policy-makers and their public (sic) are to support the conclusions of the advocates of change.”
The capture of Europe’s scientific institutions and organisations by degrowth ideologues is a tragic reflection on the state of green ideology which is bringing institutional science ever more into disrepute.
Focus on GDP and economic growth is unhelpful for the climate, European group says
Tracking happiness could be the key to beating climate change, a group of European scientists has said.
The report by the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council, chaired by British chemist and former civil servant Dr Michael Norton, argues that measuring GDP has led to rampant consumption and financial growth which is destroying the planet and not making us happier.
They therefore suggest replacing the widely-used wealth measure with “indicators of human well-being”.
Co-author Anders Wijkman, a former politician and member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, said focus on economic growth and GDP “adds fuel to the climate and biodiversity crises”.
Current “incremental” measures are not enough to head off “dangerous” climate change and more fundamental shifts are needed, the report argues, criticising political leaders for caving to business interests in a quest to maintain growth.
Instead policymakers should recognise that current consumption levels are unsustainable if environmental damage is to be mitigated, the group said.
The call is at odds with the stance of European countries including the UK, with ministers insisting that continued economic growth is possible alongside a phase-out of fossil fuels, through investment in new industries including renewable energy.
The group said their conclusions “challenge the social and political paradigm of at least the past 70 years where leaders have campaigned on the basis of continuing improvement in the traditional economy, with science and technology expected to allow economic growth to be indefinitely sustained.”