Last week, four thousand people gathered at the European Parliament for the inaugural Beyond Growth conference, a three-day event on Pathways towards Sustainable Prosperity in the EU. The speakers revealed the planetary, economic, political and social limitations of economic growth, painting a grim and accurate picture of how an outdated idea has the world by the throat, before offering alternatives which place planetary and human health at the centre of economic thinking.
Days before the event, 400 experts signed a letter calling for European leaders to implement a well-being economy, saying a post-growth Europe is “critical” to survival as endless economic growth in high-income nations negates effective environmental policies.
Green growth proponents (those think the problem isn’t how much we consume, but what we consume, and advocate substituting fossil fuels for renewable energy) rubbish this, claiming that we can “decouple” emissions from GDP and thus continue to see growth increase while emissions fall.
Unfortunately, there is no empirical evidence for this, no matter what The Economist would have you believe. Tim Parrique, the degrowth movement’s master debunker, has proven repeatedly that nations which claim to have decoupled are merely discounting the emissions of all the goods and services they import—their slash in emissions is due to relying on India and China to do their dirty work for them.