Are greens the friends or enemies of progress?
Greens worry that the Earth cannot sustain our desire for more, more, more. Do their worries halt progress?
We are living longer, healthier and richer lives than ever before. These trends have already spread to billions of people in poorer countries. But are the costs of all this progress beginning to outweigh the benefits?
Some believe that environmental concerns have gone too far, putting a brake on growth, especially in poor countries. Are the world’s poor only allowed to experience ‘sustainable’ development? Lately, a new brand of greens is emerging. These so-called ‘eco-modernists’ believe the planet can be ecologically vibrant even with many billions more people living a good life – if only we would use our scientific knowledge to steward the world’s resources. But can science also tell us what kind of balance is desirable between allowing humanity to flourish while preserving the natural world? Maybe in the end, most people simply do not care that much about nature. And what is a good life anyway?
Has the modern idea of progress outlived its usefulness? Do we need new ways of understanding progress, or is it environmentalism that needs an overhaul? And what role do greens play in this debate? Do they want to halt progress, or simply to redefine it? Or might their redefinition be another way of halting development? Is progress ultimately a myth?
Climate campaigners should learn to be more pragmatic
Global warming needs urgent action – but activists should accept they can’t change the world overnight. We cannot afford to reject effective, achievable climate solutions because other, less attainable, solutions are better. These best solutions cannot be achieved in time. Climate campaigners should learn to be more pragmatic.
Pope Francis calls for urgent action on climate change in White House speech
Addressing a crowd of nearly 15,000 on the south lawn, pope invokes Martin Luther King Jr in speaking of the moral need to protect our ‘common home’. “Climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation,” said the pope, who invited contrast with the civil rights struggle by invoking the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr in support of his argument.
By Bjorn Lomborg
The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris later this month is being billed as an opportunity to save the planet. It is no such thing. As I show in a new peer-reviewed paper, even if successful, the agreement reached in Paris would cut temperatures in 2100 by just 0.05° Celsius. The rise in sea level would be reduced by only 1.3 centimeters.
Argument: Is it time to ditch the pursuit of economic growth?
New Internationalist Magazine
Economist and author Dan O’Neill and journalist and author Daniel Ben-Ami go head-to-head.
Paris 2015: getting a global agreement on climate change
A report by Christian Aid, Green Alliance, Greenpeace, RSPB, and WWF
Vitally, a strong climate deal will help to meet international development aims, which are at increasing risk from rising global temperatures. Eliminating poverty, improving health and building security are all outcomes linked to tackling climate change.
The Anthropocene: a manmade epoch
Alex Standish is a senior lecturer in geography education at University College London.
Have humans become a ‘geological force’, capable of influencing the natural environment on a planetary scale? Are we now responsible for so-called natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, droughts and even earthquakes? Have we changed the climate beyond its natural variability, pushing the Earth into a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, where ‘humanity has become a planetary force, on a par with the geological or climatic forces used to define phases of Earth history’?
Ignore the belt‑tighteners: growth is good
Christopher Snowdon director of lifestyle economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs.
The rise of environmentalism and the emergence of the New Left in the 1960s and 1970s saw a resurgence of ‘growth sceptic’ beliefs which were intertwined with concerns about population growth and inequality. When William Nordhaus and James Tobin wrote their influential article ‘Is Growth Obsolete?’ in 1972, their answer was ‘not yet’, but the Club of Rome’s The Limits of Growth, published in the same year, heralded the return of Malthusian pessimism. When the New Zealand Values Party, which later became the Green Party, contested the 1972 election, it did so on a ticket of ‘zero economic growth and zero population growth’.
Benefits far outweigh costs of tackling climate change, says LSE study
“The majority of the global emissions reductions needed to decarbonise the global economy can be achieved in ways that are nationally net-beneficial to countries, even leaving aside the ‘climate benefits’,” says Fergus Green in his paper for the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at the LSE. He cites improved air quality, increased energy efficiency and better energy security among the potential benefits to individual countries that more than justify the costs of cutting carbon emissions. Furthermore, investments in low-carbon energy are likely to be more than paid back by the falling cost of renewable sources, such as solar and wind, and by reduced spending on fossil fuels, Green predicts.
Kernkraft und Gentechnik für die Umwelt
Servan ist Master-Student in Biostatistik an der Universität Zürich: NZZ on Campus
Mit ihren unkonventionellen Ideen bringen die «Ökomodernisten» neuen Wind in eine festgefahrene Debatte. Ob Gentechnik, Kernenergie oder Aquakulturen – neue Technologien werden nicht als Gefahr gesehen, sondern sollen dabei helfen, die Umwelt zu retten.