Is the Controlled Shrinking of Economies a Better Bet to Slow Climate Change Than Unproven Technologies?
Existing plans to limit global warming rely too much on “increasingly unrealistic assumptions” that societies will be able to remove huge amounts of carbon from the atmosphere while simultaneously maintaining incessant economic growth over the next 50 years, according to a May 2021 study in Nature Communications. These strategies appear to be speeding the planet deeper into the climate crisis, the authors said.
Economic degrowth—strategies to shrink the economies of rich, developed countries while maintaining the wellbeing of the people and environments they are based on—might be less risky, and a better way to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement. Efforts to slow climate change that are built on structural social changes, like rethinking the way we work, produce food, heat our homes and move around could be more successful than those that rely on uncertain carbon removal technologies, they said.