I want to take a minute to clarify something important about the degrowth position on climate change and emissions reductions. Here's a short thread that I hope will be helpful:
1. Degrowth *does not* argue that we cannot decouple GDP from emissions. We know this is possible to achieve, and some nations are already doing it to some extent. You can have rising GDP with declining emissions, simply by switching to renewable energy.
2. But that's not the question. The question is much more specific: can high-income nations reduce emissions to zero fast enough to stay in line with the carbon budget for 1.5C or 2C, while pursuing GDP growth at the same time?
3. The answer is no. Why? Because GDP growth means more energy demand (relative to what it would otherwise be with any given energy mix), which makes it harder to cover it all with renewables fast enough to stay within the carbon budget. Here is the data: tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.10…
4. In other words, growth makes our task *much* more difficult than it needs to be. This is why degrowth scholars call for a reduction of total energy use - which is in line with the lead scenario in the IPCC's 2018 report.
5. Now, the easiest way to reduce energy use is to reduce excess resource use. What's useful about this approach is that it also takes pressure off other planetary boundaries (biodiversity, deforestation, etc) - recognizing that climate breakdown is not the only crisis we face.
6. Let me be clear: degrowth does *not* call for energy use to be reduced to zero, as some buffoons have tried to claim. That would be ridiculous. Rather, the goal is to reduce energy use enough to enable a safe and rapid transition to renewables in line with 1.5C.
7. The good news is we can do this *while improving people's lives*. I lay out how to do this in Chapter 5 of Less is More (too much for a thread!). penguin.co.uk/books/111/1119…

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More from @jasonhickel

21 Sep
A Job Guarantee is one of the single most powerful climate policies a government could implement. Why? Because once the question of employment is off the table, we can have an open conversation about scaling down destructive industries.
Let's clear up a few things about the JG:

1. The JG is about public use-value (not private profit), organized around actual community needs, and is paid a living wage.
2. It is the *opposite* of bullshit jobs. There is a tremendous amount of actually important work to do: care work, local food, essential services, energy transition, and ecological regeneration.
Read 5 tweets
10 Sep
I have a new paper that's out today in The Lancet Planetary Health, quantifying national responsibility for climate breakdown. I'll discuss the method and results in the thread below. sciencedirect.com/science/articl…
1. I start from the position that the atmosphere is a commons, and that all have equal rights to it within the planetary boundary of 350ppm (which we crossed in 1990). This allows us to determine which nations have exceeded their share, and thus contributed to climate breakdown.
2. Results:

-The USA is responsible for 40% of excess global CO2 emissions.

-The European Union (EU-28) is responsible for 29%.

-The Global North as a group is responsible for 92%.
Read 11 tweets
7 Sep
This new paper really upends conventional narratives about international development. Basically, poor countries are developing rich countries, not the other way around. I'll highlight the key points in the thread below:
sciencedirect.com/science/articl…
1. High-income countries rely on a large *net appropriation* of resources from the global South, including:

-10.1 billion tons of raw materials
-379 billion hours of human labour
-22.7 EJ of energy
-800 million hectares of land

That's for a single year, 2015.
2. In other words, rich countries take significantly more resources and labour from the global South than they give. But this net appropriation is not accompanied by a net payment of funds. On the contrary, high-income nations maintain a monetary *surplus* in trade.
Read 11 tweets
3 Sep
My heart is utterly broken over the news that my good friend and comrade David Graeber has passed away. It is impossible to process this... it seems completely unreal. There is simultaneously too much to say and no words, but let me attempt a few:
One cannot overstate the significance of David's contribution to struggles for justice in the US, UK and many other parts of the world. Millions of people have learned from and been shaped by his writing, teaching, and example.
His analysis was as clear as it was courageous. He was unflinching and incorruptible. There was no myth he would not question, no hegemony he would not expose. He saw through every ruse that the powerful have going.
Read 7 tweets
13 Aug
If you haven't come across this Nature piece yet, it's must-reading. "Evidence is mounting that tipping points could be more likely than was previously thought... we are in a climate emergency." Also, a devastating blow to William Nordhaus. nature.com/articles/d4158…
"Some economists have suggested that 3 °C warming is optimal from a cost–benefit perspective. However, if tipping points are more likely, then the ‘optimal policy’ is that warming must be limited to 1.5 °C. This requires an emergency response."
"If damaging tipping cascades can occur and a global tipping point cannot be ruled out, then this is an existential threat to civilization. No amount of economic cost–benefit analysis is going to help us. We need to change our approach to the climate problem."
Read 4 tweets
20 Jul
It's astonishing, when you think about it, that neoliberal economists actively target an "optimal" or "ideal" level of unemployment. Imagine if we sought to induce an optimal level of starvation, or an optimal level of homelessness.
The optimal level of unemployment is zero, and it can be accomplished with a Job Guarantee. Neoliberals say we need unemployment (the NAIRU) to protect against inflation. But it's not true. Pavlina Tcherneva shows that a JG is more effective at delivering monetary stability.
Read 4 tweets

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