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Striking a Balance: Examining Degrowth as a Climate Solution and its Societal Implications

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Pardee Center for International Futures

News  •

November 23, 2023.

The Director for the Pardee Center at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, Jonathan Moyer, Ph.D. on November 23, joined a team of experts at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to present his research findings on “Degrowth”, which focuses on exploring ways to reduce carbon emissions while also promoting economic growth and development.

The research work titled, “Modeling transformational policy pathways on low growth and negative growth scenarios to assess impacts on socioeconomic development and carbon emissions” underscores the balance that policymakers must strike when considering “degrowth” as a potential climate solution.

As the world grapples with the urgent need to address climate change, there have been calls for alternative solutions to mitigate climate change impact from the current approach of reducing among other things, carbon emissions.

The concept of “degrowth” calls for a shift in how societies prioritize economic activities to mitigate the negative impacts of human actions and inactions on the climate.

Using the International Futures model at the Pardee Center, the research focuses on the magnitudes of human development in both the developed and developing worlds as it examines the effects of different economic growth patterns and transformational policy directions. While it presents a potential avenue for mitigating carbon emissions, the societal implications, particularly on poverty eradication, necessitate careful consideration and nuanced policy planning.

Presenting the findings at the hybrid workshop organized by Sciences Po, European Chair for Sustainable Development and Climate Transition, in Paris, Dr. Moyer explained that implementing policies that result in slow or no economic growth in wealthy countries could potentially alleviate social and economic issues. However, this approach alone would not be sufficient to tackle climate change.

 On the other hand, a global policy for slow or no economic growth could be effective in addressing climate change, but it may also have negative impacts on communities and economies.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) workshop aimed at reviewing the existing dominant modeling framework, thus the Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs), and laying the groundwork for a more comprehensive approach.

Director of Pardee Center, Jonathan Moyer