Modeling transformational policy pathways on low growth and negative growth scenarios to assess impacts on socioeconomic development and carbon emissions
Reports & Briefs
September 25, 2023
Degrowth advocates argue for structural transformations in how economies and societies prioritize material wealth accumulation to reduce the negative effects of future anthropogenic climate change. Degrowth proponents argue that human economic activity could be lessened, and societies transformed to prioritize improved wellbeing, reducing the threat of climate change. This paper explores implications of alternative patterns of economic growth with transformational policy pathways (i.e., redistribution) to assess what effects economic growth and broader policies have on changing patterns of human development across both the Global North and South. Using the International Futures model, this article shows that negative growth and societal transformations in the Global North are possible without dramatically damaging long-term global socioeconomic development, though these interventions do not solve the global climate crisis, reducing future cumulative carbon emissions by 10.5% through 2100. On the other hand, a global negative growth scenario will significantly reduce future cumulative carbon emissions (45%) but also dramatically undermines the pursuit of global development goals, like the elimination of poverty. Even with global policies that significantly increase cash transfers to the poor and retired, dramatically improve income inequality, and eliminate military spending, the Global Negative Growth Big Push scenario leads to an increase of 15 percentage points in global extreme poverty by 2100.