Tag Archives: Growth

Is the UK decoupling?

Interesting new report from Chris Goodall out recently (hat tip to Reg Platt) suggesting that the UK may have reached “peak stuff” – i.e. consumption of  physcial resources, including energy – in the early/mid 2000s. Goodall’s paper is a bit of a mix – some measures are per head, others total, some flows are final consumption, others are intermediary inputs, but the patterns are nevertheless quite striking. The paper is also quite good at picking up Continue reading


Filed under Decoupling, Growth

The politics of climate and energy as told through the washing machine

No one does it like Hans Rosling:

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The limits to environmentalism 4

Welcome to the second of two posts discussing Tim Jackson’s Prosperity without Growth (PWG), which has become a Bible of the environmentalist movement in the UK over the last year. In the previous post, I questioned the way Jackson focused on an end to growth in the rich world, which would not provide anything like a solution to the problems of breaching ecological limits and, on Jackson’s own numbers, is less important than questions about exactly how much growth the poor world will be possible and how we can accelerate the decoupling of growth from carbon emissions.

For me, this is probably the major problem with the no-growth argument. But I think there are also two others. Continue reading


Filed under Decoupling, Environmentalists, Growth, Innovation

The limits to environmentalism – Part 3

A year on from our controversial review of Growth isn’t Possible by the New Economics Foundation, we’re venturing back into the fray. As it comes out in paperback, here’s our take on one the most high-profile and influential environmentalist books of the last year – Tim Jackson’s Prosperity without growth: Economics for a Finite Planet (henceforth PWG).

Very very briefly, PWG says that Continue reading


Filed under Decoupling, Environmentalists, Growth, Innovation

A New Response to Climate Change

For six weeks, Political Climate has been finding its feet in the blogosphere. Much of what we’ve written hitherto has been aimed at making our views clear on some of the most important issues in the climate change debate. Thus we’ve covered growth, innovation, the underlying politics of climate change and geo-politics.

It’s hard to reflect on the shortcomings of conventional environmental wisdom without sounding negative, but this blog’s main aim is to contribute towards a renewal in thinking about climate change. Indeed, it is our desire to see the negative language and imagery of climate change replaced by a resolutely optimistic debate.

The ‘About‘ link above will take you to a longer explanation of our aims. We are also developing a Political Climate manifesto and a set of proposals for work in areas in which thinking needs to be developed, such as innovation policy and finance. In the meantime, we’ve been working on the appearance of the site and we owe its new smoothness to Lawrence. If you like what you see, we urge you to sign up to receive notification of new posts using the box at the top of the column on the right-hand-side of the page.

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Plus ça change…

There’s a new growth business – no growth. Tim Jackson’s Propserity without Growth is the text of the moment, and the New Economics Foundation has a new report out today on why Growth is Impossible (we’ll be blogging on these over the next few days and weeks, so watch this space for our analysis of where they are right and where they go wrong). 

President Sarkozy of France has added to the mix, last week launching a new sustainable development barometer. Sarkozy, you may remember, commissioned prominent economists Amartya Sen and Joe Stiglitz to look beyond GDP growth and advise on other ways of measuring human progress.  According to reports, the barometer will be used “to inform the French government, parliament, local authorities, businesses, NGOs and citizens about sustainable economic development and environmental pressures in a drive to support initiatives that boost sustainable behaviour”. The indicators included range hugely, from unemployment to the evolution of bird populations, from the carbon footprint of France’s imports to the suicide rate.

If any of this sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Continue reading

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