February 9, 2021

242. Has the last year shown us how to save the planet?

In 2019 Greta Thunberg spoke to politicians at the UN Climate Week, saying they were promoting fairy tales of eternal economic growth. The next year we saw GDP in advanced economies fall by around five percent.  Was this a win for the green movement? James Strain, a Debunking Economics Podcast listener, suggested we talked about the need for de-growth. He said, “It seems to me that this is imperative to our transition to a more sustainable society, but it breaks so many long-held fundamentals in mainstream economics that it's hard to see how we would begin to make the transition.” Most attempts to transition to a green economy have been fairly piecemeal, and don’t acknowledge the need for a move to less consumption. There is an answer, though. Steve Keen wasn’t a supporter of carbon trading at the business level, but he reminds Phil Dobbie of his suggestion that countries allocated carbon points to individuals. If you wanted to use more then you’d have to buy points from somebody else. They discuss how it could work in practice.

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