Cut poverty and energy use to cool the climate

(Climate News Network, 1 Jul 2021) To cut poverty and energy use would cool the planet, build a more just society − but end dreams of economic growth.

Containing climate change is really quite simple. The answer? Cut poverty and energy use: higher living standards for the poorest people, together with using less energy more economically, would produce a cooler planet and a more just society. The two demands may be inseparable.

And if that wasn’t a tough enough call, citizens everywhere have already in the same month been asked to contain climate change while at the same time protecting and restoring the wild things on the planet. Once again, the two challenges are necessarily intertwined.

The latest research, published in the journal Global Environmental Change, is about sustainability in a world in which billions are still deprived of basic needs. It is also about how the economic world is organised.

As the researchers say delicately: “The way societies design their economies thus seems misaligned with the twin goals of meeting everyone’s needs and remaining within planetary boundaries.” They also suggest that extraction of planetary resources and demand for riches beyond modest affluence are “associated with lower need satisfaction and greater energy requirements.”

The question then becomes: how do you provide for the basic human needs of all while using energy most efficiently and sustainably?

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Climate News Network, 1 Jul 2021: Cut poverty and energy use to cool the climate