Giddens: The mistakes about green growth

Green Growth Council-member Lord Anthony Giddens is very much in favour of the idea of creating green growth – but says in this speech that he fears that the way forward is obstructed by lack of understanding of the mechanisms behind it.

”At lot of mistakes are being made at the moment by the people speaking about green growth”, says Lord Anthony Giddens, who is a member of the Green Growth Council. He points to four areas of inadequacy or mistakes in this speech, given during World Climate Solutions 2010, where Green Growth Economies was launched (see the videos below – the speech is divided into four parts).

Anthony Giddens argues, that we don’t really know as yet what a low carbon economy – the overall objective of green growth – will be like.

”Many people tend to write as if a low carbon economy will be like our existing economy, but with a load of wind power and a load of other forms of renewable energy built into it. This is quite ridiculous. A low carbon economy will be structurally different than a fossil fuel economy”.

Giddens believes that we lack an understanding of the macroeconomics of green growth and that we must develop this. Otherwise we cannot create a low carbon society. We must know what economy we are trying to insert our companies and our innovation into. He argues that there is too much focus on technology at present and that social, political and economic innovation is far more important.

Read more about Anthony Giddens and other councillors here.

4 Responses to Giddens: The mistakes about green growth

  1. Pingback: Lord Anthony Giddens: The Four Mistakes of Green Growth

  2. Great info buddy thanks for useful article. I am waiting for more

  3. Oscar Abrego says:

    Have to think about social welfare, not reducing emissions, the policy of a country should be based on economic development through sustainable use of natural resources and alternative energy use, not restricting the use of resources.

  4. Van Kent says:

    The complexity of these issues are simply mind-boggling. But we have to come up with most of the answers within 10 years. We are in a heck of a hurry! Otherwise either the ecosystem troubles, climate change/ loss of biodiversity, or the global economic troubles, the downfall of the wold-wide economic system of global capitalism (a growth-model cannot survive without growth, the 2008/ 2011-2012 economic downturns are just a part of this general growth-model problem), will start to threaten the survival of billions. And as Giddens puts it we have to innovate through “utopian realism” a whole new world. Innovation means creativity and new novel solutions. Among other things a new macroeconomic model for the whole world (what comes after the industrial society and global capitalism? And how the heck are supposed to get there, immediately?). But at the same time be realistic about all of this. And realism about this situation we all are in is just simply frightening. What are the chances (really!) for a world-wide capitalist system to change just within 10 years? Think about it, the key in green growth (we can not live without green growth, without green growth a growth-based economy as global capitalism is, will simply disintegrate, or if growth continues but not “green”, then the ecosystem falters) will be how millions of investors with billions of dollars of capital are “not” going after the biggest profits, but instead to be satisfied by the less profitable “green growth”. This changes, or would change, pretty much the whole concept of capitalism. “Green growth” simply cannot be the highest paying investment out there. Green growth must be sustainable, otherwise it simply is not “green”. So by definition “green growth” and investments in green growth are not done to seek the highest profits. Therefore green growth and investments in green growth are not part of the global capitalism. This is the first and the most important thing to learn about green growth. After the realization of this simple fact (global capitalism, the endeavor to seek highest profits worldwide, will lead either to an economic catastrophe or an ecosystem catastrophe) leads to the conclusion that markets in and of themselves “will not” lead to the best possible outcome. Together these two things (downfall of the market hypothesis and the need of green growth, limited planet and limited resources) conclude that the whole theoretic structure of the science known as economics just disintegrated.

    All the things we think we know through economics, we have to re-think. And be quick about it!

    Daunting, simply daunting.

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