Unrestricted Improvements in Fishing Technology Threaten the Future of Seafood

A study conducted by ICTA-UAB researcher Eric Galbraith shows that future improvement of fishing technology poses a threat for the global fishery that could be greater than climate change.

¿Son los Pirineos una barrera real para el transporte atmosférico de polen?

Los resultados del estudio llevado a cabo por Jordina Belmonte y Concepción de Linares, investigadoras expertas en botánica de la UAB, constatan que el polen de abedul, una de las especies principales de plantas que causan alergia en Europa Central y del Norte.

Ice age thermostat prevented extreme climate cooling

During the ice ages, an unidentified regulatory mechanism prevented atmospheric CO2 concentrations from falling below a level that could have led to runaway cooling, reports a study conducted by researchers of the ICTA-UAB and published online in Nature Geoscience this week.

The New Theory of Economic “Agrowth” Contributes to the Viability of Climate Policies

 ICTA-UAB researcher Jeroen van den Bergh publishes in Nature Climate Change a study in which he proposes a new economic theory compatible with the fight against climate change.

Map Commemorating Women’s Resistance to Extractivism and Defense of Life and Territory in Latin America

A map created by researchers at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB), the Latin-American Network of Women Defending Social and Environmental Rights and the Colombian NGO CENSAT-Agua Viva Friends of the Earth Colombia makes visible the struggles of women in Latin America against mining and in defense of life.

Es preveuen alts nivells de pol·len per a aquesta primavera

Investigadors de la Xarxa Aerobiològica de Catalunya de l’ICTA-UAB han presentat avui les previsions dels nivells de pol·len i espores a l’atmosfera a Catalunya per a la primavera i l’estiu.

The Azores Islands were inhabited a century and a half before the Portuguese colonization, according to the fossil pollen found in a...

• Research involving the ICTA-UAB finds pollen of rye and other cereals in the sediments of Lago Azul and redefines the timing of human occupation of the Portuguese archipelago.

European Project to Analyse the Effects of Waste Generated by Tourism on Mediterranean Islands

An European study involving the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma e Barcelona will address and propose solutions to the effects of the increase of waste generated by tourism on Mediterranean islands during the summer season.

El ICTA-UAB volverá Locos por la Naturaleza a 27 estudiantes de bachillerato

Un total de 27 estudiantes de bachillerato participan en la tercera edición del programa Locos por la Naturaleza que ofrece el Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) con la voluntad de promover el talento científico entre los jóvenes potenciando el conocimiento del medio natural y poniéndolos en contacto con los principales investigadores en la materia.

More Urban Green Needed in Barcelona to Have Positive Effects on Environmental Quality and Wellness

A PhD dissertation by Francesc Baró, from ICTA-UAB, quantifies and maps the benefits of urban and periurban green in Barcelona such as the improvement of air quality, climate change mitigation and opportunities for outdoor recreation.

New ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide'

The new ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide' it is at your disposal now. With this document, we aim to help you discover the basics of the PhD programme, ICTA-UAB’s structure, etc.

Social Relations, Success in Hunting and Good Health, Sources of Happiness for Indigenous People

Rural and indigenous people from the Global South push absolute income into the background as source of wellbeing.

Treatment plants reduce contamination of heavy metals around Barcelona's coastline

The study, published in Science of the Total Environment, shows that contamination of heavy metals experienced a very important growth between the 1930s and 1980s, while a drastic descent in levels occurred in the 1990s.

Increase in motorcycles converts Barcelona into the European city with the highest number of motorbikes per inhabitant

A study by researchers of the ICTA-UAB and the UAB Department of Geography assesses the rise of motorcycles compared with the drop in cars in Barcelona in the past ten years.

More than One-Third of the Population Would Stop Economic Growth to Achieve Sustainability

A study by researchers of the Institut of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB) assesses Spanish public opinion on economic growth, the environment and prosperity.

ICTA-UAB and ISGlobal Researchers Denounce Lack of Studies on the Harmful Health Effects of Oil Spills

A project led by ICTA-UAB, ISGlobal and the UAB Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in the Peruvian Amazon analyses the health effects of oil spills among people living close to oil extraction areas in developing countries.

Humans have caused climate change for 180 years

An international research project involving ICTA-UAB researcher P. Graham Mortyn has found human activity has been causing global warming for almost two centuries, proving human-induced climate change is not just a 20th century phenomenon.

Do Greener Cities Become More Unjust?

A new research project led by ICTA-UAB researcher Isabelle Anguelovski and funded by the European Union will assess the “green gentrification” process by which the creation of green urban amenities tends to attract the higher social classes and excludes the most vulnerable groups.

The ICTA-UAB Will Assess, in Collaboration with EU Staff, the Effectiveness of EU Sustainability Policies

The EU Project MAGIC (H2020) coordinated by the Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has the goal to study and develop new strategies for a better use of science for governance.

ICTA-UAB receives María de Maeztu Excellence Award

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology has received the award as a "María de Maeztu" Unit of Excellence 2015 from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO).
News
The New Theory of Economic “Agrowth” Contributes to the Viability of Climate Policies

Date: 2017-03-10

 

.  ICTA-UAB researcher Jeroen van den Bergh publishes in Nature Climate Change a study in which he proposes a new economic theory compatible with the fight against climate change

.  The “agrowth” proposal comes up as an alternative to the opposing economic trends of “green growth” and “degrowth”

Forty-five years after the first proposal on the limits to growth by the Club of Rome, the increasing concern over climate change and how to deal with it has reopened the debate questioning whether climate change mitigation policies are compatible with economic growth. 

Many citizens, scientists and politicians fear that stringent climate policy will harm economic growth. While some are betting on “anti-growth” or “degrowth”, others advocate for the “green growth” which is compatible with a transition to a low-carbon economy.

A study by ICREA professor at ICTA-UAB Jeroen van den Bergh critically reflects on both positions “that jeopardize environmental or social goals”, while a third position, labelled “agrowth”, is proposed to depolarize the debate and reduce resistance to climate policies.

In the study, published recently in Nature Climate Change, “agrowth” is proposed as an alternative to the current disjunction between the “green growth” and “degrowth” positions. As it is impossible to know for sure whether growth and a stable climate are compatible, van den Bergh considers that it is better to be agnostic about growth and proposes a strategy that discounts GDP as an indicator “since growth is not an ultimate end, not even the means to an end”.

Regarding the two other existing positions, Jeroen van den Bergh says that “green growth” is the dominant strategy among those accepting climate change as a serious threat and searching for solutions which minimise growth effects. “The Paris climate agreement reflects this, through its voluntary national pledges without back-up from globally consistent policies. One must expect non-compliance, energy rebound and carbon leakage as a result, promising the agreement to be highly ineffective”.

The economy has a tremendous flexibility to adapt, through new technologies and changes in the composition of consumption and production. However, adaptation will not be complete and rapid without severe environmental regulation. It is not clear beforehand, though, that the ensuing economic transition will concur with economic growth. In fact, the new study finds that the empirical evidence and theoretical support for green growth under serious climate policies is feeble. In other words, being categorically pro-growth is a risk-seeking strategy with regard to climate change.

Literature describes that economic growth in rich countries anyway no longer contributes meaningfully to progress. Most people amply satisfy their basic needs, while poor people stand to benefit more from distributional measures, such as progressive income taxes, social security, public health care and a decent minimum wage. 

 “If the GDP indicator does not capture societal progress in rich nations, the time has come to ignore it”, says van den Bergh. Therefore, “degrowth” and “zero growth” proposals are not considered feasible either, since they actually seek to reverse growth and cause a decline in GDP. He also indicates that anti-growth proposals lack a basis in rigorous science and thus can easily do more harm than good for society.

“One can be concerned or critical about economic growth without resorting to an anti-growth position”, states the author. He goes on to highlight that an “agrowth” strategy will allow us to scan a wider space for policies that improve welfare and environmental conditions. Policy selection will not be constrained by the goal of economic growth. “One does not need to assume that unemployment, inequity and environmental challenges are solved by unconditional pro- or zero/negative growth. Social and environmental policies sometimes restrain and at other times stimulate growth, depending on contextual factors. An “agrowth” strategy is precautionary as it makes society less sensitive to potential scenarios in which climate policy constrains economic growth. Hence, it will reduce resistance to such policy”, he indicates.

In a practical sense, van den Bergh states that it is necessary to combat the social belief – widespread among policy circles and politics - that growth has to be prioritized, and stresses the need for a debate in politics and wider society about stepping outside the futile framing of pro- versus anti-growth. “Realizing there is a third way can help to overcome current polarization and weaken political resistance against a serious climate policy”.

Reference:
van den Bergh J.C.J.M. "A third option for climate policy within potential limits to growth"Nature Climate Change. 2017, vol. 7, p. 107-112

 

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