ICTA-UAB economist Joan Martínez Alier wins the Balzan Prize for Environmental Challenges

Economist Joan Martínez Alier from the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology  of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) is one of the winners of the 2020 Balzan Prize in the category of "Environmental Challenges: Responses from the Social Sciences and Humanities".

Indigenous People Essential to Understanding Environmental Change

An international research involving ICTA-UAB scientists shows how local and indigenous knowledge can help manage ecosystems and wildlife.

New publication in the MAGIC project takes a critical look at circular economy

With the world’s attention focussed on COVID-19, issues that were in the forefront of public concern just a few months ago seem to have magically disappeared.

Economic Benefits of Protecting 30% of Planet’s Land and Ocean Outweigh the Costs at Least 5-to-1

First-of-its-kind report involving ICTA-UAB researcher shows the global economy is better off with more nature protected.

ICTA-UAB awarded the "María de Maeztu” Unit of Excellence Award for the second consecutive time

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has been accredited a Maria de Maeztu Unit of Excellence Award for the second consecutive time by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.

Proyecto experimental de agricultura urbana, local y tradicional en Sabadell

El ICTA-UAB y el Ayuntamiento de Sabadell constituyen la comunidad FoodE, que reúne a todos los actores implicados en el sistema de producción alimentaria de la ciudad y en esta iniciativa.

What do we breathe when in the forest?

For the first time, a study characterizes the forest chemistry of the air under the canopy of a Mediterranean holm oak forest and detects maximum concentrations in July and August.

Catalonia's Scientific Contributions to Fighting Covid-19

Sixty ICREA researchers, including Isabelle Anguelovski of the ICTA-UAB, lead more than a hundred research activities on Covid-19.

Academia in the Time of COVID-19: Towards an Ethics of Care

                                                                                                                                                                       .

Computer Platform Gives Visibility to Catalonia's Small Villages

A research team from the UAB, in collaboration with the Association of Microvillages of Catalonia, has created a Geographic Information System (GIS) for Active and Sustainable Hamlets (GISASH), which gathers information on the state of and services offered by the more than 330 municipalities in Catalonia with fewer than 500 inhabitants.

Environmental justice defenders victims of violence and murder

Grassroots movements halt environmental degradation in up to 27% of environmental conflicts worldwide, according to a study by the ICTA-UAB.

Technological changes and new low-carbon lifestyles, key to mitigating climate change impacts

In order to mitigate climate change impacts and achieve a more sustainable society, it is necessary to transform the current energy system based on fossil fuels into a model based on renewable energies.

Exploring climate change impacts through popular proverbs

Members of an irrigation community doing maintenance work in an acequia de careo (irrigation canal built at the top of the mountain) to improve the circulation of water for irrigation and human consumption.

Neolithic vessels reveal dairy consumption in Europe 7,000 years ago

Pottery from the site located in Verson (Francia) analysed during the research (Picture by Annabelle Cocollos, Conseil départemental du Calvados ou CD14 publicada en Germain-Vallée et al.

Economic growth is incompatible with biodiversity conservation

A study involving more than 20 specialists in conservation ecology and ecological economics highlights the contradiction between economic growth and biodiversity conservation.

Power struggles hinder urban adaptation policies to climate change

Transformative actions implemented by cities to address and mitigate the impacts of climate change may be hindered by political struggles for municipal power.

Analysis of tropical fire soot deposited in the ocean will help predict future global climate changes

The ICTA-UAB begins a scientific expedition in the Atlantic Ocean to collect dust and smoke samples from the fires of tropical Africa deposited in marine sediments.

Red coral effectively recovers in Mediterranean protected areas after decades of overexploitation

Protection measures of the Marine Protected Areas have enable red coral colonies (Corallium rubrum) to recover partially in the Mediterranean Sea, reaching health levels similar to those of the 1980s in Catalonia and of the 1960s in the Ligurian Sea (Northwestern Italy).

Sub-national “climate clubs” could offer key to combating climate change

‘Climate clubs’ offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally-harmonised climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.
News
New study dismisses green growth policies as a route out of ecological emergency

Date: 2019-05-27

 

Researchers from ICTA-UAB and the Goldsmiths University of London suggest that emissions reduction is only compatible with a lower economical degrowth or a degrowth scenario.

The new study examines green growth policies as articulated in major reports by the World Bank, the OECD and the UN Environment Programme, and tests the theory against extant empirical evidence and models of the relationship between GDP and both material footprint and CO2 emissions.  

The paper Is Green Growth Possible? is coauthored by Dr Jason Hickel (Goldsmiths, University of London) and Prof Giorgos Kallis from ICTA-UAB, and has been published in the journal New Political Economy. 

For material footprint, the question pertains to whether we can achieve absolute decoupling of GDP from resource use. Their findings show that empirical projections show no absolute decoupling at a global scale, even under highly optimistic conditions. In addition, they suggest that, while some models show that it may be achieved in high-income nations under highly optimistic (and indeed unrealistic) conditions, this cannot be sustained in the long-term given limits to efficiency improvements. 

These results assume existing levels of GDP growth, of around 2-3% per year. They consider that it may be feasible to achieve absolute reductions in resource use with GDP growing at less than 1% per year. However, to achieve reductions rapid enough to get us down to safe thresholds will require degrowth strategies.

For CO2 emissions, the question pertains to whether we can reduce emissions fast enough to stay within the carbon budgets for 1.5C or 2C, as per the Paris Agreement. Researchers state that emissions reductions in line with 2C are only feasible if global GDP growth slows to less than 0.5%. Likewise, they indicate that reductions for 1.5C are only feasible in a degrowth scenario. These results hold even under optimist policy conditions, with high taxes on carbon and fast rates of technological innovation.  

In other words, while we need all the government policy interventions and technological innovation we can get, any successful attempt to achieve adequate emissions reductions will require that we scale down aggregate energy demand.

In light of these results, we conclude that green growth policy lacks empirical support.  Indeed, the evidence opens up questions about the legitimacy of World Bank and OECD efforts to promote green growth as a route out of ecological emergency.  Any policy programmes that rely on green growth assumptions – such as the Sustainable Development Goals – need urgently to be revisited.  


Scientific Article
Hickel J., Kallis G. (2019). Is Green Growth Possible? New Political Journal.
Available online: https://doi.org/10.1080/13563467.2019.1598964

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