To address climate change, our society must come to grips with reality. Capitalism’s growth dependency is an insurmountable barrier to environmental sustainability. Economic production is a key source of greenhouse gases and studies continue to find a positive relationship between economic growth and emissions. It is also increasingly clear that there is no magic bullet that can “decouple” the relationship between growth and environmental destruction.
The potential environmental benefits of green technologies are often partially or completely offset by growth. For instance, the generation of non-fossil fuel energy over the past five decades did not displace the use of fossil fuels across the majority of nations. Economic growth generates the need for more energy, and consequently renewable energy sources are for the most part added to, not used in place of, fossil energy sources.
Because of these relationships, we cannot sufficiently reduce emissions through individual, community, or technological change alone. We need to begin to shift away from a growth dependent economy.