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Economic growth is bad for the climate, Europe’s Science Academies claim

October 30, 2020

By Paul Homewood


Gradually, bit by bit, the radical agenda behind the climate lobby is being exposed:


Europe faces a catastrophic economic crisis and tens of millions of redundancies as a result of the political measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, there is growing tension among policy makers between saving the economy and economic growth and saving Europe’s costly climate agenda.

In her speech to the United Nations last year, the eco-socialist activist Greta Thunberg denounced world leaders for their main interest in what she called “the fairy tale of eternal economic growth.” Her anti-growth attack didn’t come as a surprise. After all, critical observers have always known that this kind of radical climate activism is driven by an anti-capitalist agenda.

Now Europe’s main scientific body, the European Academies Science Advisory Council (which comprises of the National Academies of Science of all EU Member States, Norway, Switzerland and UK), has followed in Greta’s footsteps, hitting out against policy makers and governments who prioritise economic growth.

“Generation Greta gets it. Our focus should be on well-being and welfare, but our economic system puts all focus on growth and GDP which adds fuel to the climate and biodiversity crises.”

That’s how the European Academies Science Advisory Council press release highlights the main take of its report which calls for “‘transformational’ change that is necessary if policy-makers and their public (sic) are to support the conclusions of the advocates of change.”

The capture of Europe’s scientific institutions and organisations by degrowth ideologues is a tragic reflection on the state of green ideology which is bringing institutional science ever more into disrepute.

Focus on GDP and economic growth is unhelpful for the climate, European group says

Tracking happiness could be the key to beating climate change, a group of European scientists has said.

The report by the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council, chaired by British chemist and former civil servant Dr Michael Norton, argues that measuring GDP has led to rampant consumption and financial growth which is destroying the planet and not making us happier.

They therefore suggest replacing the widely-used wealth measure with “indicators of human well-being”.

Co-author Anders Wijkman, a former politician and member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, said focus on economic growth and GDP “adds fuel to the climate and biodiversity crises”.

Current “incremental” measures are not enough to head off “dangerous” climate change and more fundamental shifts are needed, the report argues, criticising political leaders for caving to business interests in a quest to maintain growth.

Instead policymakers should recognise that current consumption levels are unsustainable if environmental damage is to be mitigated, the group said.

The call is at odds with the stance of European countries including the UK, with ministers insisting that continued economic growth is possible alongside a phase-out of fossil fuels, through investment in new industries including renewable energy.

The group said their conclusions “challenge the social and political paradigm of at least the past 70 years where leaders have campaigned on the basis of continuing improvement in the traditional economy, with science and technology expected to allow economic growth to be indefinitely sustained.”

For years, we have been told that we can sort the” problem “of climate change by investing in renewable energy, a myth which is still being perpetrated by western politicians. Sceptics have of course consistently pointed out that this is not possible.

For a while, it was only extremists like the Green Party, XR, Greenpeace and Greta who revealed the reality behind their plans. That we would all need to drastically cut back on our consumption and, in effect, our standard of living. Gradually though organisations such as the World Economic Forum have been dropping hints to the same effect.

Now the EASAC have brought the message mainstream. They try to dress it up in terms of “human wellbeing”, but they cannot deny their policies will lead to people becoming poorer.

Worse still, devastating economic dislocation will inevitably result from their formula, as some industries and regions will be more impacted than others. Modern economies are not computer games where you just shuffle people and jobs around the country.

Finally there is the dilemma of what you do about developing countries. Are they to be denied the economic growth they need to bring their citizens out of poverty. A bit like the missionaries of old, these do-gooders will do more harm than good.

  1. cajwbroomhill permalink
    October 30, 2020 6:07 pm

    Can anyone suggest reasons why so many of the “great and the good” and supposedly sensible and brainy politicos as weĺl as corrupt ones have allowed themselves to accept the climate scam, especially when the UK’ s greenhouse gases output is negligible.
    Likewise why is such opposition established against “denialists” not only in GB but also in better-run nations like Switzerland?

  2. Is it just me? permalink
    October 30, 2020 6:09 pm

    All of these idealistic (often ‘academic’) idiots & their seemingly endless troupé of blind disciples (often living off mum & dad’s assets & pensions) – just where do they think a sustainable supply of money is going to come from to provide jobs, housing, health and opportunity? The tooth fairy? Shared lottery win? Developing nations must be laughing so hard at Europe they risk a hernia…

  3. yonason permalink
    October 30, 2020 6:10 pm

    Cutting to the chase…

    “Save the planet. Just die, already!”

    • Curious George permalink
      October 30, 2020 6:48 pm

      Just defund the academies.

      • yonason permalink
        October 30, 2020 7:25 pm

        Need to pass laws drastically limiting/eliminating foreign influence, for starters.

        And, as usual, the Left (Democrats) are up to their eyeballs in it (quote from above link).

        The Left corrupts everything it touches. It has not just touched, but wholly taken over, higher education in America. So no one should be surprised at the corruption implied by illegally undisclosed billions in foreign cash.

      • yonason permalink
        October 30, 2020 7:49 pm

        Note that the billions aren’t (yet) illegal, only not disclosing them.

  4. ianprsy permalink
    October 30, 2020 6:33 pm

    This shows the hypocrisy of local authorities like mine, who can declare a climate emergency and at the same time approve planning applications for enormous industrial units on green belt land.

    • Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
      October 30, 2020 9:11 pm

      Please explain what and where?

      • ianprsy permalink
        October 31, 2020 8:49 am

        N&J – Barnsley. Declared a climate emergency and instituted a “Zero40” ie absolute zero, not net zero, policy, even crazier than HMG’s, then approved a logistics hub for a large international logistics business, on greenfield land, with 595 HGV spaces a 650 car spaces. And that was just one of their targets. Plenty of brownfield land but it’s all in the wrong places, according to one councillor!

    • rwf1 permalink
      October 30, 2020 9:23 pm

      Green belt land, you mean housing restriction land…..used by the elite to drive up housing prices and keep the “riff-raff” out.

      Talk about hypocrisy!

      • Gerry, England permalink
        November 1, 2020 11:08 am

        You mean the policy of allowing unfettered immigration to increase the population, whilst also creating a welfare underclass who won’t work so we need some foreign workers to do the jobs they won’t, thus creating a housing shortage as we are not able to ship our bone idle to their countries.

    • Robert Christopher permalink
      October 31, 2020 8:01 am

      Hypocrisy? It’s more likely complete incompetence, with everyone following orders from others, and no-one having overall responsibility, but, instead, they speak Power to Truth, Political Power, not Electrical, unfortunately!

  5. Penda100 permalink
    October 30, 2020 6:35 pm

    Presumably shrinking the economy means shrinking the population? Or would that be a step too far?

    • Roger Cole permalink
      October 30, 2020 7:12 pm

      The population would be shrinking peacefully already were it not for the untramelled immigration that nobody voted for.

      • Penda100 permalink
        October 30, 2020 7:25 pm

        I was thinking of world population back to below one billion. At least nobody would be worried about climate change.

    • yonason permalink
      October 30, 2020 7:45 pm

      “…would that be a step too far?” – Penda100

      Only for us, not for activist control freaks.

      “I was thinking of world population back to below one billion. At least nobody would be worried about climate change.” – Penda100

      Assuming that would be a legitimate solution to anything, why would you think that control freaks would be satisfied with it if it occurred? It’s naive to think they wouldn’t come up with some other crisis that would fill them with rage and faux-righteous indignation at the rest of us for putting the world at risk because of (___fill in the blink___).

    • dennisambler permalink
      October 31, 2020 1:10 pm

      It’s not a new idea and population was way below Schellnhuber’s billion back then: Tertullian,c. 155 – c. 240? AD

      “What most frequently meets our view (and occasions complaint), is our teeming population: our numbers are burdensome to the world, which can hardly supply us from its natural elements; our wants grow more and more keen, and our complaints more bitter in all mouths, whilst Nature fails in affording us her usual sustenance.

      In very deed, pestilence, and famine, and wars, and earthquakes have to be regarded as a remedy for nations, as the means of pruning the luxuriance of the human race.”

  6. Broadlands permalink
    October 30, 2020 6:42 pm

    This Greta person is a child who has no educational background that should allow the UN or any other such organization to accept her “wisdom” without asking who is providing her the information. She must have puppeteers telling her what to say, even how to say it? Follow the money.

  7. Robert Christopher permalink
    October 30, 2020 7:02 pm

    Greta: … the fairy tale of eternal economic growth …

    I am surprised that Greta has such a grasp of the UK public sector – and of course the BBC.

    • yonason permalink
      October 30, 2020 7:36 pm

      Greta knows nothing

      She reads, as passionately as she can, what others write. But then, what does one expect from a perpetual truant (perhaps the wrong word, since she does appear to have official permission to remain a dunce).

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        October 31, 2020 9:52 am

        Abuse of a mentally ill child.

      • yonason permalink
        November 1, 2020 2:07 am


        With her parents’ consent, no less.

  8. Graeme No.3 permalink
    October 30, 2020 8:15 pm

    We could make a start by stopping any government spending on science which afterall counts towards the GDP. All we have to do is find scientists who doesn’t want any funding.

  9. October 30, 2020 8:40 pm

    Reblogged this on Rangitikei Environmental Health Watch.

  10. Robin Guenier permalink
    October 30, 2020 8:42 pm

    Finally there is the dilemma of what you do about developing countries. Are they to be denied the economic growth they need to bring their citizens out of poverty?

    No – because, as you know better than most Paul, they’re entitled under the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement to give first and overriding priority to economic development. And that’s what most of them are doing and will continue to do. They’re not interested in listening to lectures from ‘do-gooders’ in the West.

    • Thomas Carr permalink
      October 30, 2020 9:01 pm

      Very close to the mark, Robin. Strange that economic growth should be on the agenda in the west. We should be lucky to achieve economic recovery in the next five years.

      • Robin Guenier permalink
        October 31, 2020 7:48 am

        Only ‘close to the mark‘ Thomas? I suggest it’s right on the mark: developing countries are prioritising economic growth.

  11. Mike Stoddart permalink
    October 30, 2020 9:21 pm

    I read somewhere that 30% of the world’s people (us) consume 70% of the world’s output.
    If we opt for zero growth AND equality, the arithmetic doesn’t look too good for those of us living in the developed part of the globe.

    • rwf1 permalink
      October 30, 2020 9:27 pm

      I read that 30% of the world’s people produce 80% of its output.

      Once we ban fossil fuel there will be no transportation to move our stuff to them to equalize things, so you will be safe.

      • October 31, 2020 8:41 am

        .”safe” and dead because as the political agenda dressed up as science misses or conveniently ignores, one of the two main supporting pillars of modern medicine next to chlorine is……BENZINE and guess where that comes from?

    • Robin Guenier permalink
      October 31, 2020 7:55 am

      30% of the world’s people (us) consume 70% of the world’s output.

      That may have been true once. But no longer: the world has changed. Today the world’s principal consumer market is the huge and burgeoning middle class (probably close to a billion people) that has emerged across India, China and Southeast Asia.

      • Mike Stoddart permalink
        October 31, 2020 2:13 pm

        Whatever the precise proportions, the fact remains that zero growth and equality means a significant reduction in the living standards of those of us living in the more prosperous parts of the world.

      • Robin Guenier permalink
        October 31, 2020 2:26 pm

        Whatever the precise proportions, the huge and burgeoning middle class in India, China and Southeast Asia now comprises much of the prosperous part of the world. And, as they’re not concerned about zero growth and equality, they’re unlikely to experience any reduction in living standards – let alone a significant one.

  12. Paul Wilson permalink
    October 30, 2020 9:44 pm

    We are screaming out for a party that supports cheap,reliable energy and prioritises economic growth. There is no party remotely out there that has such a policy,a vaccum waiting to be filled.

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      October 31, 2020 9:54 am

      You and your sensible, factual options.

    • Chris permalink
      October 31, 2020 8:09 pm

      We have our Orange Man on this side of the pond. Gotta defund the Universities and take hold of the school curriculum and start the population control measures on the journos

    • Rowland P permalink
      November 1, 2020 2:25 pm

      The Heritage Party is worth a look. David Kurten is well aware of what is going on and the manifesto reads well.

  13. Gamecock permalink
    October 30, 2020 9:48 pm

    “the fairy tale of eternal economic growth”

    Economic growth has been going on for 4,500 years. I suppose it could stop, but that is a remote possibility. Possible only by governments stopping it.

  14. MrGrimNasty permalink
    October 30, 2020 10:26 pm

    This is interesting, as it contains some truths for a change, that you rarely see acknowledged by the BBC.

    • Phillip Bratby permalink
      October 31, 2020 6:26 am

      I don’t think the statement that wind costs £40/MWh is included in the “truths”.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        October 31, 2020 12:16 pm

        If you read more you’ll see it says that isn’t the only consideration – like I said, more honest than usual.

  15. October 31, 2020 2:08 am

    “Economic growth is bad for the climate”

    And for the brain too, apparently.

  16. Malcolm Bell permalink
    October 31, 2020 7:40 am

    If we are even slightly interested in reducing world poverty then either we progressively reduce western use of resources for others to share or we must increase consumption to provide for the poor. However, if world population is to continue to grow at about 3% a year the resource consumption must increase by the same amount just to keep people in the same level of poverty.

    In short, the problem is population and until that reduces equally across the board things can only get worse.


    • October 31, 2020 8:49 am

      And Malcolm, given that world population has increase by a staggering 27% in the last 20 years alone , all in places incapable of supporting the populations they started with I hardly see that anything but a fall in standards is inevitable. Someone needs a cold hard look at the perversion which is the industry called Western Charitable giving which has a major part in creating this exponential explosion in population and indeed is feeding and perpetuating it NOT solving anything. But hey people running charities from their posh offices are such “selfless” beings…..

    • Ariane permalink
      October 31, 2020 11:02 am

      Women have repeated pregnancies mainly when men can’t control themselves, because women lack contraception, because babies and small children die in undeveloped regions without electricity and good health care and where women lack good education and opportunities for earning.

    • Gamecock permalink
      October 31, 2020 11:30 am

      “If we are even slightly interested in reducing world poverty”

      A colonialist view.

  17. Chris Morris permalink
    October 31, 2020 7:56 am

    The people that push for a drop in the standard of living see themselves as in a class exempt ed from the strictures. Like all the private jets at Davos or the trustifarians in XR. Or those climate conferences in exotic locations. Poverty for thee but not for me seems to be their motto. The sceptics see them as just hypocrites. There needs to be a lot more publicity given to the actions not matching deeds. Has Emma Thompson lived down flying business class to a protest yet?

  18. Kestrel27 permalink
    October 31, 2020 8:00 am

    Look on the bright side. If, thanks to Covid or Government policy, there is negative economic growth they won’t be able to afford the green boondoggles that don’t work.

    • October 31, 2020 8:53 am

      Sadly Kestrel you are mistaken. The controls are completely off spending on asininity. It is the ones we need for normal life which will be cut back or cancelled. Just you watch. Virtue signalling will be the last thing to go….just look to history. I leave you with a quote from Paleontology. “Decadence and eccentricity are indicative of incipient decline and decay”.

    • Russ Wood permalink
      October 31, 2020 2:07 pm

      Well, down here in South Africa, the ANC government is in the process of using the economic disaster caused by the Covid + lockdown to try to institute full-on socialism! Funny that one of the first things they are doing is to reduce spending across the board in an attempt to restart the broke South African Airways!

  19. ianprsy permalink
    October 31, 2020 8:51 am

    Then there’s this:

    Unfortunately, nobody’d listening.

    • Ariane permalink
      October 31, 2020 11:28 am

      Thanks for the link, ianprsy. I’ve sent it to my MSP and MP.

      • ianprsy permalink
        October 31, 2020 12:24 pm

        Well done, Ariane. The more the merrier.

  20. Vernon E permalink
    October 31, 2020 11:01 am

    No point whatsoever in pontificating about what may or may not happen in developing countries. China is in charge and makes all the decisions – not always in a benign manner.

  21. Ariane permalink
    October 31, 2020 11:40 am

    Everyone seems to be missing the point of this particular post which is that it shows how de-growth was always the intention of the ‘environmentalist’ Deep Green, UNEP et al’s anti-CO2 movement, Included was always the intention to de-people the planet:


    De-growth and reducing populations are fundamentally ideals of the extreme Right. And anyone who supports these ideals has been either manipulated by extreme Right propaganda or is actually a nazi dressed up as a something fluffy – probably till such time when s/he can reveal themselves for what they really are.

    • Gamecock permalink
      October 31, 2020 6:04 pm

      “De-growth and reducing populations are fundamentally ideals of the extreme Right.”

      [citation needed]

      Have you not been paying attention the last 60 years?

      • Ariane permalink
        November 1, 2020 10:06 am

        Gamecock. citation is mine. Examples of extreme Right ideology given with the comment. Furthermore, as mentioned by me and others in other posts, Leftism is (for all that wealthy so-called Leftists abuse the term) is (or used to be whem Marx wrote about it) about working people controlling the means of production and becoming prosperous. Of course, when wealthy and influential people choose to brand themselves ‘Leftist’, the term gets hijacked – which has probably been the intention of the extreme Right all along i.e. to claim that their campaign is Leftist and thus hijack idealism, altruism and youthful energy for their pernicious purpose of de-industrialisation, reducing population sizes and keeping working people under their control and as poor as possible. Indeed, I have been paying attention.

  22. cajwbroomhill permalink
    October 31, 2020 12:35 pm

    There is only one rational policy on today’s or future anticipation of climate changes.

    That is to end the total futility and waste asssociated with man’s attempts to influence climate changes.

    That would be true whether or not the whole endeavour is the result of a scam, as seems very likely.

    However it’s probably too late to end this futility because the great and the good are in favour of the inevitable fiasco.

  23. Ian Simpson permalink
    October 31, 2020 12:56 pm

    I am a naturally sceptic person, being a certain age and who has had enough of “snake oil salesmen” over many years; I am not a scientist and my default position is to detest politicians from past experience – meetings in person and through communications; I understand, from reading Dr Yeadon’s expose ( thank you ianspry ) why I have had a nagging suspicion about the Boris/Sage suppression strategy and why Dr Yeadon and others are “incandescent” with rage. The UK is clearly in the grip of dangerously ignorant people.

    I am staggered that, in all the TV press conferences foisted on Joe Public, that I have witnessed, not once do I recall ANY mention by Whitty/Valance/van-Tam of pre existing immunity by virtue of the gene level similarity of ALL Coronaviruses. I had a bout of Asian flu 3 winters ago and from Dec 6 to around mid January the following year I was very seriously ill and bedridden for almost 3 weeks – the flu jab missed the strain I got, confirmed after some blood tests. I hope my T cells are in good order.. Keep up the good work and thanks

  24. jack broughton permalink
    October 31, 2020 1:04 pm

    The real elephant in the room that these people refuse to see is that the climate is only following a natural path: man’s input is beneath any measurement among the noise in all climatic measurable data.

    Our arty-parliament believes that some groups of “eminent scientists” must be right, so has cut out all opposition. They need to go back to their history books, especially HH Lamb’s works and encourage the debate that they have censored so effectively. The USA seems to be the only country where this issue is debated openly: maybe to end net week!

  25. Dave Gardner permalink
    October 31, 2020 3:17 pm

    I don’t think this is a new development, science bodies have been anti-growth for many years. Here’s an example from 2012:

    In this one, the Royal Society issued a joint statement in 2012 with all other world science bodies (apparently there were 105 of them) for governments to take action on reducing consumption and controlling population.

    The idea that you can have a country powered by Green technology and still have a reasonable amount of economic growth seems to me to be a ‘mass delusion’ shared by Western ‘progressive’ politicians. I don’t think most of the Green blob are anywhere near as keen on economic growth as the Green leaning politicians.

    Unfortunately in the UK I would say about two thirds of our politicians (in the House of Commons) could be regarded as ‘progressive’. That includes at least a third of the parliamentary Conservative party who identify as ‘One Nation Conservatives’, and this group of Conservative MPs could be regarded as de facto Lib Dems.

    One of the biggest advocates of this idea of ‘green growth’ that progressive politicians espouse was the British environmentalist Tom Burke. He was awarded a CBE in the 1990s for his advisory services to the Major government. According to the Wikipedia article about Burke, he first came up with the expression ‘green growth’ in 1987.

    • Ariane permalink
      November 1, 2020 10:17 am

      Scientists at the IPCC and Royal Society have always played catch up to the Green blob. The chronology starts around the time of the Club of Rome’s The Limits to Growth, the foundation of the UNEP etc. Like a paradigm shift, economic growth started to be criticized (by the wealthy), then ‘sustainable economic growth’ was invented and now we have open calls for de-growth. The same trajectory starting in the ’70s. The Royal Society just got on the band wagon to keep their careers going, like politicians, academics….An excellent book on the subject of corruption in science would be Andrew Montford’s The Hockey Stick Illusion.

  26. October 31, 2020 3:24 pm

    Sophie Tucker said: “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. And, believe me, rich is better”

  27. Henning Nielsen permalink
    October 31, 2020 8:41 pm

    “The report by the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council, chaired by British chemist and former civil servant Dr Michael Norton, argues that measuring GDP has led to rampant consumption and financial growth which is destroying the planet and not making us happier.”

    The situation is dire. Clearly, a saviour must come forth. And here I am! Yea, my long-suffering soul is willing to accept even more burdens for the sake of humanity. Offload all your rampant consumption and financial growth onto my sagging shoulders, and you will be redeemed! Verily I tell ye; it is not too late to happily de-ramp your consumption and un-grow your finances, I take your sins upon me and my bank account is….

    • cajwbroomhill permalink
      November 1, 2020 2:55 pm

      “Es gibt kein schlechtes Wetter, sondern nur falsche Kleidung” will fox or even silence most of the climate change enthusiasts and tragedians.
      (There is no such thing as bad weather, only to wear the wrong clothes)

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