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Degrowth: is this the end of GDP?

3 episodes
  • 1
    Green growth is an illusion
  • 2
    Reducing emissions: how to be more energy “sufficient”
  • 3
    “Degrowth goes far beyond reduction of GDP”
Épisode 1/3
On February 1st, 2022
4 min reading time
Alain Grandjean
Alain Grandjean
Co-founder of Carbone 4 and member of the High Council for the Climate

Key takeaways

  • Carbone 4 argues that reducing environmental impacts requires a change in economic models – particularly GDP.
  • Our economies must therefore be steered by more relevant physical and social indicators that allow us to ensure that we are respecting our planet’s limits.
  • For this to happen requires “decoupling” to occur, the dissociation between economic prosperity and consumption of resources and energy.
  • This decoupling can only partially be possible decreases in fossil fuel consumption end up affecting other environmental pressures or if it is limited to a decrease in the carbon intensity of GDP.
  • Solar, wind, nuclear and biomass energies face numerous technical, financial, and sometimes even democratic limitations. These low-carbon energies are neither free, nor unlimited, nor easy to deploy.
Épisode 2/3
On February 1st, 2022
4 min reading time
Julie Mayer
Julie Mayer
Researcher and Lecturer at I³-CRG* at École Polytechnique (IP Paris)
Mathias Guerineau
Mathias Guérineau
lecturer in management science at Université de Nantes

Key takeaways

  • Energy sufficiency is defined as a way of organising ourselves to better meet energy needs by limiting what we consume - consuming less to do more.
  • It is now recognised by law as a factor in reducing overall energy consumption to achieve carbon neutrality, by switching to renewable energy.
  • Contrary to preconceived ideas, many initiatives promote sufficiency as a project that creates value in terms of reducing pollution, preserving nature, making financial savings and strengthening social ties.
  • When we talk about sufficiency, some people hear "restriction" or "de-growth", which can lead to opposition. But this is not entirely true. In a way, some see it as "intelligent deconsumption".
  • Considering that doing "less" or "just enough" has benefits may imply moving towards new ways of organising or thinking.
Épisode 3/3
On February 1st, 2022
4 min reading time
Timothée Parrique
Timothée Parrique
Researcher in Ecological Economics at the School of Economics, Lund University, Sweden

Key takeaways

  • Degrowth is a planned and democratic reduction of production and consumption in rich countries to reduce environmental pressures and inequality, while improving well-being.
  • Economists who study degrowth agree that it is not possible under the current constraints of our economy. As such, another economic system, which could thrive without being forced to keep growing, is needed.
  • Environmental pressures are correlated with income. The latest available figures tell us that the richest 10% of individuals are responsible for half of global emissions.
  • We can make a small portion of growth greener, but only when considering some environmental pressures. For Timothée Parrique we must therefore continue to transform production through eco-efficiency, while investing in sufficiency, and find ways to reduce production and consumption.