A New Political Economy for a Healthy Planet

Hickel, Jason (2022). A New Political Economy for a Healthy Planet. Reimagining the Human-Environment Relationship. UN University and UN Environment Programme.

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  • Sub-type Discussion paper
    Author Hickel, Jason
    Title A New Political Economy for a Healthy Planet
    Series Title Reimagining the Human-Environment Relationship
    Publication Date 2022-05-18
    Place of Publication New York and Geneva
    Publisher UN University and UN Environment Programme
    Pages 15
    Language eng
    Abstract The global economy, which is organized around and dependent on perpetual expansion or “growth”, is presently overshooting several critical planetary boundaries – not only in terms of climate change, but also land-use change, biogeochemical flows, chemical pollution, and species extinction. Empirical research has demonstrated that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is tightly coupled to resource and energy use. This rising energy use makes rapid decarbonization more difficult to achieve, while rising resource use is driving ecosystem destruction and biodiversity loss. Additionally, ecological overshoot is being driven overwhelmingly by high-income countries who rely on a large net appropriation of resources from the rest of the world, achieved through patterns of unequal exchange in international trade. Recognizing these problems, the dominant policy response for the past half-century has been to call for “green growth”, hoping that GDP can be absolutely decoupled from resource and energy use such that income can continue to rise while resource use declines to sustainable levels. However, existing modelled scenarios find that sufficient absolute decoupling is not feasible. Ecological objectives are therefore unlikely to be achieved so long as high-income countries continue to pursue growth at usual rates. Ecological economists, therefore, call for a different approach: high-income countries should actively scale down less necessary forms of production and consumption and re-organize the economy around human well-being. New models indicate that this approach could allow us to achieve our ecological goals while at the same time improving social outcomes as well as ensuring the possibility of global justice and international development.
    Keyword Stockholm+50
    Climate change
    Climate change adaptation
    Political economy analysis
    Copyright Holder United Nations University
    Copyright Year 2022
    Copyright type Creative commons
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    Created: Wed, 18 May 2022, 06:11:37 JST by Dursi, Anthony on behalf of UNU Centre