Socialist Party books and pamphlets

Planning Green Growth


The Green Growth Agenda

Green growth proponents can be divided into two camps, those advocating 'hard' and 'soft' sustainability.

Soft sustainability provides little more than a fig leaf for firms or governments to pretend they are taking some action on the environment, backing Kyoto would fit into this pattern.

The advocates of hard sustainability, on the other hand, are sincere in wanting to tackle environmental problems, and in particular, see that steady state green policies will make it impossible to eradicate poverty in the so called Third World.

It is clear to them that even if some of the green scenarios calling for cuts in Southern consumption, from its already near subsistence level, are not implemented, the scope for redistribution of 'surplus' consumption in the North will be small.

Most advocates of green growth say that it is possible to reduce environmental intensity sufficiently to allow the sustainable expansion of consumption using market methods.

The problems with such a programme were analysed earlier, where the conclusion was reached that the market tools available are inadequate for the scale of the task of reducing environmental intensity by 90%, the minimum necessary consistent with even modest growth in the 'South'.

Furthermore, the introduction of even these weak methods would slash the profits of the multi-nationals, particularly in the USA, and would therefore not be implemented.