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Global Warming: Study: “Growing Green” Doesn’t Work

Global Warming: Study: “Growing Green” Doesn’t Work

This also applies to Austria, which is one of the eleven countries to achieve separation. Only recently have figures released by the Federal Environment Agency showed that greenhouse gas emissions in Austria 2022 at the lowest value Since the calculations began in 1990. In the current study, the authors Jevem Vogel from the University of Leeds (UK) and Jason Heckel However, the Autonomous University of Barcelona has estimated that Austria will have to increase its carbon dioxide reductions by thirty times between 2013 and 2019 in order to fulfill the promises of the Paris climate agreement.

Experts state that emissions must be reduced in order to limit global warming to a “manageable” minimum. The Paris climate targets set 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius as a maximum of average global warming by 2100. Vogel and Heckel have just written that this will not work under current growth-oriented strategies. In The Lancet Planetary Health.

220 years to reach emissions targets

They compared the reduction targets agreed in the Paris climate agreement for 36 high-income countries with their actual emissions. Only 11 countries managed to achieve “green growth” from 2013 to 2019 – decoupling economic growth and carbon dioxide emissions: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden, Great Britain and Austria. .

The results were alarming: “There is nothing green about the economic growth of these countries,” says lead author Vogel, who works at the Institute for Sustainability Research at the University of Leeds (UK). The discrepancies between climate goals and current trends are enormous: According to the study, it will take an average of about 220 years for states to cut emissions by the 95 percent required by the climate agreement by 2050. On the way there, states will produce 27 times more than agreed upon. in the Paris Agreement. On average, it will be necessary to conduct a separation ten times higher than it is now.

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Jevem Vogel and Jason Heckel, The Lancet Planetary Health

Current emission trajectories (red dashed) vs. emission trajectories needed to achieve the 1.5-degree target (blue dashed)

Austria is in the lowest category

The researchers defined the reduction target as the share of the country’s population Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change A calculated carbon budget that can be used at most to achieve the Paris climate goals. They used a consumption-based definition to calculate actual emissions. This includes all emissions caused by a product over its life, regardless of the country in which they occur.

Incidentally, Austria is only segregated from carbon dioxide by this definition. If one only refers to the emissions that originate directly in Austria, GDP is still dependent on emissions. With thirty times the need to work (based on the 2013-2019 study period), Austria is in the worst-performing category alongside Belgium, Australia, Canada and Germany. According to the study, Austria’s carbon dioxide sequestration rate is the second lowest among the countries studied, after Belgium.

Post-growth is essential

The study authors argue that achieving climate goals cannot be achieved with growth, regardless of whether it is “green” or not. In order to do something good for the climate, the economy must reorient itself in general – towards goals of frugality and fairness. “If countries are to live up to their commitments under the Paris Agreement, they must adopt “post-growth” approaches. That means closing energy-intensive and less-essential production routes, reducing consumption by the rich, and shifting from private cars to public transport.

Likewise, energy consumption must be reduced, while at the same time countries must invest in increased efficiency and renewable energies – with the help of public money. with “post growth“The liberated productive capacities such as factories, workers and materials can be remobilized to achieve social and environmental goals.”

Heckel speaks, for example, of “guaranteeing green jobs” and of laws aimed at extending the life of products – such as guaranteeing repairs – and repurposing buildings in order to avoid new construction. Wealth taxes are also needed to close the gap between the rich and the poor, achieve more sustainable agriculture, and increase the number of vegetarians.

conservative estimate

According to the authors, the study is a conservative estimate because it does not contain any data on emissions from agriculture and forestry, international air traffic and shipping – and thus takes into account a number of factors. major emissions drivers no. Experts are sure that if they factored these things into their calculations, they would have to cut emissions much faster.