Economy Continues to Grow Despite Decrease in Emissions

carbon output

Economists used to measure progress using emission rates correlated to GDP, now that comparison is ridiculous. A few years ago we looked at how carbon output is shrinking while economies grow and that is continuing to be the case. Earlier this year it was predicted that the global economy will continue to see a separation of economic progress and an increase in carbon output. This year it looks like we have been able to stall carbon output again (so now I’m hoping it will start going down).

What makes the three-year trend most remarkable is the fact that the global economy grew at more than 3% per year during this time. Previously, falling emissions were driven by stagnant or shrinking economies, such as during the global financial crisis of 2008.

Developed countries, together, showed a strong declining trend in emissions, cutting them by 1.7% in 2015. This decline was despite emissions growth of 1.4% in the European Union after more than a decade of declining emissions.

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Thanks to Delaney!

Standing Rock Sioux Achieve a Victory

Standing Rock #DAPL

This is proof that direct protest action works.

The US Army Corps of Engineers has decided to not grant permission to allow the Dakota Access pipeline to be built as planned. The pipeline was meant to go through burial lands of the Standing Rock Sioux which is offensive in itself, but there’s more to it. The pipeline would have also greatly harmed the local ecosystem and drinking water. In the event of a spill (and pipelines spill all the time) the damage to the natural environment and to people would be epic.

Despite these risks, Energy Transfer Partners and the Army Corps of Engineers will continue to try to build the pipeline elsewhere. Of course this recent development will make it harder to do so and the protestors will continue to fight big oil for the average person’s right to clean water. What’s more, is that the economic argument for pipelines is weak at best.

The Army Corps of Engineers will not grant the permit for the Dakota Access pipeline to drill under the Missouri river, the army announced on Sunday, handing a major victory to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe after a months-long campaign against the pipeline.


The announcement came just one day before the corps’ deadline for thousands of Native American and environmental activists – who call themselves water protectors – to leave the sprawling encampment on the banks of the river. For months, they have protested over their fears that the pipeline would contaminate their water source and destroy sacred sites, and over the weekend hundreds of military veterans arrived at the camps in a show of support for the movement.

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47 Developing Countries Leapfrogging to Renewables

wind turbine

At the tail end of the Marrakech UN conference on the climate 47 countries formed the Climate Vulnerable Forum to share the one goal: getting to 100% renewable energy as fast as possible. Previously, economists and politicians argued that developing countries will need to use coal or other destructive carbon-based energy before upgrading to renewables. With the cheap price of solar panels and other non-carbon intensive electricity it looks like these countries can skip coal. They are hoping to replicate the infrastructure “leapfrog” that mobile phones created in much of the world with renewable power.

Members of the CVF hope to perform the same kind of ‘leapfrogging’ with regards to energy.

The 47 members of the CVF – which includes nations like Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Haiti – say they’ll “strive to meet 100 percent domestic renewable energy production as rapidly as possible, while working to end energy poverty and protect water and food security, taking into consideration national circumstances”.

The goal is to have all of these systems in place some time between 2030 and 2050, and the members have committed to presenting a detailed plan to the UN by 2020.

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It’s Time for the Economy to Shrink

money
money

With the frequent boom and bust cycles the economy goes through it is rare for people to argue that perhaps the downward portion of cycles should continue. Shrinking the economy can actually be a good thing when done with good direction. DW has gathered many examples of places and people around the world that are improving despite their economies declining.

Instead of recklessly pursuing economic progress we should consider slowing down and pursue sane economic and environmental progress.

Currently, few question the pursuit of economic growth. From national economic policies to international programs for sustainable development, growth has typically been the goal.

But some economists now argue that on a planet with finite resources, we may have to stop growing in order to survive.

“More economic growth means more and material extracted out of nature, and more and waste after we use these materials,” sais Giorgos Kallis, an ecological economist and editor of “Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era.”

“With the current level of economic growth – and aspired levels of growth – there is no way to avoid dramatic and catastrophic change of the climate.”

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Canada to Phase Out Coal Power Plants

power plant
The Canadian government has decided to end the use of coal for electricity by the year 2030. To make up the lost production the provinces which still use coal will have to replace their power plants with sustainable alternatives. This makes a lot of sense since using coal for electricity is really (really really really) bad for the environment and, as regular readers of this site know, the cost of setting up renewable energy is getting cheaper every year.

Let’s hope that other countries follow suit and stop using coal to produce electricity.

In announcing the plan today, federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said about 80 per cent of Canada’s electricity currently comes from clean sources such as hydroelectric power, nuclear, wind and solar. The goal is to make 90 per cent of electric power generation free of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

“This will help build a more sustainable future, and it is also a great economic opportunity,” she said during a news conference in Ottawa.

The plan accelerates the current timetable for the four provinces that still burn coal for electricity — Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick — to either capture carbon emissions, adopt technology or shut down the plants.

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