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Is green growth possible?

Monday May 10, 2021, from 13:15 to 14:45
Research seminar

Giorgios Kallis (Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB))

In his presentation, Giorgos Kallis will question one of the prevalent policy legends in climate and environmental policy: that continuous economic growth is not only compatible with, but also necessary for, sustainability. Looking at the latest data on resource use and carbon emissions, the speaker will show how the empirical record dismisses the expectation of absolute decoupling (separating) of GDP growth from environmental damage. Kallis will discuss common arguments given in support of green growth, and find them wanting. Addressing sustainability challenges requires going beyond ‘fairy tales of growth’ where technology and markets will solve soon and smoothly all environmental problems, and instead grapple with the tough social and institutional changes at stake.

Giorgos Kallis is an ecological economist, political ecologist, and ICREA Professor at ICTA-UAB. He is the author of 'Limits' (Stanford University Press, 2019) and 'The case for Degrowth' (Polity Press, 2020). His research is motivated by a quest to cross conceptual divides between the social and the natural domains, with particular focus on the political-economic roots of environmental degradation and its uneven distribution along lines of power, income, and class. His current work explores the hypothesis of sustainable degrowth as a solution to the dual economic and ecological crisis. He was previously a Marie Curie Fellow at the Energy and Resources group at UC Berkeley, and he holds a PhD in Environmental Policy from the University of the Aegean, an MSc in Economics from Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and an MSc in Environmental Engineering and a Bachelors in Chemistry from Imperial College, London.

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