A new report published in Nature magazine that looks at how nutrition, sanitation and electricity can be provided to the more than 7 billion people on earth “without destabilizing planetary processes” is being skewered by a Climate Depot commentary as a recipe for billions “to remain mired in poverty.”
“The environmental movement wants to make the rich West much poorer so that the destitute can become richer,” said Climate Depot Editor Marc Morano.
“Rather than improve the plight of the developing world through such crucial projects as constructing an Africa-wide electrical grid, environmentalists say significant progress will have to wait until the improvements can be sustainable – meaning that billions will have to remain mired in poverty to ‘save the earth,'” he said. “Having ruled out substantial growth for our destitute brothers and sisters, we are told that we will have to substantially redistribute the wealth of the West to the poor, so that the entire globe can live in a substantially lower (for us) but relatively equal standard of living.
“In other words, forget creating a world with freedom of opportunity, but tilt at Utopian windmills to force equal outcomes: To each according to his needs, from each according to his ability.”
Authors Daniel O’Neill, Andrew Fanning, William Lamb and Julia Steinberger say the challenge now is to provide essentials to 7 billion people “without destabilizing critical planetary processes.
They explained they have found that no country “meets basic needs for its citizens at a globally sustainable level of resource use.”
Requirements for people to all feel a “high life satisfaction” would demand “a level of resource use that is 2-6 times the sustainable level, based on current relationships,” the report said.
The goals need to include “sufficiency” in resource consumption.
“Our results suggest resource use could be reduced significantly in many wealthy countries without affecting social outcomes, while also achieving a more equitable distribution among countries,” the report explained. “A focus on sufficiency would involve recognizing that overconsumption burdens societies with a variety of social and environmental problems, and moving beyond the pursuit of GDP growth to embrace new measures of progress.”
A key to that could be “the pursuit of ‘degrowth’ in wealthy nations.”
Among the steps: improving physical provisioning systems, switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy, products with longer lifetimes, cutting unnecessary waste andusing crop products instead of animal products.
Further, “the majority of energy generation [needs] to be decarbonized by 2050.”
Explained Morano: “In other words, growth is out. We must live within economic and social systems strictly limited by arbitrary boundaries on the use of resources established by ‘the experts.'”
He criticizes the report authors for describing how nations “with higher levels of life satisfaction and healthy life expectancy” also “transgress more biophysical boundaries.”
“They talk democracy. But they don’t mean it, as they prescribe an international technocratic tyranny – couched in passive language – that would take from the successful to give to those in need in order to prevent their increased use of natural resources.”
He pointed out the demand for “provisioning systems” to be “restructured.”
“How are you going to do that, fellows? Confiscation of wealth? Increased socialism? Destruction of democracy for those countries not willing to strip their walls bare? In so many words, all of the above,” he wrote.
The report’s authors note that part of the solution could be “the pursuit of ‘degrowth’ in wealthy nations.”
Morano commented: “The authors conclude that we just can’t continue to thrive, much less free our brothers and sisters mired in poverty to reach Western levels of prosperity.”
Morano pointed out that the concepts were published “in the world’s most prestigious science journal.”
“As I always say, if you want to see what will next go wrong in society, just read the professional journals.”
The scientists claim that without adoption of their views, and the appropriate action, there is the “potential to undermine the Earth-system processes upon which development ultimately depends.”
They use “good life” levels based on both physical needs and social indicators.
“Close to 60 percent of the countries analyzed perform well on the social indicators related to meeting physical needs such as nutrition and access to energy, and close to 70 percent have eliminated poverty below the US. $1.90 a day line,” the report said.
However, “only a quarter of the countries analyzed achieve sufficient outcomes on the indicators of life satisfaction and social support, while leses than a fifth achieve sufficient outcomes on the indicators of democratic quality and equality.”