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In recent years the concept of a “carbon budget” has entered the lexicon of climate science. This concept refers to the maximum amount of carbon emissions that can be released into the atmosphere if the world is to keep within the “2 degree” temperature rise that was agreed to during the Copenhagen conference in 2009. Climate scientist, Kevin Anderson, has argued that if the world is going to keep to its carbon budget, the most developed (Annex 1) nations need to reduce emissions by 8–10 % p.a. over the coming decades. Anderson also argues that this level of reductions cannot be met purely from a “supply side” solution of scaling up renewable energy. While scaling up renewable energy is necessary, such deep and rapid emissions reductions actually have to be supported by reducing emissions from the “demand side” too. While these assumptions are clearly stated, ethically sound and scientifically robust, their implications are radical. Economic orthodoxy holds that economic growth is incompatible with emissions reductions of more than 3 % or 4 % p.a., from which it would follow that avoiding runaway climate change requires degrowth in the Annex 1 nations. In this chapter we examine these assumptions and explore some of their socio-economic and political implications. In particular, we outline various “power-down” policies for deep and rapid decarbonization that would initiate a degrowth transition.
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- The Degrowth Imperative: Reducing Energy and Resource Consumption as an Essential Component in Achieving Carbon Budget Targets
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Chapter 4
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