Ecomodernists, techno-optimists, and closed-loop advocates: why don’t you believe your own hype?

October 29, 2023 by Joshua
in Nature

The Ecomodernist Manifesto talks about “decoupling,” meaning growing the economy and population without growing environmental impact. Techno-optimists talk about “green growth” and “closed loops.”

Just giving an idea a name doesn’t make it possible. These concepts have been debunked like cold fusion and perpetual motion machines, yet people like to use them to rationalize and justify business as usual.

But the people promoting decoupling, green growth, and closed loops don’t believe themselves. If you believe you can grow the economy, population, or both without increasing environmental degradation, it follows that you believe we can decrease extraction without lowering GDP. So you shouldn’t mind not extracting fossil fuels or uranium. After all, if they’re decoupled or the loop is closed, the economy doesn’t need them. Or maybe you believe we need them, but we can clean whatever mess they cause, then why isn’t the mess being cleaned? Extinctions are increasing, as are ocean plastic, refugees, aquifer depletion, and a host of other problems.

Did I miss anything? If not: Techno-optimists, ecomodernists, and closed-loop advocates: put up or shut up. Put your money where your mouth is and promote leaving fossil fuels and uranium in the ground or stop promoting things you don’t believe.

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