When you hear “Green Growth,” “Closed-loop Economy,” or “Net zero”, watch your wallet.

April 25, 2020 by Joshua
in Nature

People love someone justifying doing what they know hurts others but they just want to anyway. They’d believe jet planes emit rainbows and unicorns if they wanted to see the Eiffel Tower enough.

Hell, they basically do believe their flights don’t pollute and that drilling and refining the oil fueling them didn’t destroy people’s homes, air, land, and water when they spend a few dollars on “carbon offsets.” People love feeling absolved of responsibility for actions that make them feel guilty. They usually respond to their conscience feeling free by polluting more.

Every time I’ve heard the terms “green growth,” “closed loop,” and “net zero,” the context has been applying “creative” accounting—that is, deception—to something revoltingly unsustainable, leading to people feeling absolved of responsibility. Like counterproductive carbon offsets, the labels lead to people not reducing their waste, but feeling good about their behavior.

I call the pattern “stepping on the gas, thinking it’s the brake, and feeling they deserve congratulations for it”—the worst combination for changing things. It motivates not changing.

I don’t want to overstate myself. Simply living means exhaling carbon dioxide and consuming resources. People who use the terms generally mean well and probably reduce pollution some, even if a small fraction of what they could if they focused on reduction over accounting tricks.

A quick search will find plenty of research about “green growth,” “closed loop,” and “net zero” not achieving what they claim. If interested, you can start with Decoupling Debunked. You can find plenty more.

Actually, I recommend starting with focusing on reducing consumption. Nobody believes me when I say it, but you’ll find it improves your life beyond what you might expect.

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