Letters | Why Hong Kong – and the world – should stop focusing on boosting economic growth
- The report of the UN panel on climate change did not take into account a scenario in which economic growth declines. The fight against climate change calls for degrowth strategies
- China has already taken steps to de-emphasise GDP growth as a measure of success. Others, including Hong Kong, should follow suit
Keyßer and Lenzen note that in none of the 222 scenarios it modelled did the IPCC include declining gross domestic product growth. All the scenarios made assumptions of negative emission technologies (NETs), such as carbon capture and storage, that have yet to be proven at scale. Degrowth strategies have been ignored in favour of pro-growth strategies that rely on unproven, forward-looking technological solutions.
South Korea decided in 2009 to invest 2 per cent of its annual GDP in what was then known as “green growth”. It involved investment in environmentally friendly projects such as renewable energy. While the plan was economically successful, greenhouse gas emissions in South Korea rose between 2009 and 2014.
Hong Kong has long been an unabashedly free-market, pro-growth economy. Along with other developed economies, Hong Kong should rapidly “degrow” if the world is to avoid climate catastrophe.
It’s time Hong Kong policymakers aligned themselves with the national thinking or rather took leadership towards degrowth-based economic policy to avoid environmental outcomes that cause great hardship to millions.
Dhanada K. Mishra, Sai Kung