Why Growth Can’t Be Green

Only growth can ever be green. Look at the parts of the world that have grown into fully developed economies. Those are also the countries that have the cleanest environment. Don’t believe it – try any poor country you want. Go there and see how well environmental rules are set and implemented. Environmental protection costs money. And when money is sparse, nobody cares much for the environment. A corollary is that if we implement environmental policies now that will make us poorer, we will hamstring our own ability to do real environmental protection. preserving nature is a worthy effort. But it’s not free and only growing economies can pay for that. In the end, the entrepreneur and those working with him is the best guarantor of a clean environment.

Warnings about ecological breakdown have become ubiquitous. Over the past few years, major newspapers, including the Guardian and the New York Times, have carried alarming stories on soil depletion, deforestation, and the collapse of fish stocks and insect populations. These crises are being driven by global economic growth, and its accompanying consumption, which is destroying the Earth’s biosphere and blowing past key planetary boundaries that scientists say must be respected to avoid triggering collapse.

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