Climate crisis and insatiable growth

Sir, – There has been much discussion in recent weeks on strategies aimed at decarbonising the energy sector as a key goal towards meeting targets set out in the Paris accords. It has provoked a welcome debate on the merits of nuclear power as an option as we figure out how to balance the needs of constant supply with the intermittent nature of renewables. However, while we focus on this key task, we need to remember that reducing carbon emissions is only one part of the battle.

Climate change is but one manifestation of a wider crisis threatening the ability of the planet to support life.

So while the decarbonisation of energy production is to be welcomed, we need to reflect on what that energy is being used for. To put it in perspective, the energy we are decarbonising is used to drive a global material extraction process that has practically doubled to nearly 90 billion tonnes per annum in the last 30 years.

According to the UN, material extraction alone is responsible for 80 per cent of biodiversity loss globally. This is the extraction used to feed the insatiable growth addiction of disposable capitalism.


As we approach the critical COP26 summit we need to reflect on what kind of economic model we want going forward, one that is compatible with a sustainable existence or one that destroys the planet even with decarbonised energy. – Yours, etc,