The 5G Revolution: Millions of “Human Guinea Pigs” in Big Telecom’s Global Experiment

Not directly related to degrowth but important I believe.

The big pitch for 5G is that the networks dramatically increase the speed of wireless communications. Not only will this innovation improve download speeds of high definition video, it will allow for virtually instantaneous connections between gadgets, thereby allowing for everything from virtual reality game-playing in real time, to driver-less cars with much better reaction times than humans (thereby reducing the likelihood of traffic fatalities) to surgeons in far-away communities able to conduct delicate surgeries using robotic mechanisms. [4] Intriguing as these technological novelties may be, they do come with a significant downside. A multitude of peer-reviewed scientific studies have pointed to the negative health impacts associated with the microwave radiation used in existing wireless networks. These include childhood cancer and behavioural effects, brain tumours, neurological effects including memory and cognitive deficits, male infertility effects, neuropsychiatric effects including depression, Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity, DNA damage, and malignant melanoma.

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Ecosocialists debate the Green New Deal

A thought provoking overview and critique of the Green New Deal (GND). The clip below being but one element covered in this longish review.

The central ambivalence running through the essay is whether the Green New Deal is too radical to be implemented (given the exigencies of capitalist growth, capital’s capture of our political system, and the balance of class forces) or, on the contrary, it is not radical enough, a mere ornamental reform that allows pretty much all of the aforementioned to continue uninterrupted.

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Melting permafrost in the Arctic could have a $70tn climate impact

The release of methane and carbon dioxide from thawing permafrost will accelerate global warming and [could] add up to $70 trillion (£54tn) to the world’s climate bill, according to the most advanced study yet of the economic consequences of a melting Arctic.

Download the 11 page Nature study at

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Limits to green growth and the dynamics of innovation – Salvador Pueyo


Central to the official green growth discourse is the conjecture that absolute decoupling can be achieved with certain market instruments. This paper evaluates this claim focusing on the role of technology, while changes in GDP composition are treated elsewhere. Some fundamental difficulties for absolute decoupling, referring specifically to thermodynamic costs, are identified through a stylized model based on empirical knowledge on innovation and learning. Normally, monetary costs decrease more slowly than production grows, and this is unlikely to change should monetary costs align with thermodynamic costs, except, potentially, in the transition after the price reform. Furthermore, thermodynamic efficiency must eventually saturate for physical reasons. While this model, as usual, introduces technological innovation just as a source of efficiency, innovation also creates challenges: therefore, attempts to sustain growth by ever-accelerating innovation collide also with the limited reaction capacity of people and institutions. Information technology could disrupt innovation dynamics in the future, permitting quicker gains in eco-efficiency, but only up to saturation and exacerbating the downsides of innovation. These observations suggest that long-term sustainability requires much deeper transformations than the green growth discourse presumes, exposing the need to rethink scales, tempos and institutions, in line with ecological economics and the degrowth literature.

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Is Green Growth Possible? – Kallis and Hickel


The notion of green growth has emerged as a dominant policy response to climate change and ecological breakdown. Green growth theory asserts that continued economic expansion is compatible with our planet’s ecology, as technological change and substitution will allow us to absolutely decouple GDP growth from resource use and carbon emissions. This claim is now assumed in national and international policy, including in the Sustainable Development Goals. But empirical evidence on resource use and carbon emissions does not support green growth theory. Examining relevant studies on historical trends and model-based projections, we find that: (1) there is no empirical evidence that absolute decoupling from resource use can be achieved on a global scale against a background of continued economic growth, and (2) absolute decoupling from carbon emissions is highly unlikely to be achieved at a rate rapid enough to prevent global warming over 1.5°C or 2°C, even under optimistic policy conditions. We conclude that green growth is likely to be a misguided objective, and that policymakers need to look toward alternative strategies.

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All What Your Jeans Can (and Do) Hide! – Other News

The fashion industry is considered by the UN Conference on Trade and Development UNCTAD, to be the second most polluting industry in the world”. In fact, according to UNCTAD, some 93 billion cubic metres of water – enough to meet the needs of five million people – is used by the fashion industry annually, and around half a million tons of micro-fibre, which is the equivalent of 3 million barrels of oil, is now being dumped into the ocean every year.

For its part, one of the top world bodies in charge of environmental issues UN Environment provides more conservative figures. It says that considering cotton production, manufacture, transport and washing, it takes 3,781 litres of water to make one pair of jeans. (That is equivalent to the amount of water the average person drinks over a period of 3 1/2 years.) Furthermore, “the process equates to around 33.4 kilograms of carbon equivalent emitted, like driving 111 kilometres or watching 246 hours of TV on a big screen”.

Even just washing our clothes releases plastic microfibres and other pollutants into the environment, contaminating our oceans and drinking water, UN Environment warns and adds that around 20% of global industrial water pollution is from dyeing and textile treatment.

Some studies estimate that the average garment is worn ten times before being discarded. “Of the total fibre input used for clothing, 87 per cent is incinerated or sent to landfill. Overall, one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or incinerated every second”.

The issue is so alarming that it has pushed 10 different UN organisations to join forces through an Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, which was launched on March 2019 in Nairobi..

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Degrowth/post-growth critiques of the Green New Deal

From Jason Hickel via Bengi Akbulut via Facebook

If you are interested in degrowth/post-growth critiques of the Green New Deal, check out these essays:

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