There is no doubt that economic growth and carbon emissions are inextricably linked. For a society to grow, it needs a healthy economy and robustly growing economies need to emit less carbon into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, today's global problems are not making this particularly easy to accomplish. In fact, even developing countries are finding it increasingly difficult to create economic growth and carbon emissions while attempting to build economic wealth.
One reason for this is the reality of climate change. While many have touted the supposed “green” benefits of economic growth, it has often been accompanied by the specter of climate change. While it is undeniable that economic growth will lead to increased levels of carbon emissions, it is equally true that reducing carbon emissions can reduce economic growth. Put more simply, there is simply no way for the Earth's ecosystems to provide the food, energy, and other resources that will be able to support human life without creating carbon emissions. Thus, while economic growth and carbon emissions may be tied closely, it is certainly possible for the two to occur simultaneously.
Of course, the reality of climate change makes the issue of economic growth and carbon emissions even more complex. If the Earth's ecosystems are not able to sustain human life, it is likely that life itself will be unable to survive. This will result in either a rapid die-off of species, or the evolution of species that are less environmentally friendly. Regardless of how rapid or slow this involvement occurs, the outcome will spell disaster for the economy, the environment, and the world as a whole. The key to staving off these potentially devastating consequences is the timely adoption of widespread use of clean energy technologies such as solar power, which is virtually untraceable.
The idea behind “growth without carbon emissions” is much the same as the “green” movement's attempt to raise awareness among people about the damage that is being done to the planet. However, while green movements have helped to increase public awareness and appreciation for more eco-friendly products and services, the failure of industrialized nations to act quickly and sufficiently address their problem has made it clear that more drastic action is necessary. It is important to note that the failure of large-scale industrialization to address its emissions is the main reason that the Earth is facing so much environmental degradation. In addition, if the failure of the major industrial powers is allowed to continue unchecked, it is very likely that the process of climate change will progress at a much faster pace. It is only a matter of time before the Earth faces the kind of melt down that took place during the last Ice Age.
The time has come for people to seriously consider the need for more eco-friendly industrialization and a serious effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While governments and companies have been slow to adopt policies that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the tide is beginning to turn. For example, a recently adopted United Nations Environment Program report emphasizes the urgent need for industrial emissions to be reduced by up to 30 percent globally by the year 2021. The report calls on all industrialized nations to implement policies that would not only reduce but eliminate their use of fossil fuels such as coal, wood, and oil in their production and consumption of electricity and other sources that cause greenhouse gas buildup.
Global warming is one of the most serious problems that confront us today. The consequences of this buildup of gases in the atmosphere will steadily threaten the economic growth and stability . . . . . . of nations and could lead to political chaos in many parts of the world. It is essential that the developed world begin to implement policies that would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible. This would provide a greater opportunity to enjoy optimal economic growth and minimize the threats posed by climate change.