Climate change, economy and inequality

Climate change, economy and inequality

New book by Horacio Fazio, CLIMATE CHANGE, ECONOMY AND INEQUALITY (the limits of growth in the 21st century), Buenos Aires, Editorial Universitaria de Buenos Aires (EUDEBA), 2018.

Climate Change or Social Change?

Climate Change is today the main problem of humanity. The world economic system - globalized capitalism - has no effective response to global warming caused mainly by the intensive use of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) that cause greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide being its main component.

The current state of climate science establishes the risk and uncertainty that lie ahead at the end of the 21st century if the planetary average temperature exceeds 2 degrees Celsius compared to that in the pre-industrial era, 200 years ago. As of today we have already increased just over 1 °. These seemingly inconsequential temperature changes, directly associated with the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, are unprecedented on a historical scale measured in hundreds of thousands of years.

On the other hand, world economic growth between and within countries translates into a growing increase in inequality, that is, in unequal consumption. Precisely, 80% of Climate Change as a result of the increase in greenhouse gas emissions is the product of the excessive consumption of a minority of the world population that does not exceed 30%.

Climate Change is explained by the consumption patterns of a minority world consumer class residing in all countries but with a higher prevalence in high-income countries. The scope of Climate Change and its effects on the contemporary economy and society will be based, as well as the inevitable limits to economic growth in the remainder of the century, describing possible future alternative scenarios.

Beyond discouraging the use of fossil fuels and the promotion of alternative energies, it is necessary to deepen the study of the social conditions that make excessive greenhouse gas emissions possible and that warm the planet. And here, world social inequality as unequal consumption appears correlated with CC. There is not a problem of global overpopulation but of inequitable overconsumption.

The consumption of goods and services provided by a production process based on fossil fuels for 200 years has meant enormous social and material progress - albeit unequal - for humanity. CC is its main environmental cost. Economic growth has limits on a limited planet, despite siren calls from across the ideological spectrum who rely on indefinite material progress thanks to the fact that there would be no limits to scientific knowledge and technological advances.

We will argue in favor of the fact that as a society, faced with the conditioning of the CC, we will have to differentiate between quantitative and qualitative growth, both in its scope and in its distributional aspects. This is not a discussion that we can choose to face or not. Yes, delay it. But it will be inevitable to do so at some point and we will give the reasons throughout the book.

Finally, valuable reference information is attached, such as the current Paris Agreement (a commitment signed by around 200 countries and from which the United States withdrew at the beginning of the Trump Administration) and the environmental encyclical of Pope Francis Laudato si '.

Link to purchase the book

From the author

Horacio Fazio has a degree in Economics and a doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Buenos Aires, where as a postgraduate professor he dictated Ethics and Economics in the Master in Applied Ethics and in the Doctorate in Philosophy and Climate Change and Economics in the Doctorate in Economics ( 2004-14). At FLACSO Argentina he created and directed the Environment and Society Project (1998-2004). Author of, among others, Environment, Economy and Society [comp.] (FLACSO, 2001), Politics in discussion [comp.] (Manantial, 2002), Ethics and economics in Adam Smith (National Academy of Moral and Political Sciences, 2005) and Economics, ethics and environment [in a finite world] (EUDEBA, 2012-3). He was Undersecretary of Administrative Coordination and University Policies (2005-7) and Director of the Argentine Residence Hall attached to the Complutense University of Madrid (2008-10). Since 2011, he has presided over the Foundation for Advanced Studies of Buenos Aires (FUNDABAIRES). He has been a member of the Honorary External Advisory Council on Climate Change of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires for several years.

Video: Study: As Climate Crisis Has Worsened, So Has Global Economic Inequality (March 2021).