Purpose of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

Support the IEET




The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.



Search the IEET
Subscribe and Contribute to:


Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view




whats new at ieet

IEET Launching Annual Fundraiser

“I Don’t See Class”

A Fleet of Jets: A Critical Look at the Business of African Pentecostalism

Is the Ethiopian Village of Awra Amba Really a Utopia?

TranshumaNietzsche

Big-Bank Bad Guys Bully Democracy – And Blow It


ieet books

Anticipating Tomorrow’s Politics
Author
Ed. David Wood


comments

CygnusX1 on 'The Sofalarity is Near' (Apr 1, 2015)

Rick Searle on 'The Sofalarity is Near' (Apr 1, 2015)

CygnusX1 on 'The Sofalarity is Near' (Apr 1, 2015)

Peter Wicks on 'Armed with Cameras...' (Apr 1, 2015)

instamatic on 'Armed with Cameras...' (Mar 31, 2015)

Rick Searle on 'The Sofalarity is Near' (Mar 31, 2015)

CygnusX1 on 'The Sofalarity is Near' (Mar 31, 2015)







Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List



JET

Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Hottest Articles of the Last Month


IEET Launching Annual Fundraiser
Mar 18, 2015
(3881) Hits
(0) Comments

The nanobots are coming back
Mar 10, 2015
(7487) Hits
(0) Comments

The Sofalarity is Near
Mar 30, 2015
(6877) Hits
(7) Comments

Posthumanisms: A Carnapian Experiment
Mar 19, 2015
(5869) Hits
(4) Comments



IEET > Security > Biosecurity > Life > Health > Vision > Fellows > Ramez Naam

Print Email permalink (1) Comments (2566) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


Decoupling Growth From Energy and Carbon


Ramez Naam
By Ramez Naam
Ramez Naam

Posted: Nov 17, 2013

Is it possible to grow an economy without increasing pollution? Without increasing resource use? As I've posted, Americans already use less oil and less water than in previous decades.

Here's a more macro-scale view – US per-capita GDP over the last 40 years (up to 2010) in green, compared to US per capita CO2 emissions and US per capita energy use, in red.

Essentially, we've doubled the size of the US economy (per person) since 1970, while reducing per capita CO2 emissions and keeping energy use flat.  Even after adjusting for outsourced energy use (manufacturing in China, for example), these numbers stay essentially the same, with per-capita CO2 emissions never returning to their 1970 high.

What about on a global basis?  Here there is still an increase occuring in per-capita energy use and per-capita CO2 emissions.  But the increase in per-capita GDP is much larger.

Now, let me be clear here:  This decoupling is not sufficient.  To address climate change we need to see CO2 emissions drop quite substantially.

But bear in mind – this is what we've achieved with almost no cogent policy effort whatsoever.  With a focused effort on reducing CO2, there's every reason to believe that we would see carbon emissions drop as have lead emissions, mercury emissions, sulfur dioxide emissions, CFC emissions, and those of a host of other pollutants.

Carbon will be the biggest pollutant challenge we've ever faced.  At the same time, the indicators are that it's possible to grow an economy without using more of a resource or emitting more of a pollutant, and, when conscious effort is applied, that it's possible to grow an economy while reducing emissions of a pollutant dramatically.

You can read more along these lines in my book on innovating to overcome climate, energy, food, water, and other environmental and natural resource challenges looming ahead of us, The Infinite Resouce: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet 

Ramez Naam, a Fellow of the IEET, is a computer scientist and the author of four books, including the sci-fi thriller Nexus and the nonfiction More than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement and The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet.  He writes at rameznaam.com.


Print Email permalink (1) Comments (2567) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


COMMENTS


This is a fascinating article, Mr. Naam. I was aware that economic growth had become somewhat uncoupled from energy use, but had no idea that the decoupling was so pronounced.

These figures show that an abundant future for humans all over the earth is possible. My only concern would be whether an excessive amount of GDP growth in advanced capitalist economies is taking place in the financial sector, where it tends disproportionally to benefit the few.





YOUR COMMENT (IEET's comment policy)

Login or Register to post a comment.

Next entry: Thinking Ahead about Nanotechnology

Previous entry: Inception: Lucid Dreaming as Radical Life Extension

HOME | ABOUT | FELLOWS | STAFF | EVENTS | SUPPORT  | CONTACT US
SECURING THE FUTURE | LONGER HEALTHIER LIFE | RIGHTS OF THE PERSON | ENVISIONING THE FUTURE
CYBORG BUDDHA PROJECT | AFRICAN FUTURES PROJECT | JOURNAL OF EVOLUTION AND TECHNOLOGY

RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @ ieet.org     phone: 860-297-2376