How much more economic growth can the planet sustain?

By Mark Buchanan

29 Sep 2022 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

Economic growth has many benefits. There are also a number of costs, including pollution, biodiversity loss and global warming. This opinion piece weighs up the pros and cons.

For all we depend on economic growth, there's still a lot we don't understand about it. Spectacular growth has brought hugely positive impacts - longer and healthier lives, millions removed from poverty, myriad life-improving innovations. But these benefits have also come with immense costs, including vast pollution, land degradation, biodiversity loss and global warming.

Some environmental scientists argue that these environmental impacts mean economic growth is now actually destabilizing society. Economists tend to fire back that the only way to keep society stable is to keep economies growing.

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