From ISE Associate Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero:
In the last few weeks a public debate has flared up between Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman and environmentalist Richard Heinberg, senior fellow at the Post Carbon Institute. Heinberg insists that reverting global warming and overall environmental degradation is impossible without stopping economic growth. Krugman dismissed his arguments in a September 18 op-ed (1). Heinberg responded with an article titled “Paul Krugman and the limits of hubris” (2).
The debate over ecology vs. economic growth is not new. In 1972 a team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists led by Dennis and Donella Meadows published the most widely read and discussed environmental report of all time: The Limits to Growth, also known as the Club of Rome Report (3). Using the most advanced data processing technologies of the time, the report concluded that if current trends in industrial growth and consumption of raw materials did not change, humankind would suffer a catastrophic global economic and ecological collapse sometime in the 21st century.