• Pope Francis’s encyclical “on care for our common home” introduces two terms buried by modern economics: “need” and “greed”. These represent two opposing worldviews. One seeks to satisfy our wants or preferences, which are limitless, non-satiable, substitutable and amoral. The other prioritises meeting universal human needs, which are limited, sufficient, non-substitutable and with clear ethical grounding. By counterposing these and putting them centre-stage, he has clarified the egregious moral dilemma inherent in climate change in a way that can unite both religion and humanism.
The pope also takes issue with the arguments of green growth, which is the current dominant strategy to handle climate change. Yes, we must support the fastest possible decarbonisation of the global economy through eco-efficiency, as Nicholas Stern persuasively argues in his new book, but at some point, very soon, we will need to switch to post-growth strategies.
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