We need to be headed for a better future. As we endeavour to do so we need to make the best choices we can. Simple principles can guide us. It is for that reason we have to say “maximize life” for example. It can’t hurt, if you are planting you are helping.
The nature of non-fossil industry driven politics is that its diverse. That’s because there’s many solutions to meet the needs of mankind once you stop focussing on just one : fossil fuels. In order to not be in each others way we thus need to adopt a more simple minded attitude and allow details to be figured out when we get to them. In this light I want to decode the “Green Growth” criticism of Monbiot
Green growth is to mean growing the economy while not emitting any more CO2 or destroying the ecosystem. This is already a loaded meaning, because it contains the word “the economy” which is a concept that we only know from its fossil based variant. We never had a non fossil fuel zero CO2 world economy. The rural economy of 1900 bears no resemblance to our current high octane one, one with limitless fuel credit (coughing up $3.4 Trillion is no problem, or so Biden thinks).
A green economy is thus a mixed concept. If it means an economy fully powered by renewables then of course it can work and it won’t damage the ecosystem because the pressure to get stuff from anywhere and consume it which is largely caused by banks seeking cashflow will be absent. This economy I branded the Roboeconomy.
If you mean the current economy trying to green itself by introducing hydrogen as a LNG derviative, with the same banks creating an energy market that destroys the value of renewables because it pretends that battery storage doesn’t exist then obvious its a non-starter. You can’t burn fossil fuel to reduce the CO2 concentration or lower emissions.
The concept of growth has the same two options. Growth based on renewables is green, growth based on fossil fuels is never green. Of course the concept of growth was invented in the fossil based economy to make us believe something good happened. In fact it did, more people where born, living well fed happy lives as more fossil fuels powered more internal combustion engines and power plants allowing more factories to produce more products and wealth. At the cost of our atmosphere and the ecosystem. The marker has been global cashflow, which is what the global economy tries to maximize.
Renewable based growth is resource growth, not cashflow growth. It means solar panels are used to make more solar panels, more wind turbines are build by using the energy of previously build wind turbines. More trees are planed by people living off planted trees. Add to this the use of robots and AI and this can be a real boom. The potential is 2500 times the current global economy, which is extremely inefficient and wastefull.
So I would not agree with Monbiots statement without the qualifications above. Its a confusing and discouraging. Because growth and increase in wealth will be the norm as we add more and more renewable energy sources, even als we have to deal with the calamities and possibly fatal consequences of chasing fossil economic growth..