Economy

No sustainable future with old economic recipes

Because with these words yesterday Bart Van Craeynest, chief economist at Voka, yesterday trumpeted economic growth in this column. Although he is the author of Back to Facts, he forgot to mention that the current economic model, based on economic growth, is leading to climate warming and the collapse of biodiversity. In other words, this economy is undermining its own foundations.

And although, unlike in California or Australia, our country is not yet literally on fire, we clearly see what climate heating means. Exceptionally dry summers with extreme heat waves have quickly become the new normal. This means that the agro-business model on which West Flanders relies is now openly being questioned by its own developers.

The energy supply is also threatened because nuclear power plants such as Tihange’s need cooling water from the Maas to generate electricity. Too warm or too little water will force the plants to be shut down. And in Germany too, a low water level of the Rhine, like last spring, is a real threat. Because then all those containers, as well as ores and building materials from the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam will no longer reach large German production companies by water.

To put it more globally: since the Kyoto climate agreement in 1997 we have been trying to reconcile economic growth with climate policy. Meanwhile, the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has only continued to rise sharply. With the European Union, we did achieve our target of 20% less emissions in 2020 compared to 1990, but we are not at all on track to achieve the target of 40% reduction by 2030.

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