Economic growth is measured as an increase in the output or real GDP (Gross Domestic Product). It is not possible to calculate the monetary value of other measures of well-being such as health, equity, and happiness. The concept of well-being cannot be measured, if a country has a higher GDP, its people can still be unhappy, there can be incoming equality and it doesn’t tell much about the environment. The industrial revolution which came as a wave of change and prosperity for the economy was a curse for the environment as it led to resource depletion, high levels of air and water pollution, and destruction of flora and fauna.
The exploitation of resources and the high quantity of waste released by industries have caused great damage to the environment.
Economic growth and greenhouse gas emission
Extensive use of fossil-fuel-based energy sources such as coal increases greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Coal was used as the main energy source during the Industrial Revolution. However, in recent times, people are becoming aware of the harm caused by these high carbon energy sources and they are replacing them with low carbon energy sources. This transition can help to maintain sustainable growth but overexploitation can still be harmful. On one hand, economic growth and production have raised environmental concerns. But on the other, technological advancement has made it easier to tackle many environmental issues. If a sustainable approach is used, the damage can be lessened by degrees.
In India, industries or the manufacturing sector are responsible for more than 50% of air pollution. The toxic gases that are released in the manufacturing process are an eminent cause of global warming, which can lead to rising sea levels, an increase in the temperature, extinction of species, melting of ice caps, etc. Climate change is a global problem as the atmosphere is not separated by the physical boundaries of the nations. So even if one country causes the most greenhouse gas emission, everyone will have to bear the loss.
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To tackle the problem, the sustainable model of economic growth has to be used. Replacing high-carbon energy fuels with low-carbon energy fuels will help to fight climate change.
It is important to control climate change as it not only leads to hazardous health problems but it also increases disparities between advantaged and disadvantaged communities. People who don’t have proper houses and healthcare and are living in the proximity of sources of pollution are most exposed to these negative externalities. The harm that is caused by the well-off community has to be borne by people who have little to no contribution to these activities.
Sustainable economic growth
Ineffective public policies are the main cause of climate change caused by economic growth. Pollution control rules and regulation and their effective implementation can cut the damage to a great extent. Economic growth and environmental protection can go hand in hand if the right model of economic growth is followed. Industries have to be made accountable for the damage caused by them and should have to make up for it by investing in technology and treatment facilities for regulating water and air pollution caused.
GDP takes account of not only production activities but also consumer behavior. Consumers are as much responsible for Climate Change as producers because if consumers refuse to consume goods and services that lead to environmental damage, the producers will stop producing them. For example, if consumers choose to cycle to their workplaces, grocery stores, universities, etc, instead of taking a bus, the use of fuel will automatically go down.
Consumption behavior is a personal choice. Public policies cannot be as effective as they can be in the case of producers.
Economic growth is very important for better living standards, overall growth and well-being of citizens, and, for the proper functioning of an economy. A country without economic growth is even worse off as it wouldn’t be able to afford the technology to protect the environment or provide healthcare to its citizens.
The Environment doesn’t have to be destroyed for economic growth, it’s just a matter of mindset, effective public policies, and sustainable models of economic growth to establish a balance.
Climate change is a great cause of worry among scientists and environmentalists today, as it can put all humankind and animal life in danger. It can give rise to various diseases and environmental tragedies, climate change can even affect economic development and make survival harder. Humans are so engrossed in raising their living standards, earning a higher income, and making bigger profits that they have almost become blind to the damage they are causing to the environment, and as a result, to everyone, for their benefit. Economic growth and environmental protection can happen at the same time if everyone takes steps in the direction of sustainable growth. Rules and regulations are to be made and implemented effectively to keep a check on Resource management and other factors. Firms can use labor-intensive techniques. All these measures can ensure economic growth as well as control climate change.