Spencer Bokat-Lindell | Do We Need to Shrink the Economy to Stop Climate Change? – The New York Times

Mr. Bokat-Lindell is a staff editor.

This article is part of the Debatable newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“If there is a dominant paradigm for how politicians and economists today think about solving climate change, it is called green growth. According to green growth orthodoxy — whose adherents populate European governments, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Developmentthe World Bank and the White House — the global economy can both continue growing and defuse the threat of a warming planet through rapid, market-led environmental action and technological innovation.

But in recent years, a rival paradigm has been gaining ground: degrowth. In the view of degrowthers, humanity simply does not have the capacity to phase out fossil fuels and meet the ever-growing demand of rich economies. At this late hour, consumption itself has to be curtailed.

Degrowth is still a relatively marginal tendency in climate politics, but it’s been attracting converts. In 2019, more than 11,000 scientists signed an open letter calling for a “shift from G.D.P. growth” toward “sustaining ecosystems and improving human well-being.” And in May, a paper published in the journal Nature argued that degrowth “should be as widely and thoroughly considered and debated as are comparably risky technology-driven pathways.” “

As Heat Pumps Go Mainstream, a Big Question: Can They Handle Real Cold? – The New York Times

“Over the past decade, heat pumps have been steadily making their way into more American homes. There was a major milestone last year when they surpassed gas furnaces in annual sales by a wide margin.

But the blistering cold weather descending on the Midwest this week has many homeowners wondering: Do heat pumps still work in freezing temperatures?

Experts and electrification advocates say that they do — and that even in cold weather, they can still be more efficient, and better for the climate, than furnaces and boilers that run on fossil fuels.

An electric heat pump is an all-in-one heating and cooling unit, essentially an air-conditioner that runs in two directions. In the summer, it functions like a traditional A.C. unit, pumping heat out of the home and pulling cooler air back in. In the winter, it draws heat into the home. That might seem surprising, but it’s true. Even when it’s bitterly cold outside, there is still heat available. As it gets colder, heat pumps have to work harder, using more energy, to extract that heat.”

David Lindsay Jr.
NYT Comment:

I love my 8 ductless split heat pumps by LG. I have a 450 sq ft house in Connecticut, and these splits completely heat and cool the house all year round. We also have a heat pump hot water heater, an electric car, and hybrid prius prime that has a 25 mile electric battery, that covers most of my local driving. All of this is powered by 54 solar panels on the east, west and south roofs, so we don’t have to worry about buying dirty energy which is a plus. I am pleased to report, that after three solar installations, the home is now a private power generation station with an annual output capacity of 14.83 kW. Yes, we still have our gas furnace as a backup, and we run it monthly to make sure it is working, but we haven’t actually needed it since the third group of solar panels were installed. When the temperature approached zero, the splits worked fine. We made one mistake with the installation of the the two condensers which we put on the outside wall of the family room, on brackets, attached to the house. We have dance band and singing parties and rehearsals in the family room, which are hampered by the loud low rumblings of the condensers against the wall. I should have spent a little more, to have these two condensers mounted on cement footings on the ground a few feet from the house, to maintain the sanctity or functionality of our music making room.

David is a dance caller and musician, song leader and folk singer, who blogs about the enviroment at InconvenientNews.net.

Herman Daly: This Pioneering Economist Says Our Obsession With Growth Must End – The New York Times

“Growth is the be-all and end-all of mainstream economic and political thinking. Without a continually rising G.D.P., we’re told, we risk social instability, declining standards of living and pretty much any hope of progress. But what about the counterintuitive possibility that our current pursuit of growth, rabid as it is and causing such great ecological harm, might be incurring more costs than gains? That possibility — that prioritizing growth is ultimately a losing game — is one that the lauded economist Herman Daly has been exploring for more than 50 years. In so doing, he has developed arguments in favor of a steady-state economy, one that forgoes the insatiable and environmentally destructive hunger for growth, recognizes the physical limitations of our planet and instead seeks a sustainable economic and ecological equilibrium. “Growth is an idol of our present system,” says Daly, emeritus professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, a former senior economist for the World Bank and, along with the likes of Greta Thunberg and Edward Snowden, a recipient of the prestigious Right Livelihood Award (often called the “alternative Nobel”). “Every politician is in favor of growth,” Daly, who is 84, continues, “and no one speaks against growth or in favor of steady state or leveling off. But I think it’s an elementary question to ask: Does growth ever become uneconomic?”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYTimes Comment:
Great interview of Herman Daly by David Marchese. I would like to nominate Herman Daly for the two Nobel prizes, the Nobel prize in economics, and the peace prize. When I attended the University of Washington Foster School of Business for an MBA in 1990, I was disturbed that all the economists I studied under assumed that growth was the only way to improve life on the planet. The world has to wake up, and admit that unrestricted population growth and consumerism and all the pollution created by these trends, is completely unsustainable for life as we have known it. We desperately need more ecological and steady-state economists. Which brings me back to my two Nobel prize nominations.
David blogs at InconvenientNews.net