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‘Unbridled economic growth can destroy environment’

Unbridled economic growth in many leading economies will have disastrous economic and social consequences and lead to irreversible environmental destruction, a group of global experts warned on Wednesday.

As heads of state gather for the start of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, experts call on world leaders to put human wellbeing before unregulated economic ambition. They note that the relentless pursuit of economic growth was undermining not only the environment, but also the very prosperity and benefits it aimed to achieve in many countries, not the least in Pakistan.

The group stated that while rapid economic growth has generated unprecedented improvements in human welfare in recent decades, many policies that continued to maximise growth without enforcing environmental controls were now reaching a point of diminishing social returns. The group, convened by Oxford University’s Green Templeton College’s Emerging Markets Symposium (EMS), included former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, and many other leading economists, scientists, policy-makers, and entrepreneurs from around the globe.

The EMS report suggested creating a new global coalition of government, business, civil society and individuals to develop a strategic vision of a long-term equilibrium between economic activities and natural systems. Such a coalition should also lay the ground for binding global agreements to ensure better management of immediate environmental threats to people’s health and well-being.

Furthermore, it suggested developing new sources of financing, including ‘climate finance’ from high-income countries to help emerging markets and others adapt to climate change, and support the upfront investments needed to switch to renewable energy.

The EMS report recommended national government for redressing current inadequate tax and subsidy systems that worked against environmental and health improvements. The experts asked the civil society for exploring new forms of collaboration between international non-governmental organisations and national organisations in emerging markets to strengthen the case for change locally. The EMS report urged the mainstream and social media companies to take on more pro-active roles as gatekeepers in the face of campaigns led by particular vested interests that aim to undermine facts or disseminate ‘alternative facts’ (fake news).

Reporter. ‘Unbridled economic growth can destroy environment’. The News, July 6, 2017.

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