The Net-Zero Review (UK)

Barbara Williams
4 min readOct 11, 2022

This response has been submitted to the consultation undertaken by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). It was submitted on 12/10/2022 in the name of the ‘anti-growth alliance’. The BEIS consultation is calling for evidence with regards to the net-zero review. In the first paragraph that defines the scope of the consultation, we see how our modern mindset prevents any genuine progress towards net-zero; see below:

‘The BEIS Secretary of State has commissioned an independent review of the government’s approach to delivering its net zero target, to ensure we are delivering net zero in a way that is pro-business and pro-growth.’

The anti-growth alliance has prepared a legal case against GDP growth economics; the model violates our Human Right to a healthy environment.

The use of the qualifier ‘pro-growth’ reflects the in-the-box thinking which is taught throughout our education system. This mindset precludes any economic model other than one grounded on GDP growth economics. Growth economics relies on healthy ecosystems in order to extract a profit. We are currently in the free-fall of the Sixth Mass Extinction with no end in sight. This is not a healthy environment in which growth economics can flourish; this is why we are seeing inflation, stagflation and general jitters in all the global financial markets.

The majority of our government and public are not familiar with the insights from the I=PAT equation, the Jevons paradox, and the data about global ecological overshoot. Therefore, they do not understand that GDP growth is driving both the ecological collapse and the financial instabilities. Our predicament is fully elaborated in the preface to the ‘Unity in Diversity’ paper, which was published by the UN Commons Cluster for the High-Level Political Forum in July 2022. The preface in that paper also justifies the need for equitable IPAT Degrowth. Depending how rapidly and widely we can achieve equitable IPAT Degrowth, we could eventually eliminate our chronic overshoot and successfully stabilise our ecosystems.

As shown in the graph above, at this point in time, 2022, the Natural world has been in chronic ecological overshoot for over 50 years. We are now in an advanced state of ecosystem collapse which is being aggravated by climate breakdown. The only peaceful way to soften this collapse is equitable IPAT Degrowth, however we must recognise that there is still the possibility of an uninhabitable Earth. We are well passed tipping points, so climate modelling becomes very unreliable at this stage.

The anti-growth coalition would like to see a global aspiration to eliminate the chronic global ecological overshoot which has been caused by decades of ecocidal GDP growth economics. To achieve this urgent objective, we recommend that the UK government show global leadership by running an awareness campaign to share the insights of the I=PAT equation and the Jevons paradox with the British public. This campaign will also need to share the fact that the UK is currently operating at about three times the biocapacity within its borders and the urgent need to change this problematic behaviour. If done well, we anticipate that this awareness campaign will quickly justify, in the eyes of the public, the creation of a cross-party emergency government who can then set equitable IPAT Degrowth objectives, in order to enable the UK to shrink back within the biocapacity within our borders.

In order to make this aspiration global we recommend that the UK request that United Nations General Assembly consider ratifying the ‘UN Charter for Ecological Justice’. This concept is fully defined on page two of the ‘Framework for Maximum Mitigation’ which was recently submitted to the High-Level Advisory Board for Effective Multilateralism to the UN. We also recognise the need to profoundly overhaul the priorities of our education system, which is currently designed to perpetuate the GDP growth model. We are suggesting a new 3Rs: Realisation, Remorse and Reparation. To this end there is a helpful roadmap for the ‘Ego to Eco Journey in Leadership and Governance’.

We very much hope that the BEIS and the government will find this critique helpful, and that we shall soon see the suggestions that have been made being implemented.

The author of this submission has written a book envisioning some ideas which might help us to fully embrace the spirit of equitable IPAT Degrowth. It is free to download from this link -‘Saving Us From Ourselves’.

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Barbara Williams

I specialise in lobbying the UK government to consider a paradigm shift to show humility and embrace Degrowth objectives. Website https://PoemsForParliament.uk