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date: 28 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The idea that there might be “limits to growth” is a key and contested feature of environmental politics. This chapter outlines the limits to growth thesis, describes and assesses critical reactions to it, and comments upon its relevance today. It argues that, after an initial highpoint in the early 1970s, the thesis declined in importance during the 1980s and 1990s under criticism from “ecological modernizers” and from environmental justice advocates in the global South who saw it as way of diverting blame for ecological problems from the rich and powerful to the poor and dispossessed. “Peak oil” and climate change have, though, given renewed impetus to the idea, and this has given rise to new discourses and practices around “sustainable prosperity” and “degrowth.”

Keywords: limits to growth, ecological modernization, environmental justice, peak oil, climate change, sustainable prosperity, degrowth

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