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Conversations with scientists exploring science-based ways to protect the future of our planet, our children, and other creatures that share our World. We live on a planet in crisis. Scientists have warned us about the rapidly increasing dangers of climate change and destruction of the biosphere - specifically in the 1992, 2017 and 2019 World Scientists’ Warnings which were signed by 1,700; 15,000 and 11,000 scientists respectively when issued.

Oct 17, 2021

One of the biggest messages scientists should warn policymakers with is that “GDP growth is just the wrong goal for the 21st century.” That’s the conclusion reached by Brian Czech, Executive Director of the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy. In this presentation, Czech quickly hones in on two of the most controversial topics in ecological economics today: the sustainability of GDP growth and the prospects for avoiding limits to growth with technological progress.

Applying principles of ecology and national income accounting, Czech argues that GDP has become an outstanding indicator of one thing above all others: namely, environmental destruction. Next, reflecting a deep dive into the origins of technological progress, Czech defuses the notion that technological progress can reconcile the conflict between economic growth and environmental protection. He concludes with policy proposals for a steady state economy and “steady statesmanship” in international diplomacy.

Brian Czech suggests the “biggest question for democracy in the 21st century” will be how to get to an optimal level of GDP, considering the variety of preferences and opinions about what that optimal level may be. Czech served in the headquarters of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1999-2017 and as a visiting professor in Virginia Tech’s National Capitol Region during most of that period. He is the author of three books, most recently Supply Shock: Economic Growth at the Crossroads and the Steady State Solution. Czech’s primary areas of expertise include ecology, economics, and ecological macroeconomics.

This is the audio from a session held as part of the Planet in Crisis – Creating Action for COP26 global online summit. In November 2020, exactly one year before the official COP26 climate conference, Scientists Warning Europe organised this series of online Pre-COP events to raise awareness, push the conversation, show demand, and drive real action. Over 25 events were attended by more than 2,000 people from across the globe.

Scientists Warning Europe presents and promotes science endorsed solutions which will lead to a just transition for our World to a sustainable and equitable future. Learn more, sign up for updates, and support our work at

This podcast series is made possible through the generous help of the GrowthBusters podcast about limits to growth.


Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy

Publications of the Steady State Press

Scientists Warning Europe

All Three World Scientists’ Warnings

Planet in Crisis Pre-COP Video Series

GrowthBusters podcast

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