The Collapse of the Global Consumption Model: in Search of Sustainability

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-11-92-100
Lomonosov Moscow State University, 1, build. 46, Leninskie Gory, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation.
S. Solovyeva,
Lomonosov Moscow State University, 1, build. 46, Leninskie Gory, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation.
P. Kiryushin,
Lomonosov Moscow State University, 1, build. 46, Leninskie Gory, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation.

Received 10.07.2022. Revised 25.07.2022. Accepted 22.08.2022.

Acknowledgements. The article has been supported by a grant of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR). Project No. 20-010-00981.

Abstract. New “climate change reality” is transforming the goals that were the most important two or three years ago. During the last few years, the EU, U.S., China, Japan and many other countries established new plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050–2060s. These new goals and plans towards achieving carbon neutrality and greening national economies require a fundamental change in consumption patterns. The growth in demand leads to an increase in consumption, which, in turn, stimulates an increase in production and the volume of resources involved (energy, minerals, land, water, etc.). One of the most important indicators of the global consumption model is decoupling, which means the growth of the economy without corresponding rise of environmental pressure and resource consumption. Although there were some signs of the decoupling effect in the developed countries during the previous two decades, it was not achieved on the global scale during that period. Moreover, by 2060s, the resource consumption of the world economy may escalate significantly. At the global level, the growth of consumption in developed countries can lead to an overall increase in the impact on the planet’s biosphere. This impact relates to the “export” of environmental costs from developed countries to developing ones, which can be clearly observed on the example of the greenhouse gas emissions indicator. The same pattern manifests itself as an increase in the UN Planetary pressures–adjusted Human Development Index. The general trend is: the higher the level of human development – the greater the index of the planetary pressure. Finally, the transition of mankind to sustainable development requires a profound transformation of consumption patterns due to the impossibility to maintain high environmentally intensive consumption standards for the next generations, based on the accomplished technological level, traditional economic model and established institutions.

Keywords: sustainable development, consumption patterns, Sustainable Development Goals, carbon footprint, global environmental impact


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For citation:
Bobylev S., Solovyeva S., Kiryushin P. The Collapse of the Global Consumption Model: in Search of Sustainability. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2022, vol. 66, no. 11, pp. 92-100.

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